Smoking voids Apple warranties

November 23, 2009 // 10:17 a.m.

Tags: #apple #apple-mac #apple-warranty #apple-warranty-void #consumerist #imac #mac #macbook #smoke #smokers-warranty-void #smoking

If you're a smoker with an Apple Mac, be prepared for a shock should your system require service - Apple won't touch it with a barge pole.

As reported over on The Consumerist, reports are circulating the web from people who have been refused warranty repairs of their Apple MacBook and iMac systems due to residue from cigarette smoke being present within the machines - something which is unavoidable if you smoke while at your computer.

Consumerist reader Derek took his two year old MacBook unit to an Apple store in West Des Moines, Iowa after experiencing problems with overheating - caused, more than likely, by smoke residue gumming up the fan and covering the heatsinks. While the repair should have been a simple case of cleaning the residue from the inside of the laptop, the Apple store refused to work on the unit - stating that as "the computer [has] been used in a house where there was smoking" work could not be carried out due to the "health risks of second hand smoke"

Another Consumerist reader, Ruth, experienced a similar story when returning a two year old iMac to a service centre only for the workers there to refuse to repair the unit due to it being "contaminated with cigarette smoke which they consider a bio-hazard."

When both cases were bounced up to the CEO's office at Apple, responses were received stating that due to nicotine being present on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's list of substances hazardous to health, Apple workers would not be expected to work with machines which were contaminated with cigarette smoke residue. However, as Ruth points out "OSHA also lists calcium carbonate (found in calcium tablets), isopropyl alcohol (used to clean wounds), chlorine (used in swimming pools), hydrogen peroxide (also used to clean wounds), sucrose (a sugar), talc (as in powder)," and other seemingly benign substances that an average worker could expect to encounter in their daily life.

Perhaps the biggest issue with the whole sorry story is that Apple's extended warranty service - Applecare - makes no mention in its terms and conditions that the presence of a smoker in the household in which the device is used will render the warranty null and void, an omission which could potentially backfire on Apple should Mac-owning smokers wish to start a class action suit against the company.

Do you think Apple is doing the right thing by refusing to repair systems gummed up with nasty cigarette residue, or should the company be honouring the terms of its warranty without inventing new conditions on the fly? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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