iPhone bill shock: 80-year-old Aussie mum charged $1600 for basic repairs

·4-min read

An 80-year-old mother was hit with an eye-watering $1,599 bill for iPhone repairs at a Queensland computer store this week, leaving fellow consumers outraged.

The woman, from Queensland's Sunshine Coast region, visited King IT's Caloundra store for a standard iPhone update when she was charged $1,599 for several dubious services, including a virus removal.

"Local computer store (King IT Caloundra) charged my 80-year-old mother $1500 to remove a 'virus' from her iPhone," wrote the woman's son in a scathing review on the business's Google account.

$1,600 bill for an iPhone repair; Person's hands holding iPhone
An 80-year-old woman copped a $1,600 bill for basic iPhone services at a Queensland computer store. Source: Reddit/Getty

The furious man also took to Reddit to share a photo of the hefty repair bill his mother was issued by the IT store in question.

IT store charges almost $1,000 for spyware removal

On the printed invoice, you can see King IT charged the elderly woman $98 for an iOS update (something that can be done by the user for free), $59 for a lesson from a "Tech Guru", $18 for the installation of monthly Webroot security software, and $69 for a lifetime version of the same software.

However, the most expensive component of the consultation involved checking and removing spyware from the woman's iPhone, twice, at a jaw-dropping total cost of $978.

Australians will pay typically between $100 and $300 to have malware removed from their iPhones, according to a search on AirTasker for the service.

Person's hand holding iPhone as it updates
King IT charged the elderly woman $98 for an iOS update on her iPhone, something that can be done by a user for free. Source: Getty

Cybersecurity software company Avast says that viruses on iPhones are "rare" and will only occur if the phone is jailbroken (which is when Apple's software restrictions are removed).

This was not the case in this instance, as the woman was updating her iPhone to the latest version of Apple's iOS.

Yahoo News Australia reached out to King IT for comment but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

IT store feels internet's wrath

The post struck a nerve with fellow consumers on Reddit and Google, who labelled the IT store "scammers" for their perplexing charges on the woman's bill.

"Besides the $900 'virus removal', sprinkled with charges like $50 to press the system update button... what scamming scum. And most things are charged twice," wrote one person.

"Taking advantage of the elderly; disgusting rotten people," wrote a second.

"Scamming the elderly is a new low," wrote a third.

Several other people advised the man to report the store to the ACCC, which he confirmed he had done, along with informing the shopping centre inside which the store is located.

iPhone repair bill
Shocked by the high cost of his mother's iPhone repair bill, the woman's son sought advice from fellow consumers online. Source: Reddit

Woman offered full refund

Following the man's scathing online review, a representative from King IT confirmed they would be issuing a "full refund" to the customer in a public response on Google.

"Regrettably, recently at our Caloundra store, one of our staff made a poor judgment which resulted in an extensive bill to one of our valued customers," the response reads.

"This is unacceptable and it shouldn't have happened. We would like to offer our sincere apology and a full refund and would like to compensate our customer for the grief we caused. We are currently reaching out to the family to make this right," they added.

The representative assured readers that the issue "would never happen again" and that they were taking "disciplinary action".

How to remove malware from iPhones for free

Although rare, iPhone owners can remove a virus or malware from their Apple device for free by restarting their iPhones, updating iOS and clearing their history and browsing data.

Concerned people can also remove suspicious apps and factory reset their iPhones to protect themselves from malware and viruses.

If you're not sure whether your iPhone has been infected with a virus or other malware, some telltale signs to check for include unfamiliar or crashing apps, lots of internet browser pop-ups, unusual charges or data usage, a rapidly draining battery, or a consistently hot phone.

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