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back to article Finnish regulator calls for iPhone refunds

Finnish iPhone users unhappy at the inability of the handset to operate below zero are entitled to their money back, even if the limitation appears in the small print. The clarification comes from the Finland's Consumer Agency, as reported by Finnish news agency YLE.fi, in response to numerous questions from concerned Finns who …

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Coat

Not freezing in California

But well above 35 degrees in summer, no?

Is there ANY country you can use an iPhone all year without voiding the warranty?

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The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

I must admit I was wondering this when I was on holday last year and had read the "technical specs" for my new iPhone 4. I thought either "someone hasn't thought this through" or "nice getout for calims of defective hardware"

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FAIL

Is there ANY country you can use an iPhone all year? Yes, there are ...

Anywhere around the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. You'll have to keep an eye on the humidity restrictions, though.

They also work year around in Gibraltar, Jersey, Isles of Scilly, Cambodia, Laos, VietNam, HongKong, Lebanon and few other places.

California actually does freeze - the spring melt of all the mountain snow is where the water fr the south comes from. Funny how the Japanese haven't complained about this - they did manage to get new batteries out of Jobs.

I guess the specs were written for Cupertino - or 'Snow Birds' who follow the sun in their retirement.

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Happy

@Syren Baran: Textual analysis is clearly needed here.

When Mr Jobs used the description "magical" he was in fact talking about the warranty not the products.

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Linux

But shirely

up in the San Berdino mountains around, for example, Lake Arrowhead and (not that one) Twin Peaks it gets right cold in winter. I know, I've been there many a time.

Not all of California is a dust bowl desert, you know.

(Pengiun because of the topic)

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How about Norway, Sweden, Russia, Alaska and northen Canada? How about other phones?

Let's not forget that Finland's outside temperatures are well bellow the -10 deg Celsius you encounter i/t UK, Scotland or similar parts of Europe during winter.

I do wonder why nobody from Alaska has complained nor Finland's neighbors Sweden and Russia (or ppl from Norway for that matter). I do suspect that weather conditions are slightly different (even during winter) in the south of Finland and the north next to the north-pole.

Anyway, are there any Alaska residents or ppl up north of Canada who can enlighten us?

Who do other cellphones fare during winter-conditions?

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Oh come on

Is the Reg taking some news tips from Engadget. Nice to get a bit of conspiracy in there but there is quite a big difference between -10 and -25 or lower, which isn't uncommon in Finland. Even in the south.

I've had my iPhone screen stop responding whilst here. I don't think it's really a refund worthy fault (I might think different if I was in Northern Finland) but the judgement is more reflective of Finland's generally socially orientated government and regulations than some silly protectionist policies (which wouldn't work anyway, everyone here seems to be buying HTC's or iPhones)

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Re: Oh come on

I take it you were there on vacation? You might see this different when you live there and rely on your cellphone for day-to-day communications.

If iPhones aren't indeed suitable for polar conditions then indeed Apple must warn potential (polar) customers (which it apparantly does albeit in small print). I think its obvious that consumer products being sold there would be tested for such harsh local weather-conditions. And if not valid then the product should be banned or modified to withstand those local weather-conditions (albeit at higher consumerprices). I believe Volvo's sold in Sweden ARE different from the ones sold in Belgium or France. They have surplus issolation.

However it is suspicious that finnish regulator comes with this after 2 generations of iPhones have been sold (3G and 3GS). So either the 3G(s) models withstand those harsh conditions or there is another motivation behind this.

The truth is out there :-)

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Stop

the problem is the T&C's not the phone

the wording of the terms and conditions essentially means that apple don't have to honour the warranty on any iPhone sold in Finland, or dozens of other countries....

...they just need to change the terms and then they're all fine.

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not really

If finland has an equivalent of "sale of goods act" then this supercedes the small print on such matters.

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Stop

not really

that's not really true. it means that the item is unfit. and you are entitled to a refund. it doesn't force apple to honour the warranty.

additionally. a point that everyone seems to have missed is that the warranty claim would be against apple. the refund is against the retailer.

what this ruling does is move the responsibility on to the carriers. their right of redress against apple will depend on their contracts.

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Happy

Which is why I said in my previous posting that Mr Jobs is quite right......

.........Apple's warranty is "magical" - now you see it, now you don't.

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Maybe the Finns have a different idea of 'reasonable'

It's not exactly a secret that ALL electronic devices malfunction outside of a fairly limited range of operating conditions. I'm not sure just how reasonable it is to expect an iPhone to behave differently to any other device with respect to temperature. Having said that, it is a mobile 'phone (duh!) and a user might therefore 'reasonably' expect to use it outdoors, while indoor electronic kit would never be expected to suffer the same conditions. Presumably the same ruling would affect all other mobile 'phones, too. Perhaps Nokias are made of hardier stuff.....

No, I don't own an i-Anything, don't plan to do so and am not a fan of Apple in any way.

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Happy

suoıʇɐʇɔǝdxǝ ǝןqɐuosɐǝɹ

"I'm not sure just how reasonable it is to expect an iPhone to behave differently..."

If I go to a shop down the street and buy a mobile phone, then I expect that phone to work when I walk out of that shop. Also in the outdoors. If the phone can't handle that, then I expect the shop to not offer that phone in the first place.

If I were mail-ordering something, that'd be a different story.

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Re: suoıʇɐʇɔǝdxǝ ǝןqɐuosɐǝɹ

I usually expect to have to charge up the phone, put in my exchange server settings and wait about 10 minutes or so for it to sync before I can use it, but other than that, I agree with you.

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Happy

In general I agree but it would be nice if a certain fruit company......

.....made it clear in rather larger type that these restrictions exist. Then we who live in the upper half of the northern hemisphere would not bother to buy the iPhone. That of course is why a certain greengrocer does not exactly go out of its way to alert the aforementioned geographically challenged customers to this problem.

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Happy

Minä puhun suomen kieltä vähän

so perhaps you could translate your title for the benefit of others here.

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Cold?

"around -10°C without complaint. "

Bah, that's warm... In Helsinki the temperature has so far in this year been -18 C at the lowest at my thermometer. Temperatures below -25 C are not unknown in January and February - and Helsinki is at the south end of the country. The record cold in Finland was -51.5 C measured in 1999, in Pokka, Lapland.

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Read your own reports!

It might be 'not at all' in your own experience but earlier this month you reported on this case http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/01/11/frozen_iphone/ where Apple refused to repair an iPhone on the grounds that damage had been caused by use in too cold an environment (Norway).

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^^^^ THIS

Just calling it a hunch, but I'd bet if Apple hadn't been refusing warranty repairs none of this would be a problem. That action pretty much made the case that they are selling a device unfit for purpose.

i.e. "[here's your phone, thanks for shopping with Apple... oh and please read the fine print where you really shouldn't use your phone outside in this country because if anything happens to it we'll tell you to uck foff if you want us to fix it]"

One way to read this, IMO at least, very well could be that this is their way of forcing Apple to honor its warranty regardless of the fine print.

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Jobs Horns

Re: Read your own reports!

I agree with that. I have newer had any problems with Nokia, Ericsson or Siemens phones in Finland, although I have occasionally left them in the car over night at low temperatures, say -20 C and so.

So I think the point here is that the phone should not be damaged in the cold and they should work in the cold too, which is a different thing as you take your warm phone out of your pocket and use it in the cold.

So if Apple starts to referee to the climate each time there is a problem with a IPhone in Finland

then I do see a reason why people should get their money back.

I do not think this will happen as I cannot see how Apple would have been able to produce a phone in such a different way, anyway .

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Gates Horns

Re: my previous post

Of course, if the connection between components is so tight that they will snap in the cold, then

Apple users have a serious problem, but I doubt the Chinese would have made such a mistake.

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FAIL

Add me to the list

Another non-iPhone Finland resident here. Yep, I've seen temperatures of anything up to -35'C in my time here, and between -10 and -20'C is normal (at the moment it's -2 but has hit -18'C just a couple of night ago, and I'm in the very south. My Nokia N70 has worked in these temperatures for about five years now with nary a problem, except once in about -25'C where response became sluggish due to the coldness of the silicon. No failures though. It's not that I think Nokia phones are particularly tough, just that the iPhone seems to be particularly weak in comparison. But hey, it was designed for pretentious artsy types who hang around all day in offices and "studios" and coffee shops, so what's the problem?

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WTF?

N73 also works in the cold

It never occurred to me that a mobile phone sold in a cold country wouldn't work there, in 25 years of living in Norway I've never heard of a mobile that failed to work because of the cold. My N73 works fine here in Norway (it was -14C this morning). If it doesn't work outside at -25C what's the point in owning it in Scandinavia?

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Enig kompis (I agree mate)

If the iPhone does not cope with Scandinavian conditions Apple should stop selling here or accept that they are going to get more returns if they _do_ market here.

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The get-out that bites back.

"Get-Out" clause's posted on most equipment have always pissed me off so its nice to see one bite the owner in the ass! If I suddenly wake up naked, freezing and lost clutching my phone I really expect to be able to find out where I am and make a call! Its the least my phone could do for me.

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Happy

Wahey!

Wake up cold and naked, clutching your phone? Sounds like a typical Friday night in my local area!

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Re: Wahey

This is especially problematic since he would at least need one sock to put over the iPhone to have proper reception anyway >:->

Glad that -10° C is lowest it can get here. Which means I can keep my underwe... euh... socks on.

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iPhone usage in the cold

If it's -25 outside, I'm assuming people aren't going to be hanging around playing Angry Birds on their iPhones (particularly as you can't use one with gloves on), so it seems reasonable to assume that answering or making calls is what you might be doing.

Surely Apple can point to the supplied in the box wired handsfree headset and suggest you can still use your phone, leaving it in your nice warm pocket?

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Anonymous Coward

Gloves...

Actually, I saw gloves at the store for women last week that claim that they WILL work with iPhones!

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There's an app for that

Not really, but you can do this yourself with some conducting thread and a pair of gloves

I first found this on Wu-How, a great program that doesn't get enough credit

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3ldXcYupGw

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Linux

What else would you do when you're waiting for the bus?

nuff said.

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Re: iPhone usage in the cold

Yeah, but the story from Norway is that it was that cold OUTSIDE, so therefore the warrantee is void. I would think that the phone was with the owner, and that the owner wasn't at -18°C because if she was, she wouldn't have complaned (she'd be frozen!), but Apple said that because the temperature OUTSIDE was -18°C, no dice.

I'm with the other comentard; when companies plaster their T&Cs with get-outs, it's nice when they bite back :)

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First in Norway

I first heard about this maybe a couple of weeks ago when people in Norway were having problems about iPhones in cold weather, and Apple was trying to slither away from having to deal with the issue. So I wouldn't say it's about Nokia.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: First in Norway

Indeed. Expect some regulatory action in Norway if it turns out that people can't do reasonable things like make or receive phone calls outside under normal conditions: the regulatory authorities there don't have a problem sticking it to companies like Apple and Nokia (cluebolt to article author) if it looks like they're selling stuff that shoves a bunch of unreasonable caveats on consumers.

The "ooh, it's Finland, so Nokia must be responsible" commentary is simply juvenile given that Nokia doesn't run Norway (and eventually any other country that has the balls to pick this up), even if one could argue that Finnish politicians might pander to that company, and is akin to saying "How dare those dirty foreigners tell us what is not shiny and/or what is cold?!"

-10C in Scotland for a few days? Thermometer showed -15C? Big deal: you can measure weeks and months with such temperatures the Nordic region, and that includes actual cities, not some village in the Highlands. Thus the Finns might easily have a point.

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Coat

Noone else? Ok then *sigh*

"even if the limitation appears in the small print"

I guess that would be the finnish line for the iPhone.

Oh, come on, someone had to do that one!

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Not sure about the ability to make calls...

The iPhone camera works at -20. Took mine night skiing and had no problems holding it as I came down the slopes.

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UK and EU legislators, please copy

Hiding negative statements in the small print is, almost by definition, a form of intentional deception.

Companies should be required either to word their big print such that there isn't a requirement to use small print.

To take an example, Dishonest Dora says "Sandwiches £1 off" and then hides in the small print "offer not available Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Weekends, before 3pm or after 4pm".

Honest Horace has exactly the same offer, but says "Sandwiches £1 off 3-4pm Wednesdays" all in the same size, typeface and colour. And doesn't need any small print, because he didn't start by deliberately trying to imply something substantially bigger than what he was actually offering.

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Coat

Mysoginist!

Hey, don't shove, I was leaving anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

Power to the corporates

Sod the user,

power to the corporates.

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Happy

Hmmm....

Billy Goats Gruff woke you early today?

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Anonymous Coward

So naturally Nokia phones are Finnish tough, yes?

From Nokia N8 user manual:

Always keep the battery between 15°C and 25°C (59°F and 77°F). Extreme temperatures reduce the capacity and lifetime of the battery. A device with a hot or cold battery may not work temporarily.

OK not the same as an operating temperature for the whole phone, but amused me anyway.

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Why do I need a title to reply to a post?

That's physics, not Nokia. When it's cold, molecular movement slows down, and the batteries don't work so well.

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Nokia 6300

The year before last I was on the slopes in Jasna, Slovakia trying to talk the office through a server reboot. Every 5 minutes my 6300 would switch off and I would have to warm it up again to get it working. It was -23

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Boffin

and @tough Finnish phones...

Nokia states that your battery may not work at these temperatures.

This is subtly different from Apple claiming the warranty is void if you try to use your iPhone below freezing.

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no issues for me

3 snow storms this year thus far, VERY rare for where I am, and one day at just 7 F, while we spent an hour and a half outside building snow men and playing with our child, iPhone exposed to the elements most of that time since both of our digital cameras refused to work after about 10-15 minutes at that temp.

I found, even at near 10 degrees F, I could not keep the iPhone in my hand more than 5 minutes or so without handing it off the the wife and putting my gloves back on. For several periods of about 10 minutes each, we set it on the porch and continued to play. At no time did I see anything more than a sluggish LCD, and that was only after an extended period of no activity. The phone recoded video, made calls, and uploaded to the net without issue. I can't imagine using it outside in any lower temps for more than a few minutes, especially in contact with one's face to make calls. My bluetooth headset failed quick in those temps.

Super cold, below zero F, I don't imaging anyone's phone is likely to work in those temps for very long unless it has some form of heated casing. If they're making Apple refund phones, they better be making everyone else do so as well, unless the phones are in fact rated to below those temps (which LCD itself can't be, so it would have to be some odd display tech special made for artic temps).

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Jobs Halo

Cold or humidity

This kind of "no warranty" warranty behaviour has been around for a while. In New Zealand, the mobile phone companies would refuse to honour warranties because the humidity sticker inside the battery case had turned red - trouble is that Wellington and points south are all so humid and damp in the winter that the sticker would change colour even if the phone had never got physically wet.

FWIW - I have used my iphone skiing in CO and on business in Quebec City in temperatures below -20ºC. The battery doesn't last long in those temps, but the phone functions as long as there's power.

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Joke

Just a thought

If the warranty is effectively worthless below zero, does this mean that I can also hack around with my kit without Apple moaning if it's below zero too?

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You don't sell a phone in Finland that doesn't work below zero.

The issue at hand is not whether the phone fails under sub-zero conditions (it sounds like it usually works, just with poor battery performance and a sluggish LCD). The issue is whether trying to use it under sub-zero conditions voids the warranty - which it apparently does.

It's not reasonable to sell a cell phone (or any other product) in Finland (or Alaska, for that matter) when normal use in that locale's climate is sufficient to void the warranty. It would seem as though that condition in the agreement would void the warranty of anyone who used their iphone outdoors in the winter in Finland!

Now that I think about, it, if the key variable is the ambient temperature, and the spec is 0 C, that would effect most of the temperate world! If the key variable is the internal temperature of the phone, what is the mechanism for the user to monitor the internal temperature of their phone to determine whether it can be used without voiding the warranty? If it was in my jacket pocket, it was warmer than the outside air, but by how much?

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Boffin

Below Freezing

Operation below freezing (0C or 32F) is a pretty weak criteria. Even in the US, in say, New England cities like Boston, it's common to spend much of January-March never getting above 25F (-4C) during the day with it getting down to -5F (-20C) at night.

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