Second lawsuit filed over iPhone battery replacement

Editor’s Note: This story is reprinted from Computerworld. For more Mac coverage, visit Computerworld’s Macintosh Knowledge Center.

A second class-action lawsuit argues that Apple and AT&T 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 percent 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 Taxpayers and Consumer Rights, urged Apple to spell out its battery replacement policy for prospective buyers.

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