Apple may start charging customers for online chat support if they are outside their warranty period, claims 9to5Mac. This paid support option may launch alongside a new online hardware repair and replacement service. Both services could launch as soon as next week.
With this new chat service, customers who are still under warranty can access chat support online for free via getsupport.apple.com. Those outside of their warranty will be required to pay for each incident or extend their warranty by purchasing AppleCare. Currently, online chat support is available free to all users worldwide, though some users have reported seeing a $19.99 feee that was waived by the Apple support representative.
Along with its new support option, Apple also is working on a web-based payment system to process credit card transactions for customers seeking paid support. It will process payments through the chat interface using a secure channel that hides the user’s financial information from all involved Apple support representatives.
Apple is piggybacking a new hardware repair and replacement service on top of this chat and payment system.
Using the new web payment system, we’re told Apple plans to offer the ability to set up hardware repairs and replacements that require a hold on a credit card or pay per incident fee via chat support. Rather than having to call in, users will be sent a link that’s live for 24 hours in order to complete the payment.
Each out-of-warranty chat will cost users $19.99. This covers basic tech support and troubleshooting for a single support incident. Users can request an exception if they believe their support should be available for free. Apple will waive the fee until the service is officially launched. After launch, Apple will continue to offer free chat support for iCloud issues and accidental damage claims where a user is merely seeking a repair or replacement.
Are you out of warranty on your current Apple product? Will you pay $19.99 for support via online chat?