Apple is likely to start charging for out-of-warranty chat support as early as next week people familiar with the matter have told 9to5Mac.
Up until now Apple customers not covered by warranty were able to receive online chat support for free, but that will soon end as Apple is likely to roll out its new paid chat support allowing users to schedule repairs and even arrange for replacements online.
According to the tech site customers who still have their devices under warranty will be able to chat online with Apple support personnel for free, but those whose warranty have lapsed will have to pay $19 per incident to avail online chat support. Users may also opt for extended warranty through AppleCare.
9to5Mac notes that Apple has developed a new payment system that not only allows users to securely pay per incident but also secure customer information while it transits from one support specialist to another.
The payment system has been designed such that users will not be required to call-in to make the payment, but would rather receive a link in their email through which they can complete the payments.
There is an option whereby users can request a waiver, but we are not sure how this system will work and what are the criteria under which a waiver will be granted.
The changes to the online chat support page were visible to some as early as August last year, but Apple never forced its out-of-warranty customers to play until now and this is likely to change soon.