13-year-old sues Apple over conked out iPhone

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13-year-old sues Apple over conked out iPhone

The first civil lawsuit against Apple Korea was filed this week by a 13-year-old middle school student who is seeking 290,400 won ($260) in compensation after one of the company’s repair shops denied her request to get her iPhone fixed under warranty.

Apple Korea rejected the repairs because the repair shop found evidence of water damage to the phone.

The student said her phone had never seen a drop of water. According to the Seoul Central District Court yesterday, the plaintiff surnamed Lee purchased an iPhone 3GS last February, but it died Oct. 4 and was only capable of making emergency calls.

When Lee brought the phone to a customer service center, the center said the warranty didn’t allow repairs to phones with water damage.

According to the customer service center, both of the phone’s water-damage indicators, one of which is located in the headphone jack and the other in the charger port, had turned red, a sign of water damage.

Apple said its warranty doesn’t apply “to damage caused by liquid spills or submersion” if both indicators have been triggered.

Lee said in her lawsuit: “I have neither dropped the phone in water nor exposed it to moisture. The exact cause of the breakdown can be discovered by disassembling and checking the motherboard. It’s unfair to decide that it’s been immersed in water based on the color of the indicators.”

Lee said in her suit that Apple should have informed customers of the phone’s vulnerability to moisture and that there was no mechanism to protect the phone and water sensor - located in the charger port - from humidity or water.

“It is an imperfect product without a cover for the charger port,” Lee said in her suit.

Apple introduced the iPhone 3GS in Korea last November and has sold about 900,000 units so far. But iPhone users have complained that Apple’s customer service centers replace faulty phones with “refurbished” ones.

By Koo Hui-lyung [enational@joongang.co.kr]
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