Apple To Pay $53 Million To Settle iPhone Warranty Lawsuit
According to a leaked PDF acquired by Wired, Apple has agreed to pay a $53 million class action settlement for its failure to honor warranties for iPhones and iPod Touch devices which were seemingly damaged by water. The issue is that the strips inside those iOS devices (called “Liquid Contact Indicators”, or simply “LCIs”), which were made by 3M, could be triggered even if there wasn’t necessarily actual water damage. Humidity, for example, could give a false positive on the LCIs, which were located in the headphone jacks and dock connectors.
The settlement, which should be filed in San Francisco federal court in the next couple of weeks, provides cash payouts to possibly hundreds of thousands of iPhone and iPod Touch customers that say Apple did not honor either their one-year standard or two-year extended warranty.
According to several lawsuits combined in San Francisco, no matter what the problem, Apple refused to honor warranties if a white indicator tape embedded in the phone near the headphone or charging portals had turned pink or red. However, the tape’s maker, 3M, said humidity, and not water contact, could have caused the color to at least turn pink.
In November 2010 Apple adjusted their damage assessment procedures so that repair staff had to inspect devices even if a device’s indicator tape was “triggered” and changed color. Prior to that change, Apple would rely on the indicator tape when determining a liquid damage event, which would not be covered by Apple’s warranty.
The devices encompassed in the lawsuit include the original iPhone, the iPhone 3G, the iPhone 3GS, and the first three generations of the iPod Touch. The ballpark estimate for payouts is about $200 per claim, but that figure could either rise or decline depending on how many affected users actually submit a claim. The type of device affected will also influence the extent of individual payouts.
Apple also agreed to set up a website where users can learn about the case and access all documents needed to either submit a claim via the web or by printing out a mailable form.