Users who purchased an iPhone before 2010 and were refused service under their device’s warranty because Apple believed the device to be damaged by liquid, have until October to apply for their portion of a $53 million settlement.
Of that $53 million, users could see an average payout ranging from $215 for a 4GB original iPhone to $215 for any iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS device. iPod touch owners could receive as much as $215 for a third-generation iPod Touch with 64GB of on-board storage. The settlement doesn’t extend past the first three generations of either product line, meaning users who have an iPhone 4, iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 are not eligible for the settlement. The same goes for users who have anything past the third-generation iPod touch.
According to documents released by the settlement’s administrator, users who live in the United States and were denied repairs on an iPhone on or before December 31st, 2009 or an iPod touch on or before June 30th 2010, can apply for a cash payment from the settlement fund. The ability to qualify hinges on if that device was denied coverage while under a one-year warranty or AppleCare because of water damage.
Users who aren’t identified in the class action fund as Direct-Payment Class Members will need to submit forms at AppleWarrantySettlement.com no later than October 21, 2013 if they are mailing it in. Users do not have to still own the iPhone or iPod touch in question.
The settlement stems from a case brought against Apple in the state of California. According to lawyers in the case, a liquid sensor built into the iPhone caused Apple to unfairly reject thousands of iPhones & iPod touches for warranty repairs on the basis that the devices had come in contact with liquid. At the time, AppleCare, nor each device’s standard one-year warranty, covered devices that came in contact with liquid of any kind. This lead to Apple refusing to fix devices that should have qualified for a warranty repair.
Although Apple was well within their Terms & Services to not cover water-damaged devices, many devices were refused service on the basis of water damage that had not been submerged underwater. Reportedly, the water sensors inside these devices may have actually been trigged by the moisture inside of a room, or something as trivial as sweat.
While Apple has moved to extend its additional coverage to cover liquid damaged devices, other manufacturers have moved in the opposite direction and are building smartphones that are heavily water-resistant. Both the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active and Sony Xperia Z resist water damage for at least thirty-minutes, negating the need for expensive add-on services and cases.
Users who buy AppleCare for their devices today are covered if their device should come in contact with water.