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This blog usually looks at local municipal issues but I thought I would share a positive customer service experience. It concerns an iPhone.

Two years ago I purchased an iPhone 5 from The Source in Parry Sound rather than go to one of the big box stores or drive down to the Big Smoke and buy it from an Apple Store. It was an update to an old iPhone 3G, and I upgraded to a simple no data plan from Virgin Mobile.

The question was whether I needed a protection plan and if so, from who? Even though I purchased the phone through The Source I could have easily purchased an Apple warranty online. The Source’s warranty was more expensive, but I like the service I receive there, they have bright young women (apologies to Barry, he’s okay as well) and I thought I would support a local business.

The first issue arose about a year later when phone wouldn’t charge. I brought it in and they said that they would send it out for service, it would be back in two to three weeks. Dang, I should have bought the Apple warranty and I could have driven down to Newmarket and had it fixed then and there. But it was too late to worry about past decisions. I ordered a SIM card adapter for the iPhone 3G from Amazon.ca (The Source doesn’t carry them) and went back a few years in terms of technology. A week later I received a call to say the phone was repaired and ready for pick up. Woo-hoo, one week and I didn’t need to spend the better part of a day driving to Newmarket to get it fixed, or alternatively boxing it up and mailing it to Apple Central.

The charging port broke down for the second time a few weeks ago. This time I was prepared with my SIM card adapter so there was no wait to get the 3G up and running. I was told two to three weeks and it arrived back in a week. Not too bad, and the extra cost for the warranty with The Source had paid for itself with the saved driving costs.

But how was I saved? That happened a couple weekends ago. I had the iPhone 5 in a waterproof, not just water resistant, Otter Box and headed out for a kayak clinic. Part of the clinic involved in water rescues. I was in the water for no more than five minutes scrambling back into the kayak, never any deeper than is possible when wearing a personal flotation device. When I was back in the kayak I noticed the phone looked wet inside the case. When I got to shore and opened the case I found it was wet, and not working. I thought The Source’s warranty was three years, so I should be saved. It was an all causes warranty.

The next Monday I brought it in to The Source and they sent it out suggesting it would take two to three weeks. Back to the iPhone 3G. That phone, seven years old now, still keeps on ticking and has a great battery life.

A week later I received a call from The Source. Your phone couldn’t be fixed so they have provided a replacement. I went in expecting a refurbished iPhone 5, which would have been perfectly acceptable. Walking up to the desk and identifying myself I was told to wait and they went into the back of the store to get my replacement phone. It was a brand new iPhone 5S. Woo-hoo, not only a replacement, but a new phone and an upgrade at the same time.

The upgrade is just strange luck, the iPhone 5 is not longer in production so they did the right thing. I expect Apple would have done the same thing, but the savings in travel time does make a difference when you live as far as we do from an Apple Store. And I didn’t need to go through the silliness of ‘making an appointment’.

So thanks to the people at The Source for their great service and standing behind their warranties. This type of performance is worth publicizing. I won’t mention the equally poor response I had from Home Depot on a different issue. Lessons learned in both cases.

So, if you can forgo the ‘pageantry’ of purchasing an iPhone from the Apple Store, it can make much more sense to get it locally from a company that provides great customer service. I’m happy that I did.

About the Otter Box! I won’t trust it, or any other case, to be waterproof. Water resistant I can believe, but so is a 10 cent Ziploc bag.

Phones Work Out Here Too. (Parry Sound in Black & White)

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