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Hot off the Press - News
by Keith Benicek, Editor

iPod Battery Class Action suit against Apple
December 23, 2003

Just when Apple thought they had put the clamor around irreplaceable and prematurely failing batteries in the iPod quietly to bed, a well-known San Francisco, California law firm has begun a user inquiry. The firm is Girard Gibbs & De Bartolomeo LLP and they are promenant in such class-actions against: Priceline.com for charging unordered tickets, Best Buy and Microsoft unknowingly subscribing customers to MSN Internet service and Hyundai and Kia for overstating horsepower ratings.

While many early adopter and users of the iPod, first unveiled in October of 2001, have been quite aware of the irreplaceable and short lived “battery problem” with the iPod, it took the underground video documentary "iPod's Dirty Secret" I first reported on November 25th 2003 (Apple “iPods Dirty Little Secret”) to get the attention of the media and Apple. The Neistat Brothers' video commentary was their way of stirring the MP3 player hungry consumers of New York City about the Apple suppressed shortcoming of the popular iPod with own recent experience.

In the now infamous video I reported on, the Neistat Brothers spray paint stenciled Manhattan area iPod posters with a message that read "iPod’s unreplaceable battery lasts only 18 months." The Neistats were told in a recorded call to an Apple Customer Care representative tells them short to toss the old iPod and buy a new one, “$255 plus some mailing fees . . . . but at that price, might as well get a new one.” New iPods run from $299 to $499, depending on it hard drive capacity.

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With the Christmas Holiday season coming on, Apple did not want the bad news of iPods essentially permanent tiny lithium-ion polymer battery having an unexpectedly short life span, much shorter than other computer devices using the same technology. Some batteries reportedly fade in as little as eight to ten months.

In a more PR than anything move, Apple quickly initiated a battery replacement program that provides for out-of-warranty iPod owners to have batteries replaced for about $100. plus shipping and handling costs.

However, complaints have come to the attention of the law firm of Girard Gibbs & De Bartolomeo LLP and they have solicited additional iPod owner complaints on a new web page on their practices Internet home page. Entitled Investigation of Apple's iPod, the page specified that the firm was “investigating a potential class action against Apple Computer, Inc, on behalf of iPod owners whose batteries have died or lost their ability to hold their charge."

Interestingly, after the soliciting page was up for some time, it has suddenly been removed and attempts to inquire about its removal have not been returned at this time.

Copyright reserved 12/23/2003 Keith Benicek / Tech-edge E-zine



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