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5 Warnings to Shoppers From Ex-Apple Store Employees

Know what you're really getting the next time you go into an Apple store.

If you own an iPhone, iPad, or MacBook, there's a good chance you've stepped into an Apple store, whether to get technical support for your device or just to check out the latest tech. And though you may think you know almost everything about Apple—it is, after all, the world's most valuable company—there are a few things the stores are keeping from customers. Read on to hear straight from former employees about what you should be mindful of when shopping at the Apple store, from hidden charges to technical support issues.

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Employees might push new products on you rather than fix your devices.

Man using New iPhone 13 Pro in SIerra blue color, close-up to camera set

Apple store employees are trained to service and repair malfunctioning iPhones and MacBooks—but in some stores, they're also encouraged to swap these items out for new or refurbished products rather than fixing the issue.

In a 2019 interview with  ZDNET, a former senior store employee explained that front-of-store employees don't work on commission or receive bonuses, so there's no incentive to push products. However, he added, "The direction or pressure for employees to sell a certain product comes from the retail leadership team."

"The Store Leader receives a breakdown of metrics and goals in the form of a Market Report from their Market Leader [regional manager]," the former employee continued. "Retail leadership teams do, in fact, receive a performance bonus based on quarterly sales results, a fact which is never explicitly revealed to the frontline teams."

But another reason you may be getting products pushed on you is that staff are simply overworked. "There was less time to devote to repairing computers," Quora user Mark H. Delfs said. "We basically were turned into iDevice swapping robots. We only had a few minutes per customer. Over 90 percent of the time it was an argument on why we couldn't give you a new device."

Employees may dupe you into buying AppleCare.


AppleCare is an extended warranty and protection plan that you can purchase for your devices. Prices vary by device, but for the newest iPhone 14 Pro, it's $199 for two years for the basic plan or $260 for two years for the "theft and loss" plan—both of which may be hefty price tags for shoppers on top of their iPhone purchase.

But to sell more AppleCare plans, TikToker and former Apple store employee @hitomidocameraroll explained that some workers deceive customers.

"A few employees will tell you that to help you sell AppleCare to your customers you basically just don't give them the choice," the TikTok user says. "You present the phone with the final price, including AppleCare."

In the comments, another former Apple store employee who goes by @TheRealJboogy concurred: "We got told just charge them the monthly AppleCare plus rate they can cancel it on their own if they notice the $10 charge."

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Employees are dependent on customer reviews.

Apple store class in progress

The Apple store is one of many retailers that ask for feedback and reviews, which can have a tremendous impact on employees.

"You live and die by customer satisfaction ratings," says former employee and Reddit user u/minimalistcookie. "You have to maintain a certain level to avoid any action plans with a Team Lead."

A 2021 article in The Verge explained how each store receives a "net promoter score," which is essentially a number based on customers' feedback. But, as they note, customers could give negative ratings based on "things like low inventory or wait time," which employees have no control over.

"There's never positive intent assumed," a then-current employee in Pittsburgh told The Verge. "It always feels like you're a kid getting in trouble and you're making an excuse."

Employees know when you're lying.

Apple store genius bar

"My phone wasn't even near water!" "I know I bought Apple Care!" "Your manager said I could get this repair for free." Don't think you're going to get over on the Apple store with these lies, according to ex-employee @emmatainment.

Her responses to all of these are: "iPhones don't sweat." "Apple Care… purchases include your devices serial number." "We keep notes on our iPads of customer interactions at the Genius Bar."

Employees don't know about product launches before you.

Turkey, Istanbul, December 17, 2019: The buyer compares the camera on the old iPhone and the latest modern iPhone 11 pro max in the Apple store.

You may assume that an Apple store employee is lying to you when you ask when the new iPhone is coming out, but the truth is that they only find out when you do.

"The whole company is based on a need-to-know structure, meaning that many of us have no idea what's going on before the [launch] day (basically when they release new products) even though the rumors are all over the internet," shared former employee Douglas L. in an article for LinkedIn.

On Quora, employee Ken Carriker explained that this is for two reasons. First, if employees don't know about launches, they can't spill the beans. "Also, all but the newest employees are shareholders… By not having any knowledge of upcoming products, we can't practice, or be accused of, insider trading."

NOTE: Best Life only includes information from social media and job boards when there is corroboration from multiple sources. These comments have not been independently verified, however, and are the opinions of the people who posted them.

Erin Yarnall
Erin Yarnall is a freelance reporter from the Chicago area. Read more
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