Apple has reached a settlement in a class action lawsuit involving its MagSafe power adapters for MacBook and MacBook Pro. The terms of the settlement include Apple offering partial refunds to customers who were forced to replace their MagSafe connectors due to “Strain Relief Damage” during the first, second, or third year of owning their MacBook or MacBook Pro.
The company will refund up to $79 for customers who replaced their adapter in the first year of ownership, up to $50 for the second year, or up to $35 for the third.
The suit was over the “T” connectors used on the original MagSafe adapter, which uses magnetism to secure the connector in place. It was a major innovation intended to reduce damage to Apple’s laptops when the cord gets violently wrenched from the device (say from a kick or a fall). Because the seal is magnetic, and not mechanical, the cords would simply detach when under undue force.
The problem is that the cord itself was subject to stress near the point of the connector, as shown in the image below.
Example of a “T” style MPM MagSafe Adapter which exhibits a strain relief issue
Apple replaced the above “T” connector with an “L” connectors, as seen in the image below because of the problems that sparked the class action lawsuit.
“L” style MagSafe connector
Apple has posted a document titled Apple Portables: Troubleshooting MagSafe adapters to help you figure out what’s what, and the company has another document titled, About Apple’s Adapter Replacement Program for the company’s ongoing replacement program, which remains in pace.
The company has also sent out notifications to customers affected by the class action settlement. There’s also a site dedicated to the settlement with more information. Customers have until March 21st, 2012, or three years from the purchase of their affected MacBook or MacBook Pro, whichever is later, to file for a cash payment. The site also has a claim form request page.