When you buy a new electronic device, the first question out of your mouth is usually "what's the warranty on this?" More often than not, the salesperson gives you a generic speech about a 90-day guarantee, plus a one year warranty as long as it hasn't been dropped or gotten wet, and doesn't have anything to do with wear-and tear. Basically, you're S.O.L..
However, Apple offers an extended warranty called Apple Care, which gives consumers the option to pay for coverage that will last an additional three years. It covers accidental damage and provides a new device at a MUCH lower cost if it can't be fixed.
While it seems to cover absolutely everything, some customers have been completely turned away with their warranties voided, all because of something that 35 million Americans do every day.
So what are we missing in the fine print?
According to multiple sources, being a smoker can totally void your AppleCare warranty.
One customer wrote to Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple at the time, to try and get answers, but to no avail.
"I took my mid 2007 apple Macbook (black) into the Jordan Creek Apple Store in West Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, April 25th, because I had been experiencing some issues with it overheating, and figured the fan was bad. After some initial testing, they took the computer in for work under my AppleCare plan, which has over a year remaining on it. Today, April, 28, 2008, the Apple store called and informed me that due to the computer having been used in a house where there was smoking, that has voided the warranty and they refuse to work on the machine, due to “health risks of second hand smoke”. Not only is this faulty science, attributing non smoking residue to second hand smoke, on Chad’s part, no where in your AppleCare terms of service can I find anything mentioning being used in a smoking environment as voiding the warranty."
Another customer experienced a similar problem.
"I bought an iMac for my son (for school) along with the extended AppleCare warranty. A month ago, it quit working. My son took it to the authorized Mac service center. The “tech” informed him it would be ready in 48-72 hours. Five days go by and he’s heard nothing, so I called. They informed me that his computer can’t be worked on because it’s contaminated. When I asked for an explanation, she said he’s a smoker and it’s contaminated with cigarette smoke which they consider a bio-hazard! I checked my AppleCare warranty and it says nothing about not honoring warranties if the owner is a smoker. The AppleCare representative said they defer to the technician and my son’s computer cannot be fixed at any Apple Service Center due to being listed a bio-hazard. This computer cost approx. $3,000, with the extended warranty. I’m all for destroying cigarettes and putting big tobacco out of business (yes, I’m a reformed smoker), but to label a computer a bio-hazard because one is a smoker is going a bit too far in regulating who can have the warranty they purchased honored. Shouldn’t there be some disclaimer stating that they won’t honor warranties from smokers?"
Apple has turned away customers who have extended warranties due to their smoking habits, claiming it's too dangerous for their technicians to be subjected to any potential residue inside the device. With 1 in 7 Americans smoking cigarettes, this could mean a lot of warranties getting voided without the consumer's knowledge.
So how can they get away with this?
While some consumers say this was never brought up, another pointed out a very tricky clause in the terms and conditions.
"Note the "other external causes"," the user said. "It appears that the damage is not covered if it is determined to have been caused by smoke (which would be an external cause). It probably wouldn't matter if it was cigarette or BBQ grill smoke... Personally, I would not subject any electronic equipment to smoke."
Almost 54,000 people die every year from second-hand smoke exposure. It's possible that Apple is just trying to keep their employees safe and not risk their health. If every computer that came in was subjected to smoke damage, it could do some serious damage to a person's health.
Do you think Apple has a right to void a person's warranty if they're a smoker?
Let us know!