What iPhone Owners Complain About When They Complain To The FCC & FTC

Lastmonth, InformationWeek filed a Freedom of Information request with the FCC and the FTC for complaints made about the iPhone in the past year. Although the breakdown of complaints is interesting, what I found most striking was that in a nation of over 11 million iPhone owners, less than 600 complaints were filed in the past 14 months*, and some of those were for other Apple products. If you have a legitimate grievance with a company, you might have a much better chance of being heard by the FCC or FTC than you think.

Of course, if you’re an entitled idiot who just wants to complain, you can do that too. InformationWeek said “quite a few” of the complaints to both agencies were “poorly reasoned,” “misdirected at Apple” or reflected “a poor choice by the complainant rather than corporate misconduct.”

As to the rest, well, the majority of the 72 complaints made to the FCC were about AT&T as much as if not more than Apple.

There were about 450 complaints filed with the FTC, although not just about the iPhone:

Many of the FTC complaints describe warranty disputes, hardware failures in Apple computers, the inability to unlock iPhones, and misleading advertising. There’s one that alleges risky data handling after a computer was left at Apple retail stores for repair.

The most numerous type of Apple-related complaint submitted to the FTC has to do with hacked or hijacked iTunes accounts and unauthorized charges. This appears to be a major problem, though it probably has more to do with the number of iTunes users running unpatched versions of Windows or falling victim to phishing attacks than it does with Apple.

Two anti-competitive complaints emerged repeatedly in both the FCC and FTC records. The first concerned the banning of the Google Voice app from the App Store, and the second concerned Apple’s recent change to what developers can use to create apps (i.e., not Adobe Flash).

Also, one person complained about Apple buying Lala.com. That person was right. I miss you, Lala.
* InformationWeek says the FTC denied 15 pages of records under an FOIA exemption, because they’re related to law enforcement action. Go back to top of post.

“Exclusive: iPhone Woes Revealed In FCC, FTC Consumer Complaints” [InformationWeek]