At this rate, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will need to issue another $100 million in bonds to cover the cash return to shareholders, because that money is now essentially being diverted. Just this month a couple of classes of Apple customers will have already gotten their hands on a piece of more than $100 million in settlements thanks to a couple of recent cases that seem to be focused on production and quality-control issues for the iPhone.
The latest cash payout to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone customers is actually a decent windfall for the members of the class, as Apple has agreed to pay about $53 million – or about $300 per customer in the class depending on the model of iPhone owned – to settle a class-action lawsuit that involved Apple reportedly voiding warranties on iPhones that had faulty liquid sensors.
These sensors would indicate water damage to an iPhone even through normal use like a humid day or being handled by sweaty hands. Customers who would take the devices in were told that the warranties were voided because of the sensors, and apparently the class was able to establish the possibility that the sensors were indeed faulty and gave inaccurate readings.
In court filings, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) reportedly denied warranties for a number of iPhones that were brought in for ordinary water damage, when the sensors indicated that the phones had been submerged or were damaged due to a spill. When the warranties were voided, users were on the hook for a replacement phone or parts to repair the phone. It was determined that some of these phones had nothing structurally wrong with them, and that the sensors indeed were faulty. Apple denied the warranty claims by stating the sensors were “reliable.”
This settlement goes on the heels of a previous functionality case involving the antenna on a model of iPhone that had a faulty cable that prevented the phone from keeping connections when the phone was held in a normal way near the antenna. In that case, all customers were sent checks of $15 each, or essentially the cost of a bumper case for their phones.
What are your thoughts about these class-action lawsuits and how they affect Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.