In August 2013 Apple launched online live chat support. Initially free, reports starting surfacing last month indicating that Apple may start charging for live chat support soon. This change has now been rolled out, in some cases, Apple may require customers to pay a per incident fee of $19 for support. The company has given leverage to support staff when it comes to levying the fee, so its unlikely that customers with straightforward queries would be required to pay. Customers without AppleCare are currently offered 90 days of technical support.
There are also a few predefined categories and if the customers’ issue falls in them, they can ask support staff to waive the fee. Categories include “I recently purchased Mac OS X” and “I recently purchased Apple branded software, and I’m having issues using it with this computer.” Customers who aren’t covered under this and are required to pay may be asked to make the $19 payment during the chat session.
However, once customers make the $19 per incident fee, that particular incident is going to be covered for 30 days online as well as over the phone. Meaning a case that has been started online can be followed up through Apple’s phone support for the next month without having to pay a dime more.