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Apple Filed $53 Million iPhone Settlement, Possible Refunds

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By Kelly Cheung on May 29, 2013 3:59 PM

Apple Inc. has filed an iPhone settlement agreement in the a class action over its liquid damage policy for the iPhone and iTouch. This $53 million preliminary class settlement agreement could mean $200 in refunds to certain iPhone and iTouch customers who were denied warranty replacements.

Many of us may have heard about this damage policy Apple used. Probably some of us have been denied replacements under their standard warranty. iPhone and iTouch devices had an indicator tape within the headphone jack or dock connector that would turn red or pink to indicate that the product had water contact. Apple would not inspect the product, but only base their denials of the standard warranty on this indicator.

Jeffrey Fazio, the attorney representing two of the four class representatives in this iPhone settlement stated, that these liquid contact indicators "... were designed to ... alert a company that there may be a problem." He notes, "if [Apple] saw that, opened the device and inspected it and actually found a problem, we wouldn't have filed suit."

We do have to look back a few years to figure out if our iPhone or iTouch standard warranty denials are within this class action. Apple's damage policy changed around December 2009 for iPhones, and June 2010, for the iTouch. After that time, they stopped denying warranty claims solely based on the liquid contact indicator. Now they will inspect devices rather than just rely on the indicators.

As attorneys who use smartphones to live and work, this is great news. Many of us are likely to be part of this class, since most attorneys use iPhones. So be on the lookout for the final judicial approval, unless you opted out of the class.

The preliminary settlement agreement was filed in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco on Tuesday. Fazio reports to ABC News that the judicial approval should come in the next 30 days. The exact number of refund is not yet determined, but it could be about $200, according to Fazio.

Fazio states that there are about 130,000 class members that his team has contact information for and without needing to submit a claim, members will (hopefully) receive a nice little check once this settlement is finalized.

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