Apple to pay $53M settlement in iPhone, iPod touch warranty class action suit

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple has reportedly agreed to settle a class action suit regarding allegedly suspect warranty practices, with the company planning to pay out some $53 million to iPhone and iPod touch owners who claim the company did not honor its one-year standard protection plan.

According to Wired, which acquired a leaked copy of the agreement, the settlement was signed by Apple counsel Noreen Krall on Wednesday and will be filed with a California federal court sometime in the next few weeks.

In the lawsuit, plaintiffs allege Apple wrongly refused to repair or replace broken iPhone and iPod touch units which were deemed to be damaged due to contact with water. Every device has a piece of liquid contact indicator tape placed at the bottom of its headphone jack, which turns from white to pink in the presence of water.

Indicator
Example of water contact indicator tapes. | Source: 3M


While Apple policy holds that water damage voids the standard product warranty, the liquid indicator's manufacturer, 3M, said humidity could be result in a false positive.

Under the settlement terms, Apple will pay out between $105 to $300 depending on the device and amount of on-board storage, with the amounts reflecting the average cost of repair. The document states class members can double the payout depending on how many times they sought warranty coverage.

List of affected devices:

Settlement Payout
Source: Wired
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member


    Speaking of warranty, there is a side effect to Android's "openness" that is not often mentioned:-


     


     


    Quote:


    Samsung VF Galaxy Tab 2 -

    10.1 (P5100) Silver 



    3XXXXXXXXXXXXX0

    RXXXXXXXXXA



    UNIT HAS CUSTOM BINARY SOFTWARE INSTALLED THEREFORE VOIDING

    MANUFACTURERS WARRANTY. UNAUTHORISED SOFTWARE TAMPERING. UNIT RETURNED BACK UNREPAIRED. TT



     


    Be careful when installing "unauthorised" ROM's they can void warranties.


     


    The geeky looking customer was pretty p*ssed off over it, just gave him Samsung's number, they can deal with it.

  • Reply 2 of 26
    cash907cash907 Posts: 893member
    GOOD! I normally side with the company on these sorts of disputes, but those first gen water intrusion stickers were garbage. The mic went out on my 3GS a few months after I bought it, and Apple refused to replace/repair it under warranty because the sticker in the headphone port showed pink. Now, I take better care of my electronics than most people do of their children, so I knew this was complete BS. After arguing back and forth for a week with different tech/customer service reps, I finally reached someone somewhat sympathetic, who offered up the revelation that exposure to humid climates or even being kept in a small bathroom with the shower running could be enough to give off a false positive reading. I was living in a small apartment back then, and since I was on call for work my phone went wherever I went. I thought it would be safe sitting on the counter next to the sink and nowhere near the shower, but evidently not.

    What killed me about the whole thing was the lack of common sense. If there was evidence of water damage once they'd opened the phone up, yeah I agree: charge for off warranty service. But there was absolutely no sign of that, other than the headphone port sticker, on the complete other end of the phone from where the bad part was located. The sticker inside the dock connector on the bottom of the phone was still white, but per Apple policy, even if just one sticker shows water, it's an open and shut case. Anyway, it took awhile but I finally got them to repair it on warranty, but the whole process was a lot more frustrating than it should have been, or I would have expected from Apple. It's a great company, but in this case they were flat out wrong, and they knew it as well which is why they moved to a redesigned sticker when they released the 4. That 3M, the sticker's manufacturer, even admitted to the defect in the original, is not surprising.
  • Reply 3 of 26
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,570member


    I always thought they were overrating the reliability of these indicators. I also always wondered if they would turn white again by heating them, like lab desiccants that turn pink and you just heat them up to dry them out till they turn blue again, which indicates they are dry. 

  • Reply 4 of 26

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    Speaking of warranty, there is a side effect to Android's "openness" that is not often mentioned:-


     


     


     


    Be careful when installing "unauthorised" ROM's they can void warranties.


     


    The geeky looking customer was pretty p*ssed off over it, just gave him Samsung's number, they can deal with it.



    Samsung will deal with it in Korean only. 


     


    However, it's not Android's problem if it's a hardware issue... you gotta love it when you don't have ONE source to complain to.

  • Reply 5 of 26
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,438member
    Now [I]there's[/I] a story that holds water.
  • Reply 6 of 26
    robogoborobogobo Posts: 378member
    When Apple creates a stupid policy like this, it's like pulling teeth to get around it, even if all the Apple reps know it's a stupid policy. It just takes so much time and energy to get to some one who can actually do anything about it.
  • Reply 7 of 26
    cash907cash907 Posts: 893member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    Speaking of warranty, there is a side effect to Android's "openness" that is not often mentioned:-


     


     


     


    Be careful when installing "unauthorised" ROM's they can void warranties.


     


    The geeky looking customer was pretty p*ssed off over it, just gave him Samsung's number, they can deal with it.



     


    Lord you haters amaze me sometimes. Can't just comment on an Apple story AS an Apple story. Have to turn it around and get a dig or two at Android.


     


    And if your customer was too stupid to reflash his phone to the stock ROM before bringing it in, he's a moron and deserves what he gets. You think I don't restore to factory anytime I bring in my phone for something? I can see it now, being turned away and denied a repair/replacement on my iPhone with the sticky power button just because the phone is jailbroken. Makes no sense, but that's how these companies roll.

  • Reply 8 of 26
    cash907cash907 Posts: 893member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by robogobo View Post



    When Apple creates a stupid policy like this, it's like pulling teeth to get around it, even if all the Apple reps know it's a stupid policy. It just takes so much time and energy to get to some one who can actually do anything about it.


     


    They should have settled a long time ago, when 3M publicly admitted that those older indicators were prone to false positives when kept in a humid environment. They also need to drop their policy of denying service if even one of the indicators shows pink. If the phone stops working, and the internal indicator is pink, then they have a case, but denying service just because one of the two exterior indicators shows pink? Ridiculous.

  • Reply 9 of 26
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member
    cash907 wrote: »
    Lord you haters amaze me sometimes. Can't just comment on an Apple story AS an Apple story. Have to turn it around and get a dig or two at Android.

    And if your customer was too stupid to reflash his phone to the stock ROM before bringing it in, he's a moron and deserves what he gets. You think I don't restore to factory anytime I bring in my phone for something? I can see it now, being turned away and denied a repair/replacement on my iPhone with the sticky power button just because the phone is jailbroken. Makes no sense, but that's how these companies roll.

    Yeah, because Apple is the only company that uses these indicators or voids warranties.

    I expect this class action to move on to other manufacturers who also used these indicators.
  • Reply 10 of 26
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member
    cash907 wrote: »
    Lord you haters amaze me sometimes. Can't just comment on an Apple story AS an Apple story. Have to turn it around and get a dig or two at Android.

    And if your customer was too stupid to reflash his phone to the stock ROM before bringing it in, he's a moron and deserves what he gets. You think I don't restore to factory anytime I bring in my phone for something? I can see it now, being turned away and denied a repair/replacement on my iPhone with the sticky power button just because the phone is jailbroken. Makes no sense, but that's how these companies roll.

    Yeah, because Apple is the only company that uses these indicators or voids warranties.

    I expect this class action to move on to other manufacturers who also used these indicators.

    btw, what's "hateful" about providing an example of a typical warranty voided response?

    It takes pretty twisted reasoning with a dash of paranoia to jump to such a conclusion.
  • Reply 11 of 26
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,569member
    hill60 wrote: »
    Speaking of warranty, there is a side effect to Android's "openness" that is not often mentioned:-



    Be careful when installing "unauthorised" ROM's they can void warranties.

    The geeky looking customer was pretty p*ssed off over it, just gave him Samsung's number, they can deal with it.

    1) What does this have to do with the AI article?
    2) How is this any different than someone taking a jailbroken iPhone in for warranty service and getting denied? Common sense would indicate that in both cases you would restore the phone to its factory software/ROM state before ever taking it in for repair.
  • Reply 12 of 26
    kdarlingkdarling Posts: 1,640member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post





    Yeah, because Apple is the only company that uses these indicators or voids warranties..


     


    One big difference for a long time, was that other manufacturers put the main indicator behind the battery, where it was probably much less likely to be triggered, but was still very easy to check by popping the rear cover off.


     


    Apple, having decided on a non-removable battery, had no choice but to put indicators at the most easy to view (and trigger) ingress points (headphone jack, dock connector).


     


    --


     


    Only half tongue in cheek, perhaps Apple should forget about moisture detectors anyway... and come up with urine, beer and chlorine detectors.


     


    Seems like most of the stories online about actual dunkings involve toilets, drinks and swimming pools!

  • Reply 13 of 26
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,979member
    cash907 wrote: »
    Lord you haters amaze me sometimes. Can't just comment on an Apple story AS an Apple story. Have to turn it around and get a dig or two at Android.

    And if your customer was too stupid to reflash his phone to the stock ROM before bringing it in, he's a moron and deserves what he gets. You think I don't restore to factory anytime I bring in my phone for something? I can see it now, being turned away and denied a repair/replacement on my iPhone with the sticky power button just because the phone is jailbroken. Makes no sense, but that's how these companies roll.

    It ccould be that the problem he was having prevented him from going back to stock.
  • Reply 14 of 26
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member
    cash907 wrote: »
    They should have settled a long time ago, when 3M publicly admitted that those older indicators were prone to false positives when kept in a humid environment. They also need to drop their policy of denying service if even one of the indicators shows pink. If the phone stops working, and the internal indicator is pink, then they have a case, but denying service just because one of the two exterior indicators shows pink? Ridiculous.

    Guess you haven't been paying attention because they changed the policy years ago. Basically when these suits happen. There has to be internal tripped indicators or screaming red on an external directly connected to the reported issue. I've had phones with blazing red in the headphone jack but nothing inside or in the dock connector replaced covered cause the complaint was power related not sound. No fuss about 'one time exceptions, just a warning to becareful about the liquids cause next time it could get inside
  • Reply 15 of 26
    kdarlingkdarling Posts: 1,640member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post





    Guess you haven't been paying attention because they changed the policy years ago. Basically when these suits happen. There has to be internal tripped indicators or screaming red on an external directly connected to the reported issue.


     


    According to this 2011 article, they changed it to look for pink or red, plus corrosion... and give extra consideration if the customer disputes that it ever came in contact with a liquid.


     


    Apple relaxes warranty policy.


     


    Someone should be able to find some Apple help articles on this as well.

  • Reply 16 of 26
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by KDarling View Post


     


    One big difference for a long time, was that other manufacturers put the main indicator behind the battery, where it was probably much less likely to be triggered, but was still very easy to check by popping the rear cover off.


     


    Apple, having decided on a non-removable battery, had no choice but to put indicators at the most easy to view (and trigger) ingress points (headphone jack, dock connector).


     



     


    The indicators inside a battery cover can also be set off by excessive humidity, such as in a steamy bathroom or going from a very cold to a hot place, such as cold store workers.


     


    This had been a bone of contention long before Apple came on the scene.


     


    I wonder why once again they were singled out.


     


    The sensor is inside the SIM tray slot in the iPhone 5 and triggering the external sensors only leads to voiding the warranty if the internal sensor is triggered, which requires an iPhone to be pretty well dunked in liquid.

  • Reply 17 of 26
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post





    It ccould be that the problem he was having prevented him from going back to stock.


     


    Maybe KIES doesn't let you do a DFU restore like iTunes can do with iOS devices.


     


    It's little things that expose the imitations from the real thing.

  • Reply 18 of 26
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,438member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


     


    The sensor is inside the SIM tray slot in the iPhone 5 and triggering the external sensors only leads to voiding the warranty if the internal sensor is triggered, which requires an iPhone to be pretty well dunked in liquid.



    The iPhone 5 warranty handling isn't included in the lawsuit. Did Apple have the sensors in the same sim-tray location in the iPods and iPhones that were included?

  • Reply 19 of 26
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,570member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    The iPhone 5 warranty handling isn't included in the lawsuit. Did Apple have the sensors in the same sim-tray location in the iPods and iPhones that were included?



     


    Thank you for your concern.

  • Reply 20 of 26
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    The iPhone 5 warranty handling isn't included in the lawsuit. Did Apple have the sensors in the same sim-tray location in the iPods and iPhones that were included?



     


    Triggering the external sensors in ANY of the Apple devices in the article no longer causes an immediate voiding of warranty, the internal sensor does.


     


    Apple is not the only manufacturer who uses these sensors or voids warranties.


     


    It seems strange that they were singled out.

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