SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Apple uses a defective "Liquid Submersion Indicator" to refuse to honor its warranty for broken iPhones, frustrated customers say in a federal class action. The class claims Apple uses the faulty indicator to blame the customer, even when their phone has been nowhere near water.
Lead plaintiff Charlene Gallion says her iPhone inexplicably stopped working properly 6 months after she bought it. An Apple store employee said she was not entitled to a new iPhone because the warranty had been voided when the phone was submerged in water.
Gallion said her iPhone had never been wet, but the employee insisted that it must have. The liquid submersion indicator had turned pink, which "could only be triggered by exposure to a significant amount of liquid, such as being dropped into a toilet or a glass of water," according to the complaint.
But Gallion says the external indicators can be set off by other types of moisture, "such as a palm that becomes sweaty after a workout."
With no way to refute the employee's assertion, Gallion says she had to accept Apple's offer to sell her a "discounted" replacement phone.
But she says the replacement iPhone also stopped working after 6 months, and once again Apple said that the warranty was void because the indicator showed that the phone had been damaged by water.
The class claims that Apple does not attempt to verity whether phones really were damaged by water, but relies on the liquid submersion indicators. It adds that Apple does not allow customers to be present during the alleged "inspection" of their phones.
The class demands an order requiring Apple to extend the warranties, restitution and damages for breach of warranty, fraud, unfair business practices and unjust enrichment. They are represented by Jeffrey Fazio with Fazio Micheletti of San Ramon.
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