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Turns out: Apple offers prorated AppleCare refunds

Glenn Fleishman | Oct. 14, 2015
Did you know you can get a partial refund from unused portions of AppleCare and AppleCare+? Neither did we.

IPhone 6S launch in Palo Alto
New iPhones lined up for sale at Apple's Palo Alto store on Sept. 25, 2015. Credit: Martyn Williams

It’s important to admit ignorance; otherwise, you’re arrogant. I had no idea that the extended-warranty plans, AppleCare and AppleCare+, could be refunded on a pro-rata basis for the unused remaining portion, despite ostensibly being a veteran reporter of things Apple. This wouldn’t change any actions I’ve taken nor my recommendations. But it does shift some of the discussion around iPhone installment plans, which I just wrote about, describing swapping my phone from AT&T to the Apple iPhone Upgrade plan.

But there it is on Apple’s site! Reader “suspiciouschicken” alerted us in the comments on the iPhone-swap article. (It’s always the most suspicious chickens who notice these things.) Apple says its formula varies by country. This is because countries and regions have varying rules about how warranties must be honored and rebated. In the United States, the formula is, paraphrased:

“Original cost pro-rated for time remaining less the value of any service used and less a cancellation fee of either $25 or 10 percent of the pro-rated remaining value, whichever is lower.”

So on a $99 AppleCare+ plan after 12 months exactly and no service incidents, you’d have $49.50 in value left. Since $25 is more than 10 percent of that amount ($4.95), Apple would subtract that lesser value, for a net of about $44. While not huge, it’s not nothing, either. For a computer, it could be larger. A $349 MacBook Pro plan after a year would result in $233 remaining in value, less $23.30, or about $209.

To claim the refund, you have to contact Apple by phone, fax, or snail mail, and you have to provide the device’s serial number, the plan’s agreement number, and proof of purchase of the plan as an original sales receipt. Apple may waive the receipt requirement if both the device covered and the service plan were both purchased directly.

If it’s worth getting, it’s worth selling?

AppleCare for Mac, Apple Displays, and Apple TV (and some other equipment purchased at the same time) and AppleCare+ for the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and iPod touch are extended warranties. Computers receive three years of coverage, while AppleCare+ covers two. All the plans extend unlimited phone support and some other customer-service options from 90 days to the full length of the plan.

New iPhone 6s Plus in box
Credit: Michael deAgonia

Both kinds of plans cover manufacturing defects and component failures under normal working conditions for the plan’s duration. With AppleCare+, you are covered with an extra but modest deductible for up to two accidents; the fee you pay varies by device and model. The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus have a $99 fee for accidents, while older iPhones cost $79 per incident.


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