Apple Agrees to $53M Settlement over Water Damage Claims

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When I researched what to do if your cellphone gets wet, I learned that Apple puts a moisture-sensitive tape inside devices’ headphone jacks.

When exposed to water, part of the tape turns pink. It’s a quick way for Apple techs to assess whether an iPhone or iPod has been water-damaged or has some other issue. The product warranty explicitly states that damage from “liquid contact” is not covered.

Consumers have complained that other things can trigger the pink dot of doom, including natural humidity and sweaty hands. But if there’s pink on the tape, Apple says it’s not the company’s problem.

Until now. The company has agreed to a $53 million class-action settlement for customers who could not get Apple to honor their warranty, Wired says. Once the settlement is approved by a judge, “potentially hundreds of thousands” of people will be eligible for some cash, possibly a few hundred dollars per person. Apple doesn’t admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

The settlement won’t apply to some of the newest devices: only iPhone 3G and 3GS, and the iPod Touch. While the details aren’t finalized, affected consumers whose addresses Apple has on file will get mailed a notice of eligibility. There will also be notices published in USA Today and MacWorld.

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