Apple Refuses to Fix Smokers' Computers

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.

  • drrich2
    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.

  • o0RaidR0o
    Where are all the Mac fanboy's now?
  • I smell Class Action suit.
  • sstym
    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.

  • maximiza
    Allot of artist smoke, allot of artist use macs.
  • Tedders
  • lubitz_420
    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
  • Niva
    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...
  • dman3k
    Boycott Apple.
  • apache_lives
    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.