Apple to pay $53 million to settle class-action suit over iPhone and iPod touch warranties

Apple had claimed that the warranties were void under a Liquid Damage Policy

Apple has agreed to pay US$53 million to settle a class-action suit in connection with warranties for its iPhone and iPod touch devices.

The proceeds of the cash settlement will be paid to over 153,000 owners of the devices who were denied warranty coverage while Apple's "liquid damage policy" was still in force, according to a joint filing Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Under the earlier warranty policy, Apple had installed a Liquid Submersion Indicator (LSI), made from a water contact indicator tape manufactured by 3M, on the devices. Color changes in the indicator from white to pink or red could be viewed externally.

Apple changed its Liquid Damage Policy as it pertained to the iPhone in or around November 2009, while for the iPod touch it continued till May 2010.

The company held that a red or pink external LSI was sufficient proof that the device had been damaged by liquid, hence making the warranty void in line with provisions that excluded coverage, for example, for "liquid spill or submersion" or "abuse."

The plaintiffs contended that the change of color on the LSIs merely indicated that device may have been exposed to liquid, but did not establish that it was damaged by exposure to liquid or that the exposure caused the specific malfunction in the device the customer was seeking to repair or replace under warranty.

3M's testing and product instructions also stated that pink was merely an indication of humidity, and did not indicate contact with the liquid, according to the plaintiffs. Apple contested 3M's results stating that the tests were conducted on indicator tape open to the elements, and not contained inside a device, and at unrealistic extremes of temperature and humidity.

The settlement still requires the approval of the court. Customers whose warranty claims for iPhones were denied before Dec. 31, 2009 because of the liquid damage policy, and claims for iPod touch that were denied before June 30, 2010 are eligible for settlement funds. Up to 30 percent of the proceeds may be awarded as attorneys' fees and reimbursement of litigation expenses.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags smartphonesApplelegalconsumer electronicsCivil lawsuitsMedia players / recorders

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?