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By giving credits, Apple gets credit

Giving store credits and refunds seems to have become Apple's tried-and-true method for damage control. The latest example affects buyers of the iPhone 3G S.

iPhone 3G S
The iPhone 3G S is having some activation troubles. Apple

Some iPhone 3G S customers are having trouble getting their new handhelds activated.

An Apple e-mail sent to those being affected by the issue said that it could take up to 48 hours to complete the device's activation. The e-mail claims the delay was due to "system issues" and "high activation volumes." It started after the iPhone 3G S was released last Friday.

But not all is lost. Apple told affected customers that it would offer them a $30 iTunes Store credit for "the inconvenience this delay has caused."

Apple has a proven record of trying to do what's right after it makes mistakes; this is no exception.

Last year, when the writers' strike brought the entertainment industry to a halt, Apple issued a refund to all customers who purchased season passes for their favorite television shows. It didn't refund them for the entire season, but it paid them back for the episodes that were promised but not delivered.

After making the controversial decision to drop the price of the first-generation 8GB iPhone from $599 to $399 in 2007, Apple gave early adopters who paid the original price a $100 Apple Store credit.

"Even though we are making the right decision to lower the price of iPhone, and even though the technology road is bumpy, we need to do a better job taking care of our early iPhone customers as we aggressively go after new ones with a lower price," Apple CEO Steve Jobs wrote at the time. "Our early customers trusted us, and we must live up to that trust with our actions in moments like these."

When iPod battery lives weren't as long as Apple claimed they would be in 2005, and class action lawsuits were filed, the company offered extended warranties and $50 store credits to consumers who issued complaints.

Apple has shown a track record of responding to its mistakes. A $30 credit might not be ideal for customers, but it's better than nothing, isn't it?

How many times have we dealt with tech companies that do nothing to make a situation right? On numerous occasions, I've called tech support on Windows PCs, and after trying to perform some basic troubleshooting, representatives from Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and others told me to install the Windows Recovery disc and start anew.

When Twitter was down so often last year, all we heard were excuses and promises of better service. It came, but in the meantime, we were left wondering what other alternatives were available.

The tech industry is filled with too many companies offering too many products that don't offer what we expect. In many cases, those problems are ignored. But Apple is one of few companies that doesn't ignore its problems.

Unlike Palm, which has stayed relatively silent on its Pre's battery problems, Apple generally addresses issues with its products and gives a little something back for our trouble. It might not be ideal, but it's better than the alternative.

So say what you will about the iPhone 3G S activation problems, but in handling issues like this, the company should generally get credit for giving it.

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