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Apple will pay compensation in water-damaged iPhone cases

Karen Haslam | April 16, 2013
Has Apple ever refused to repair your iPhone because it was water damaged? If you made a warranty claim and were turned down by Apple before December 2009 you may be able to claim compensation.

This is because the warranty only covers iPhone or iPod touch defects that aren't caused by: "accident, abuse, misuse, liquid spill or submersion, flood, fire, earthquake, or other external causes."

The plaintiffs who brought the class action suit were all denied service because the indicators in their devices had turned pink.

What if my iPhone never got dropped in water?

The original complaint claimed that these "External Liquid Submersion Indicators" could be "triggered by other types of moisture that should not cause damage in any event - such as a palm that becomes sweaty after a work-out, and other small amounts of moisture to which the devices would be exposed during ordinary, foreseeable use."

The lawsuit sought to highlight a issue with the the Liquid Submersion Indicator that Apple uses that might cause them to turn pink even if the device has not been submerged in water.

Crucially, since December 2009 Apple has used the phrase "Liquid Contact Indicator" to describe the tape, which before that date it described it as a "Liquid Submersion Indicator".

Even tape maker 3M agreed that humidity could have caused the tape to turn pink, according to the lawsuit.

The complaint, which dates back to 2010, also alleged claims for breach of contract (and the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing), common-law fraud, and unjust enrichment; for violations of the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, and the Unfair Competition Law.

Was Apple wrong to refuse to fix my iPhone?

You may be able to get compensation if you answer yes to the following:

- Apple refused to fix your phone or iPod touch because it claimed that it had water damage

- The device was within its one-year warranty (or longer if you had Apple Care)

- This happened before December 2009 for the iPhone and June 2010 for the iPod Touch

- The device in question is an original iPhone, the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, or a first and second generation iPod touch.

- You are in the US...

How much compensation can I get from Apple?

Apple has deposited $53 million in a settlement fund. Settlement amounts range from $160 for a 8GB iPod touch to $300 for a 16GB iPhone.

According to the settlement, Apple will publish a notice with a link to the settlement website in USA Today and in Macworld's US edition. The Macworld notice is to be no less than a quarter page, and in USA today it will be an eighth of a page.


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