Apple to Offer Band Only Exchanges for Apple Watch

Apple is planning to offer customers an opportunity to exchange only their Apple Watch bands rather than an entire Apple Watch if a band is the wrong size or the wrong style. Retail employees have been instructed to suggest a band swap as an alternative to a whole watch return if an Apple Watch is being returned based on size, color, or band style.

A band swap, according to an internal employee training document, can potentially save the customer time as it eliminates the need to set up and sync an entirely new watch. Band swaps are available for the Apple Watch Sport and the stainless steel Apple Watch, but will not be available for the more expensive gold Apple Watch Edition.

Apple-Watch
There are several rules for band swaps:

- The new band must be within the same collection as the watch and must be an available band option for that watch face.

- The band swap is within 14 day return period.

- The watch must have been purchased at the Apple Online Store, Kiosk, or Apple Store App.

- You are not using band swaps as a way to configure a sellable product for a customer.

Band swaps won't be done entirely in store. After an employee confirms that a customer is within their 14-day return window and wants a new band, the swap must be initiated through the Online Store call center. Customer support representatives will create a new band order, ship it out to the customer, and provide instructions on how to mail in an old band for a refund.

One interesting tidbit in the document suggests band swaps can't be done for watches purchased at other retailers for warranty reasons, such as those bought from select boutiques around the world where the Apple Watch will be sold, including Colette in Paris, Dover Street Market in London, The Corner in Berlin, and more.

pinksportband38mm
If a customer wants to make a full watch return rather than just a band return, the band must be provided. Apple will not provide partial refunds -- bands that shipped with a watch cannot be returned for a refund and Apple Watches cannot be returned without their bands.

The document also outlines the full return guidelines for the Apple Watch Sport, the Apple Watch, and the gold Apple Watch Edition, with the latter requiring a "visual, mechanical, and micro-inspection" by a trained genius accompanied by a manager.

The Apple Watch is set to launch this Friday, with the first customers receiving their pre-orders at that time. Supplies are constrained, but Apple has been making efforts to get shipments out as fast as possible. Many Apple Watch bands are also in short supply with multi-week shipping estimates, so customers who do wish to exchange a band might have to wait awhile for their desired band to be available.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 9
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Top Rated Comments

random person Avatar
120 months ago
This product launch is getting more Byzantine by the minute. Who can keep track of these rules? Launch date ranges? etc. Absurd. The whole thing is giving me a headache.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
apophazz Avatar
120 months ago
Maybe I should have ordered a silver Sport Watch and exchanged the colored band for a black one..
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
robT9 Avatar
120 months ago
That was my first thought (because I would have done the same), but the wording leaves room for doubt.



Black isn't an option for the silver sport watch face (unless ordered seperately). I'm curious as to how they'll approach it.

I'm with you. I ordered a silver sport with white band, but what I really wanted was a silver sport with black band (just plain silly this isn't an option). But I think based on the wording of the what they are saying here, they won't exchange a white band for a black one, because the silver doesn't come that way. Again...not offering the black band makes no sense.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RDeckard Avatar
120 months ago
This product launch is getting more Byzantine by the minute. Who can keep track of these rules? Launch date ranges? etc. Absurd. The whole thing is giving me a headache.
Let me simplify for you:

If you ordered a (say) 42mm Sport Watch in aluminum + blue band and

1) there was a mistake in packaging and you got a white band
or
2) you really wanted a pink band

Then instead of returning the entire watch & band, they just give you the band you want.

If you just want to return the whole thing, then the 14-day return period applies.

See -- not so hard, was it?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TonyC28 Avatar
120 months ago
If this is true then why on Earth won't they let us buy the silver Sport with a black band?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rogifan Avatar
120 months ago
This was IMO the problem to begin with. Apple should have sold the bands and the watch seperately. I would not be surprised if the last minute assembly is causing the delays. And switching bands now makes sense because giving back the watch and then waiting another 6 months for the replacement would be horrible.

Apple was never going to do that. Yeah technically you can wear the milanese loop with silver sport watch but Apple would never actively encourage it. To be honest I cringe when I see sport watch with stainless steel band combinations. I don't think it looks nice at all; it looks just mishmashed.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)