Apple to pay $53 million following iPhone ‘water damage’ claimsiPhone 'water damage' owners to get cash payout

16 April 2013


Thousands of former iPhone and iPod Touch owners could be in line for a cash payout if Apple refused to repair their device due to claimed water damage.  Apple has agreed to settle a class action suit in the US worth $53 million (£35 million) where it was accused of not honouring warranties because of "phantom" water damage. 

It could mean UK consumers are also in line for water damage compensation; although Apple declined to comment on the case and how it could affect UK consumers. 

How did the ‘water damage’ occur?

The settlement centres around a small strip of moisture-sensing tape used in the iPhone 3G, 3GS and iPod Touch. This paper tape was attached near the headphone jack of the devices and used by Apple technicians to determine whether a device had been affected by moisture. The strip has now been shown to offer false results when subject to humidity. Customers who were previously told that they weren't in line for a repair to their device because their warranty was void due to water damage may now be entitled to compensation. 

Apple has admitted no wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

How much will individuals receive as part of the settlement?

Although it’s not yet clear how this case affects UK consumers, payouts are expected to total around $200 (£135) each in the US. This figure could change depending on the number of claims submitted.

Eligible claimants whose names and addresses are on file will be notified of the opportunity to receive part of the settlement. Apple will also place advertisements about the case in USA Today and Mac World.

What if my iPhone has been affected by water damage?

If your iPhone has been affected by water damage or any other fault, our Which? Consumer Rights website has plenty of advice to help get a repair.

“You have the right to a refund if a product develops a fault within your first six months of ownership,” explains Amanda Diamond, Deputy Editor of Which? Consumer Rights.

"After that you have the right to a free repair or replacement but the onus is on the consumer to prove that the item was faulty.

“If you encounter a retailer that refuses to refund, repair or replace a faulty item, you should complain in writing to the store manager. To get a result you’ll need to be prepared to be persistent.”

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