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Apple explores the possibility of a rebate over battery issue for some iPhone owners

Some owners of Apple iPhones could be eligible for a rebate. (Regis Duvignain/Reuters)

Apple is considering giving rebates to iPhone owners who bought batteries to improve the performance of their phones before a price cut, according to a letter the firm sent to Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee.

The company cut the price of its battery replacements from $79 to $29 after disclosing that, in some cases, it has slowed the performance of older iPhones to prevent phone shutdowns caused by degraded batteries. Apple, which made this admission in December, faced a backlash from consumers who said they did not agree to a performance drop. Others complained that they had replaced their batteries at a higher cost, or said that they might not have bought new iPhones if they had known a battery replacement could help them.

Thune said in a statement Tuesday after sharing Apple's letter that he appreciated the company's response and acknowledgment that it did not handle the situation as well as it could have. “For advanced technologies like an iPhone, consumers rely on clear and transparent disclosures from manufacturers to understand why their device may experience performance changes,” Thune said. "[Apple] has acknowledged that its initial disclosures came up short.”

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, also sent a letter in January asking Apple for more information. In its response to that letter, also shared Tuesday, Apple said that it may also extend the discounted battery program beyond the end of 2018.