Second lawsuit filed over iPhone battery replacement
Suit questions whether Apple kept battery information from early buyers to boost sales
Computerworld - A second class-action lawsuit argues that Apple Inc. and AT&T Inc. failed to tell early buyers of the iPhone that annual fees of more than $100 would be needed to replace the iPhone battery and maintain service.
Filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California by Sydney Leung on behalf of a group that could reach into hundreds of thousands of iPhone users, the suit seeks more than $5 million in compensatory and punitive damages. A court conference on the matter was set for Nov. 28.
The nine-page complaint was filed on behalf of Leung by Oakland-based attorney H. Tim Hoffman, and argues that Apple and AT&T committed fraud by not fully informing customers about the costs and procedures for replacing the battery. The complaint argues that the battery "must" be replaced after 300 charges, anticipating a replacement at one year or less by a qualified technician, since the battery sits inside a sealed compartment.
A similar class-action suit was filed by Jose Trujillo of Melrose Park, Ill., in federal court in Cook County, Ill., in July.
Leung purchased two iPhones for $599 each on June 29 in San Francisco, the first day they went on sale, and was required to agree to a two-year service plan with AT&T. Leung "was not informed at the time of purchase of the costs and procedures for replacing the battery," the suit says. The suit seeks answers to whether Apple and AT&T "should have known that the time and expense of replacing the iPhone battery would affect initial sales of the iPhone."
Apple did not respond immediately to the lawsuit, and AT&T said it would not comment.
In its defense, however, Apple has stated on its Web site that the lithium-ion battery when properly maintained will hold up to 80% of its full charge at 400 charge and discharge cycles.
Also, Apple covers replacement of the battery for a full year and also has a protection plan for $69 for two years of repair coverage for the iPhone, including the battery.
Replacing a battery out of warranty costs $79, plus $6.95 for shipping.
In early July, a consumer watchdog group, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, urged Apple to spell out its battery replacement policy for prospective buyers.
Read more about Mobile/Wireless in Computerworld's Mobile/Wireless Topic Center.
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