Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have any legal concerns we suggest you consult a solicitor.

Apple refusing to honour warranty due to smoke contamination

(44 Posts)
JazzyCardi Thu 20-Mar-14 17:51:52

I took my iMac to an Apple Store 3 weeks ago for a repair. Part of the repair was under warranty and I had to pay for the remaining part after the work had been completed.

Today I have been told by the store manager that they are not going to honour the warranty due to 'nicotine' covering every component of the machine.

This computer has been kept in my bedroom since we bought it and nobody has ever smoked near it. I do smoke in the kitchen and living room after DS has gone to bed so it is likely that smoke has seeped into my bedroom and, presumably, caused damage to the machine.

I am absolutely gutted. I've only really used this computer as a media player. The apple representative I spoke to won't budge. He claims he would be risking his employees health by letting them work on the machine and that it is against company policy to give me the parts to have repaired elsewhere.

Do I have a leg to stand on here, or should I just collect the machine and stick it in the bin?

Quangle Thu 20-Mar-14 17:57:23

this sounds like utter baloney to me. Has he done atomic analysis on the components inside to discover what, if anything, is covering them?

And how does smoke in another room stop a computer from working anyway?

All products should be fit for normal use and being used in a house where some people smoke is not abnormal.

I'm not sure what you do though. Trading standards? Sue them through the small claims court?

hercules1 Thu 20-Mar-14 18:03:32

Does it smell strongly of smoke? As a teacher it used to make me feel physically queasy when I had to mark a set of 30 exercise books as so many of their parents obviously smoked.

JazzyCardi Thu 20-Mar-14 18:08:39

I was on the phone arguing for over an hour Quangle. He would not concede that he didn't know it was nicotine and changed his terminology to a 'tarry substance' hmm when I asked him if he had had the machine scientifically tested - I probably sounded like a dick but I didn't know the right terminology to challenge him with.

I asked him to compromise; I will accept that the machine has possibly been damaged by cigarette smoke if he will agree to give me the part that is under warranty so I can have it repaired elsewhere.

This is against company policy.

Can anyone help me with a strategy to convince them that they are being unfair. The part that's under warranty is a well known fault amongst iMacs that were built when mine was.

I will go to Trading Standards if I don't get anywhere with the store.

JazzyCardi Thu 20-Mar-14 18:09:38

Not that I've noticed hercules. I'm a smoker though so maybe it does really stink confused

NurseyWursey Thu 20-Mar-14 18:15:12

Absolute crap. No way would smoke seeping through the rooms enter your computer room, and get into the mac to damage it confused

I would speak to someone else because how on earth can he say it is nicotine damage if he hasn't tested it?

I wouldn't have even admitted to anyone smoking in your house either.

Apparently this isn't a new problem, had a quick google you might be interested to read.

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/AppleCare-Apple-Smoke-Damage-Macbook,9137.html

http://consumerist.com/2009/11/20/smoking-near-apple-computers-creates-biohazard-voids-warranty/

I would say that there is nothing in their terms and conditions to state that this is a problem, and do not accept responsibility for the nicotine either I would ask to see it myself.

NurseyWursey Thu 20-Mar-14 18:15:22
handcream Thu 20-Mar-14 18:19:02

Sorry, you have admitted you smoke. How would he know that? If I had taken my Apple back and been accused of smoke damange it would have been nonsense because I dont smoke but you do.

JazzyCardi Thu 20-Mar-14 18:20:54

Thanks Nursey. I'll just type this and I'll have a look at your links.

I didn't admit to Apple about anyone smoking in the home. I kept on repeating that nobody had smoked around the machine. I asked for the compromise on a hypothetical basis because I think I could probably do the repairs myself if I had the parts.

I don't know if there was anything in the t&c when I bought the machine about having to be a non-smoking household. I can't find any paperwork.

JazzyCardi Thu 20-Mar-14 18:25:39

True handcreme. I did deny that anybody had ever smoked around the machine and didn't volunteer any info on whether anybody ever smokes in the house, but, yes I accept that they have obviously found some evidence of smoke damage.

I'm still not sure that gives them the right to invalidate a warranty though.

JazzyCardi Thu 20-Mar-14 18:53:13

Seems like lots of people have found themselves in my predicament Nursey.

I will phone Apple Care tomorrow and see if they can help but I really think I'll just have to let it go. If people took it as far as Steve Jobs and got nowhere then there's not much point in me pushing this.

Off to google 'hackintosh'

Quangle Thu 20-Mar-14 18:57:40

yes it probably would have been better to claim you didn't smoke just to avoid entering into their bs but actually they can't sell a computer which is not suitable for use by smokers. That would not be a valid legal clause in the contract. It must be suitable for purpose and being used in an ordinary house where someone smokes is clearly not an unusual purpose.

I'm a non smoker but I'm really, really angry for you.

NurseyWursey Thu 20-Mar-14 19:04:56

Indeed, I think Apple need to come clean and forthright about this because it seems a lot of people want an answer!

JazzyCardi Thu 20-Mar-14 19:08:40

Thanks Quangle.

I have cried so much today after that phone call. Having to tell DP and DS that it's my fault (they don't smoke so it's just me) and it can't be repaired has been awful.

I'm going to just leave it now because I can't see me getting anywhere, but thank you thanks

bumbumsmummy Thu 20-Mar-14 19:09:16

If he's not going to repair it then he is obliged to give you the machine back complete and unrepaired because it belongs to you

Tell him if he doesn't then you want it in writing on Apple headed note paper and you will be going to trading standards

JazzyCardi Thu 20-Mar-14 19:09:33

and you Nursey thanks

JazzyCardi Thu 20-Mar-14 19:12:11

He has agreed not to 'scrap it' bumbums. I said I will be in touch before the end of the month and I fully intend to collect the machine and take the bastard thing apart and clean it and learn how to repair it.

I would do my nut if they disposed of it.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Thu 20-Mar-14 19:17:44

So Apple are stating you can't smoke near your pc or you invalidate your warranty? Can't be right confused

NurseyWursey Thu 20-Mar-14 19:18:06

Oh well how nice of him to agree to not chuck your property away hmm

Crap customer service.

I hope you manage to get it back and fix it, hopefully there'll be someone out there willing to do it for you. Mac repair shop perhaps? thanks

Rockchick1984 Thu 20-Mar-14 19:18:18

My MIL knackered her PC (not Apple) due to nicotine clogging up the fan and filters or something, however she would sit chain smoking at it for 3+ hours each day, and it took 2 years before it packed up. So yes, it's possible, but it seems a huge stretch that it would have happened so quickly without you even being in the same room!

specialsubject Thu 20-Mar-14 19:54:49

it will smell of smoke (as will your whole house, I'm afraid) but the greasy film takes a long time to build up and is unlikely to have damaged it.

it will be rather unpleasant to work on, but I don't believe it is a health risk to the staff.

so call trading standards and take no prisoners.

JazzyCardi Thu 20-Mar-14 20:03:00

Sabrina from my conversation today I feel confident enough to say that if the Apple Team find any evidence that you have smoked near your machine they will consider it a risk to H&S to work on it, thus invalidating your warranty.

The links nursey posted confirm it too.

RockChick it hasn't been subjected to anything like that.

IMO, and I know it means sod all, iMacs have a design flaw. They get too hot and suck in all the air around them. I would never buy another one.

I'm typing here on a 5 year old MacBook (the old white style) and I've smoked whilst using it loads of times, I've even dropped it, and once a toddler stood on it. It still works absolutely fine.

JazzyCardi Thu 20-Mar-14 20:03:44

Thanks special. I cross posted with you.

tiredandsadmum Thu 20-Mar-14 20:24:55

I don't smoke either but this sounds ridiculous. I would ask to see the specific section in the warranty that is voided here. Had you paid for the computer before being made aware of the warranty terms and conditions? If so I would have thought that this then becomes unfair conditions on a contract or something like that. Definitely trading standards.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Thu 20-Mar-14 20:26:38

Good grief - that's ridiculous! I mean I don't actually smoke, but that's ridiculous. I never heard such a thing.

I had one of those lovely white macbooks - it was pretty robust - but dh got me an Air for xmas - it's lovely, but I'm terrified of breaking it, spilling something on it...

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now