Apple Offers to Settle iPod Battery Lawsuit With Vouchers, Extended Warranties

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Apple Computer has offered a settlement of US$50 vouchers and extended service warranties in a class action lawsuit filed in the fall of 2003 amid charges that the company misrepresented the rechargeable battery used in its iPod, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

The tentative settlement, which was approved last month, will go to another hearing for final approval on Aug. 25.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs told the AP that up to two million consumers who bought first-, second- and third-generation iPods through May 2004 could be eligible for inclusion in the class action. Apple has created a Web site with additional details, including a claim form and answers to frequently asked questions from those with older iPods wanting a battery replacement.

Initially reported by The Mac Observer in February 2004, the class action suit was originally five separate lawsuits that were consolidated in a California court, according to the quarterly report filed by Apple with the Securities and Exchange Commission at the time. That May, Appleis next quarterly report revealed that two more iPod battery lawsuits had been filed and added to the class action.

The $50 vouchers will be good toward any Apple products or services at the companyis online or brick-and-mortar retail stores, except iTunes downloads or gift certificates, the AP reported. The settlement will also extend the iPodis one-year warranty to two years. A Web site has been set up to assist consumers who have questions or need a claim form.

The lawsuit cited Appleis claims that the battery would last for the lifetime of the device and would play music for up to 10 hours straight.

iPod usersi complaints about the MP3 playeris battery life started to gain momentum with the 3rd generation of the units introduced in 2003. The issue gained some notoriety when Casey Neistat and his brother began a guerilla marketing campaign saying "iPodis unreplaceable battery lasts only 18 months." The brothers then filmed their efforts and released a video at iPodsDirtySecret.com that quickly swept the Internet. Whether or not it was related to this campaign, shortly thereafter Apple began offering a battery replacement service for $99.

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