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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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The mystery of “white spots” on Apple trade ins

The Verge’s Nick Statt has an in-depth story on customers who have run into mysterious “white spots” when trading their devices in to Apple via its partner Phobio:

The situation soon changed after his laptop arrived for inspection. Suddenly, McGloin was told his MacBook was worth just $140, less than half what Apple originally quoted. The mysterious culprit: “display has 3 or more white spots,” the Apple Store app told him. It’s a defect McGloin doesn’t remember ever seeing, and one that he should have noticed: typically, white spots on an LCD display are evidence of serious damage or burn-in and are clearly visible. In McGloin’s estimation, however, the laptop was in “excellent” condition, he tells The Verge, and he didn’t see any white spots when he packed it up.

I’ve used Apple’s trade in program a few times in the past, and while I haven’t run into these issues, there does seem to be an odd recurrence of this “white spots” problem—all the more puzzling because several cases, customers have declined the trade in, gotten their devices returned, and been unable to discern the problem described.

It doesn’t seem particularly great, but given that we’re mainly hearing about people whose experience didn’t go well—which, of course, tends to be more vocal than those whose experiences went fine—it’s possible that the issue is localized to one particular set of personnel or facility?

Either way, it’s certainly not the experience that Apple probably wants for its customers, especially since many if not most of the people trading in old Apple products are using the money towards the purchase of new Apple products. But because Apple doesn’t highlight the fact that its returns are done through a third-party, it’s Apple that gets the blame—and it’s the one that needs to fix any issue here as well.

—Linked by Dan Moren

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