A US consumer rights group is attacking Apple and AT&T over the fee consumers must pay for battery replacement.
The Foundation for Consumer and Taxpayer Rights is taking the two firms to task over the fact that the fees and methodology for the battery replacement scheme wasn't announced in advance of the product launch.
Apple published information about its battery replacement plan on its website on Friday evening (US time) - after the product went on sale. Replacement costs owners of the $499 or $599 device $79 plus $6.95 shipping charges. The process takes three business days, and Apple will offer a loan unit to tide users over during this period for an additional $29 charge.
The group complains that this left consumers in the dark before they purchased the device. The iPhone battery is soldered to the inside of the device and cannot be swapped by users.
The consumer advocates argue that because the replacement scheme wasn't fully disclosed before the device went on sale, some consumers who have purchased it may not have done so, had full information been available.
In a letter the group observes: "News reports quote Apple as stating that the iPhone's battery will eventually deplete itself after 300-400 charges". This means some customers will need to pay the battery tax within ten months of purchasing the product, the advocates warn.