Apple Settles Breach of Warranty Class Action Over Alleged Misuse of Water Damage Claims


Amidst the many legal and financial troubles it has been facing lately, Apple can scratch one class-action lawsuit off the list. The class-action combined a number of lawsuits that had been filed in San Francisco against the company and dealt with Apple’s warranty policy for its iPhone and iPod touch.

According to the lawsuit, Apple allegedly refused to repair or replace merchandise still under one- or two-year warranty if a piece of white tape inside the device had changed color. The tape was supposed to turn pink or red when it came into contact with water. Since said water contact is known to damage electronic devices, Apple customer service personnel were instructed not to repair devices with tape that had changed color.

However, the tape manufacturer, 3M, allegedly said that humidity could potentially turn the tape at least pink. The customer service manual also states that “If a customer disputes whether an iPod with an activated [Liquid Contact Indicator] has been damaged by liquid contact and there are no external signs of damage from corrosion, then the iPod may still be eligible for warranty service.”

Although the tech giant admits no wrongdoing, it has agreed to settle the case for $53 million. This has the potential to affect hundreds of thousands of iPhone, iPhone 3G, and iPhone 3GS owners as well as customers who bought the first three generations of the iPod touch media player. Each member of the claim could get as much as $400 although, if there are enough people with claims, it could end up being less than half that much.

This is not the first time Apple has had to contend with complaints regarding its warranty policies. Recently, the CEO, Tim Cook, apologized to China after the state-run CCTV network and Chinese celebrities chastised the company on its replacement and repair policies in the more than 1 billion customer market.

The EU has also repeatedly castigated the firm over its warranty policies and Italy even threatened to close Apple’s offices if a warranty concern wasn’t addressed.

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