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Apple Refuses to Fix Smokers' Computers

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 161 comments

Reports from two Consumerist readers say smoking will void your AppleCare.

For those of you unfamiliar with AppleCare, it's basically an extended warranty service offered by Apple. You can get up to three years of service and support for your Mac as long as you're willing to pay. However, what Apple doesn't tell you is that if you're a smoker, your AppleCare might be worthless if your computer actually needs repairing.

Consumerist reader, Derek, sent in his MacBook to because it was having issues with overheating. Suspecting the fan might be the issue, Derek assumed Apple would just have to replace it but was surprised to hear that they actually couldn't fix his computer at all because he was a smoker.

… 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.

A second reader, Ruth, wrote in a few months later, reporting the same 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. … 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.

An Apple rep spoke to Ruth and told her that nicotine is on OSHA's list of hazardous substances and Apple would not require an employee to repair anything deemed hazardous to their health. A fair point, but Ruth points out that sucrose, chlorine, talc, calcium carbonate and isopropyl are also on the list.

Months later, Apple's PR department has yet to return comment as to what the official policy.

Read the full story here.

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Top Comments
  • 34 Hide
    adaman2576 , November 23, 2009 7:27 PM
    next thing you know they will be getting letters like this.

    Dear consumer,
    Sorry we are unable to fix your computer because you had cats in the house. Your computer is contaminated with cat hair and our tech guys are allergic.
    sincerly,
    mac guy
  • 34 Hide
    o0RaidR0o , November 23, 2009 7:15 PM
    Where are all the Mac fanboy's now?
  • 29 Hide
    sstym , November 23, 2009 7:16 PM
    They could go a step further: some atrociously toxic chemicals are used in the process of making semiconductors (gallium arsenide and many, many more), and are still present in motherboard elements.

    By this rationale, Apple employees should not be required to touch a computer at all.


    Or they could admit that some d-bag at Apple thought this was a safe way to display gross incompetence.

Other Comments
  • 20 Hide
    drrich2 , November 23, 2009 7:13 PM
    I'm a Mac user, prefer Macs to PCs having used both for years, plan to make my next computer a Mac, and in spite of all that...

    Denying these people their warranty coverage is wrong, blatantly so, and the rationale for doing so insultingly stupid.

    This is pathetic and Apple needs to fix it.

    Richard.
  • 34 Hide
    o0RaidR0o , November 23, 2009 7:15 PM
    Where are all the Mac fanboy's now?
  • 26 Hide
    Anonymous , November 23, 2009 7:15 PM
    I smell Class Action suit.
  • 29 Hide
    sstym , November 23, 2009 7:16 PM
    They could go a step further: some atrociously toxic chemicals are used in the process of making semiconductors (gallium arsenide and many, many more), and are still present in motherboard elements.

    By this rationale, Apple employees should not be required to touch a computer at all.


    Or they could admit that some d-bag at Apple thought this was a safe way to display gross incompetence.

  • 20 Hide
    maximiza , November 23, 2009 7:16 PM
    Allot of artist smoke, allot of artist use macs.
  • 13 Hide
    Tedders , November 23, 2009 7:18 PM
    wow
  • 14 Hide
    lubitz_420 , November 23, 2009 7:18 PM
    BS what kind of business would even consider that an excuse not to uphold their guarenteed services, almost everything in a computer is hazardous in one way or another, way to save a buck apple
  • -6 Hide
    Niva , November 23, 2009 7:19 PM
    Wow, just wow.

    I'm a smoker though I never smoke indoors it got me thinking, other than keeping an ashtray right by the air intake how can you possibly contaminate the computer to the point that someone doing internal repairs can tell you're a smoker?

    While I don't like Apple's policy it does make me question if we're just hearing one side of the story here. If someone used their computer case as an ashtray I can understand the warranty being voided...
  • 22 Hide
    dman3k , November 23, 2009 7:20 PM
    Solution:
    Boycott Apple.
  • 23 Hide
    apache_lives , November 23, 2009 7:21 PM
    When im repairing a "smokers" computer i can sure smell it, and they are always full of dust and crap, and the dust is thicker and harder to remove - it stains the cooler a brown color but other then that its the same as any other repair.
  • 21 Hide
    Anonymous , November 23, 2009 7:21 PM
    Just another ploy not to take responsibility for fixing their junk computers!
  • 15 Hide
    Anonymous , November 23, 2009 7:24 PM
    Most retarded thing I have ever heard.
  • 34 Hide
    adaman2576 , November 23, 2009 7:27 PM
    next thing you know they will be getting letters like this.

    Dear consumer,
    Sorry we are unable to fix your computer because you had cats in the house. Your computer is contaminated with cat hair and our tech guys are allergic.
    sincerly,
    mac guy
  • 21 Hide
    Pei-chen , November 23, 2009 7:29 PM
    sstymThey could go a step further: some atrociously toxic chemicals are used in the process of making semiconductors (gallium arsenide and many, many more), and are still present in motherboard elements.

    By this rationale, Apple employees should not be required to touch a computer at all.

    Or they could admit that some d-bag at Apple thought this was a safe way to display gross incompetence.

    No, by this rationale, Apple is actually selling chemical weapons.
  • 20 Hide
    Impulse Fire911 , November 23, 2009 7:35 PM
    dont you all see? its not because its dangerous its because apple cant figure out the problem so they blame it on smoke! tbh the only things they fix is itunes and case fans. dont ask them to fix circuitry that like asking a blind man to play "i spy" its just wrong
  • 18 Hide
    jellico , November 23, 2009 7:41 PM
    adaman2576next thing you know they will be getting letters like this.Dear consumer,Sorry we are unable to fix your computer because you had cats in the house. Your computer is contaminated with cat hair and our tech guys are allergic. sincerly,mac guy

    Yeah, my daughters have cats in their rooms and you should see the furr I have to clean out of their computers.

    Also, yes, I can instantly tell if I'm working on a smoker's computer by the odor. Other than that, it's really not any worse than regular dust. Disconnect all the cords; take off the panels; take out doors and go to work with some canned air. Voiding their warranty is just a cheesy effort to cut costs.

    Incidently, the WORST computer I ever worked on was in a trailer for one of the contractors at the Rio Rancho, NM INTEL plant when they were building FAB 11. As most of you know, New Mexico is a desert and Rio Rancho is out on an open mesa and has blowing sand aplenty. I opened up this computer and there was sand in the case. Not just a little sand, mind you, but when I dumped it out, I was able to fill a coffee cup! As Adam Savage from Mythbusters is fond of saying, "Well there's your problem!"

  • 17 Hide
    jojesa , November 23, 2009 7:41 PM
    That's what happens when you join a cult, promises that do not materialize.
  • 23 Hide
    falchard , November 23, 2009 7:45 PM
    Technically, if they refuse to work on it due to bio-hazardous materials. Yet in their contract fail to recognize it as a reason for voiding coverage. Then Apple is obligated to replace the entire machine if they will not repair it.
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