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Apple voids warranties over cigarette smoke, users say

No repairs for 'biohazard' Macs

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A Mac user claims that Apple voided her warranty and refused to repair her machine because it was "contaminated" with cigarette smoke.

The claim mirrors a similar report from last year, when another user complained that the Jobsian cult wouldn't service a system due to the "health risks of secondhand smoke."

Both complaints arrive by way of The Consumerist, a site obsessed with consumer empowerment. According to the site, the claims come from separate parts of the country and were reported more than a year apart.

In each case, the site says, an Apple service center agreed to repair a machine before telling the owner repairs were not possible because the system contained some sort of smoke residue. "They informed me that his computer can't be worked on because it's contaminated," wrote one woman in a complaint about Apple's treatment of the iMac her son used.

"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. The Applecare representative said they defer to the technician and my son's computer cannot be fixed at any Apple Service Center due to being listed a bio-hazard."

Indeed, the warranty does not include mention of either secondhand smoke or biohazards. It does say that the plan does not cover "damage to the covered equipment caused by...extreme environment," but both Consumerist claims indicate systems failures weren't necessarily related to smoke residue. One user even says that smoke residue was falsely identified.

Both users appealed directly to the office of Steve Jobs. According to one, the office confirmed that the cult would not repair machines showing signs of smoke residue. "[A person from Jobs' office] did advise me that nicotine is on OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration]'s list of hazardous substances and Apple would not require an employee to repair anything deemed hazardous to their health," the user said.

Apparently, the Jobsian office worker contacted the Apple Store in question to see about a possible repair - before calling back to say it was out of the question. "[The worker] called me earlier this week to deliver the 'bad news.' She said that the computer is beyond economical repair due to tar from cigarette smoke! She said the hard drive is about to fail, the optical drive has failed and it isn't feasible to repair the computer under the warranty.

"This computer is less than 2 years old! Only one person in my household smokes - one 21 year old college student. She said that I can get it repaired elsewhere at my expense. I asked why my warranty didn't cover the repair and was told it's an OSHA violation." ®

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