Apple: Smoking “Biohazard,” Voids Mac Warranties


Apple has come under fire for refusing to honour its “Applecare” warranty due to cigarette smoke residue being a considered “biohazard,” and hence unsafe to work with.

Critics point out that this is far from standard industry practice, and is mentioned nowhere in the warranty…

Several US Mac users report problems getting their faulty Macs serviced as a result of the policy:

I took my mid 2007 apple macbook (black) into the Jordan Creek Apple Store in West Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, April 25th, because I had been experiencing some issues with it overheating, and figured the fan was bad. After some initial testing, they took the computer in for work under my Applecare plan, which has over a year remaining on it.

Today, April, 28, 2008, the Apple store called and informed me that due to the computer having been used in a house where there was smoking, that has voided the warranty and they refuse to work on the machine, due to “health risks of second hand smoke”.

Not only is this faulty science, attributing non smoking residue to second hand smoke, on Chad’s part, no where in your applecare terms of service can I find anything mentioning being used in a smoking environment as voiding the warranty.

This unfortunate had to clean his own Mac.

Another Mac owner reported identical problems with her warranty:

I bought an iMac for my son (for school) along with the extended Applecare warranty. A month ago, it quit working. My son took it to the authorized Mac service center. The “tech” informed him it would be ready in 48-72 hours. Five days go by and he’s heard nothing, so I called. They informed me that his computer can’t be worked on because it’s contaminated.

When I asked for an explanation, she said he’s a smoker and it’s contaminated with cigarette smoke which they consider a bio-hazard! I checked my Applecare warranty and it says nothing about not honoring warranties if the owner is a smoker.

The Applecare representative said they defer to the technician and my son’s computer cannot be fixed at any Apple Service Center due to being listed a bio-hazard.

This computer cost approx. $3,000, with the extended warranty. I’m all for destroying cigarettes and putting big tobacco out of business (yes, I’m a reformed smoker), but to label a computer a biohazard because one is a smoker is going a bit too far in regulating who can have the warranty they purchased honored.

Shouldn’t there be some disclaimer stating that they won’t honor warranties from smokers?

She attempted to bring her case to the notice of the mighty Steve Jobs, and describes her dealings with his lackeys:

Dena [from Jobs’ office] did advise me that nicotine is on OSHA’s list of hazardous substances and Apple would not require an employee to repair anything deemed hazardous to their health.

However, OSHA also lists calcium carbonate (found in calcium tablets), isopropyl alcohol (used to clean wounds), chlorine (used in swimming pools), hydrogen peroxide (also used to clean wounds), sucrose (a sugar), talc (as in powder), etc… as hazardous substances.

Dena set up an appointment at the same Apple store. They told me that they would take pictures of the computer – both inside and out before determining whether to proceed and that if the only problem was the optical drive, they’d probably just replace it.

Dena called me earlier this week to deliver the “bad news.” She said that the computer is beyond economical repair due to tar from cigarette smoke! She said the hard drive is about to fail, the optical drive has failed and it isn’t feasible to repair the computer under the warranty. This computer is less than 2 years old!

Only one person in my household smokes – one 21 year old college student. She said that I can get it repaired elsewhere at my expense. I asked why my warranty didn’t cover the repair and was told it’s an OSHA violation.

Apple has not commented on its refusal to service these “contaminated” Macs.

Another class action suit may be in the offing, although in this case it is hard to see it failing…

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    Comment by Anonymous
    12:19 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    People is still falling for the mac trap,really?

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:36 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    What anime or artist is the image from?!

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:49 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    cigarette residue is nasty shit inside a computer. it gums up and forms into slop with the dust and it becomes a sticky, stinky tar that smells like ass. This will happen in a household with 1 smoker that smokes as little as half a pack a day.

    I've worked in computer stores, I've seen it. The stuff apple is complaining about does happen.

    Though, I do believe that's a form of discrimination. It's part of the warranty that the company offers, suck it up apple fags. Get your hands dirty for once in your life.

    Avatar of Reichi
    Comment by Reichi
    11:31 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I didn't know that residue from cigarette smoke was considered second hand smoke. :/
    That's the most retarded science I've ever heard.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:20 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    If those residues are somehow airborne, they could easily be inhaled into the lungs and they will stay there for a long time releasing harmful chemicals. It could just be as harmful as second hand smoke.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:24 24/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I think a ventilation system in an office that isn't cleaned spotless daily is more hazardous than 'second-hand smoke' in this form.

    Avatar of Member548
    Comment by Member548
    11:57 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Amusing. So many people miss the point. The main problem here is the ridiculous over regulation in the name of "safety" by OSHA and our ever expanding nanny government that will eventually erode, or remove all the things you enjoy in the name of "safety" or simply because it may offend some person.

    All the idiots want so badly to be protected from their own stupidity and all the power hungry ogres are more then happy to cease their freedoms and consolidate their control over all aspects of the citizens lives.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:00 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    why not just wear a haz mar suit?

    13:17 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    At most all you'd need would be a dust mask and nothing more.
    I guess a dust mask would cramp their style.

    Avatar of BlaqCat
    Comment by BlaqCat
    13:36 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Wow...most graphic artists I know of use Macs (if they can afford them), and quite a percentage of artists smoke. Hm...I guess they won't be using Macs for much longer?

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:09 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    This is why you don't smoke near your computers.

    Also why you don't spend $3000 for a fucking mac. I mean seriously? $3000?

    13:14 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I would have called the drone a candy ass and say fix it or you can talk to my lawyer and I'll take my business elsewhere next time I buy a new machine.
    BTW that is total junk science the amount of dangerous substances in a computer from second hand smoke would be negligible esp compared to the toxic stuff that's already in the plastic and solder from the factory.
    I believe I have purchased my last apple product.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:29 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Colecovision wins!

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:06 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    thassa nice pic.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:07 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    sounds like a fucking excuse from lazy techs at apple. i bet they loose more money avoiding these repairs then they would paying a tech to fix it... that's why i'm a pc owner. that and top of the line games and video cards.

    Avatar of TellTime
    Comment by TellTime
    10:09 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    This is how Apple will bring the world of cigarette addicts to a halt.

    "Smoking isn't just bad for the people, it's also bad for Macs!"

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:24 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Magfags are embarrassments to humanity but so are cancerstickfags. Should found a nice way to get rid both of them...

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:00 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Hopefully both groups sue themselves to bankruptcy, then starve to death. Problem solved.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:33 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    so? apple-tan didn't smoke?

    Avatar of motaku96
    Comment by motaku96
    10:31 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Lol. Mac's suck. This'll give me more to bash mac's with.

    But more seriously, the technicians should be able to fix it even w/ the smoking residue w/o putting themselves in any harm. If they're that concerned they could just wear some protective gear like a mask and gloves. They're clearly just trying to save money.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:14 24/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I claim bullshit, my PC desktop optical drives were still working perfectly after being 'contaminated' for years by my heavy smoker self and my harddrives actually never broke or crashed.
    I also used to think apple laptop hardware was more durable than most consumer brands.
    They're still pretty retarded though, just because they're refusing to work on something due to these so-called health risks doesn't mean the warranty is voided.
    Why do these enterprises choose to work by OSHA conduct anyway? It's pretty clear you can't even breathe at work without wearing an anti-radiation suit.

    Avatar of Min
    Comment by Min
    04:11 24/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    As somebody who has done computer maintenance for a living in the past, I say: Good for Apple!

    Computers used by heavy smokers are among the nastiest things I have ever seen. The insides of them are covered with tar and nicotine stains. They smell bad enough to make you vomit and are nearly impossible to clean. I think it's entirely reasonable to not cover computers that have been damaged by cigarette smoke. It's not normal wear and tear, it's a choice that smokers make that damages their equipment.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:45 24/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Smoking is bad for computers, period! I've seen computers complete clogged from smoke tar, I've even seen some that has mold building on it. As far I am considered, that is the same as liquid damage, in other words, not covered. yes, it is GROSS!

    Avatar of spectre257
    Comment by spectre257
    07:45 24/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    My god I've delt with PCs and other peripherals that have come from a smoker's house.
    They're clogged full of crap and gunk that ruin the insides so I'm not really surprised that Apple rejected the claims.
    Electronic equipment isn't designed to be put in such an environment unless it's specified such as milspec or industrial equipment.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:10 26/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    smoke cigs? GET A WINDOWS!

    ... then install ubuntu.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:38 26/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    It's a cop-out.

    The whole thing about Apple is an illusion. They are so concerned about marketing the brand and the image. If you make enough noise, eventually they'll pay you off to shut up.

    A smoker's computer can be really icky, but for the amount that Apple charges for their Macs, the least they could've done was just fix the damned thing. Other manufacturers would've done that no questions asked. I'm not really for smoking, but I certainly hope they sue...

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:37 30/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I don't know what the AppleCare T&Cs say, but if it's like any other contract, it probably has a section in it that says that the terms of the contract (the warranty) are subject to change without notice. If at some point Apple deemed cigarettes a hazard then they can do that. It is some nasty stuff (btw, it's called third-hand smoke, the products from tobacco being released in the air from objects exposed to it, like clothing, books, or in this case, computers); someone that I know that I had not spoken with for eight months told me within minutes of his arrival at my house that I had been right about his mom's heavy smoking at the computer prematurely killing it, except in this case it was more of a show than I anticipated (it threw off some sparks). Maybe Apple should update the terms, but I don't think they are at fault because the repairs would not be necessary if it were not for the user's negligent actions. As much as I now hate Apple and find them overbearing, I believe what they did was legal AND smart. If there's one thing Apple is good at, it's setting a precedent. I hope that other companies take this stance. BTW, I am NOT a fanboy, I own ten PCs and only four Macs, two of which are over ten years old. I use both to distinguish myself from other technicians.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:04 24/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Cigarette smoke leaves dust and tar on computer insides. Dust and tar (and any other kind of gunk, for that matter) are bad for computer parts. Most manufacturers, while not specifically mentioning cigarette smoke, specifically do not cover failures caused by dust or dirt, or anything else that wouldn't be a problem if the computer was cleaned semi-regularly. AppleCare T&Cs don't specifically mention dust (although they probably should) but they do mention that they do not cover "(x) Preventative maintenance on the Covered Equipment" or damage caused by "extreme environment". That would explain why the one poor bastard had to "clean his own Mac" (poor baby) as once it was clean it was probably fine and got repaired without a problem afterwards, while the other one was messed up because of the lung leavings, so that moron was stuck out.

    They sell those little cans of air for a reason, people. Even Mac users can figure out how to use them...

    Marking the unit as a "biohazard" is a copout, though. This is why repair places charge to clean computers. Bust out a hospital mask and a shop vac and get some more money out of your customer, Apple... Then tell them it's not covered. If they're stupid enough to not clean their computer and stupid enough to smoke, (and stupid enough to pay an extra few hundred for a silver apple decal and a style-over-substance O/S) thay're stupid enough to cough up a few extra Hamiltons for wasting your time... Morons...

    Avatar of Largo
    Comment by Largo
    02:15 24/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I have been working as a PC Repair Technician for some years now, and I must agree with Apple.

    Normally, the dust in a computer is gray, dry and "powdery". In a smoker's computer its brown, compact, a little sticky and smells alot. In other words, GROSS.

    Imagine a 2+ year old computer that has never been cleaned, and with an owner that smokes several cigarettes per day sitting in front of the computer. Imagine all the tar and other substances that mix in with the dust. You don't need to be a scientist to figure out that it must be bad for the components, being covered in tar-drenched dust for several years.

    Alot of things gets destroyed when you smoke indoors. If you are too lazy to smoke outside or under your kitchen ventilation, don't complain when stuff breaks because of it.

    Avatar of Loki_69
    Comment by Loki_69
    18:28 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    *throw away the cigarette* ...good to know o.o;;;...

    Avatar of Elle Lowel
    Comment by Elle Lowel
    16:57 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Thankfully, i'm (on) a PC. But i'm no smoker mind you.


    Shouldn't this be made for a web'd PC commercial?

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:30 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I honestly can't care less. Smoking is stupid, if people hate on it, I don't care. I hate smokers.

    Avatar of OTIKA
    Comment by OTIKA
    15:24 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Windows OS and hardware meant for it FTW: It may crash, but it won't burn.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:54 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Macs were only good back when Steve Wozniak was still working as an engineer for Apple.

    Avatar of Sukunai
    Comment by Sukunai
    22:04 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Reading the replies it's really quite amazing.

    Fact 1 I don't consider a Mac any better than a Sony Betamax (which were technically better, they simply just didn't win the war).

    I couldn't care less about the whole smoking concern from Apple, it's literally a smoke screen. They've used a convenient dodge to duck out on their economic responsibility.

    There is a message here, you NEVER buy extended warrantees for ANYthing. If it is going to fail it will, and almost certainly during the manufacturer's warrantee period.
    If they don't honour the replacement, it's cya, I don't do business with jerks.

    Apple has always been the golden child of uber geeks, and now it's basically just got one more mark against it.
    Who cares what some think of their precious Mac. Over priced, and now not even reliably serviced. A bad way to spend cash.

    My PC is a hunk of parts I have amassed. Some a bit better than others. It's basically 'how good a hard drive can I afford right now?' when it comes to a replacement. 'Can I get a bit better video card?'. 'Do I want a better processor?'.

    I don't smoke, but hell there are plenty of other things that can happen to a computer. I've watched a friend pull out clumps of his fucking dog's hair out of the case. My son is constantly trying to spill food and drink into his case which he insists needs to have the sides off of.
    A computer in a woodworking shop can suffer from sawdust.
    It might interest those Apple retards, that inhaling sawdust is TWICE as bad as tobacco smoke. I wonder how pine dust rates for dangerous?
    Are you aware you can make lethal salad bowls out of the wrong wood?

    If you paid more than 700 for your computer, here's your sign, YOU ARE AN IDIOT. My schlock computer can do anything you expensive machine can do. Just not waste my money that is.

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:45 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    WTH is wrong with the quality of Apple's service?
    Yeah, I agree Apple is overrated most of the times thanks to the power of its brand marketing. Even the 'faultless' iPhone is not free from surprises: some iPhone owners in France reported that their iPhone's screen exploded for apparently no reason.
    Anyway, if Apple can exploit this to discourage smoking, why not?
    But I bet they won't. Perhaps because their brand marketing is funded by tobacco industries...

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:50 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Cigarette smoke ruins computers almost as much as it ruins your lungs. If you smoke around your computer then you're obviously not very interested in keeping it in good condition, so I'm not sure why Apple should have to pick up the tab for your negligent treatment. But then considering how smokers treat their own bodies, I'm not surprised that they treat everything else around them with equally little regard.

    There are plenty of good reasons to quit smoking. Having the warranty refused on your Mac is bad - dying from lung cancer is even worse.

    Avatar of JadeMatrix
    Comment by JadeMatrix
    07:00 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    WTF. 'Second hand smoke' from tar residue? They make disposable gloves for a reason, if you're so picky.

    But seriously, if the fact that the user was a smoker was so obvious, then they obviously didn't know how to take care of their Mac.

    Then again, WTF Apple.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:17 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    A Mac fanboy has appeared.

    What will you do?

    > Fight Bag
    Pokemon Run

    Avatar of NakkiNyan
    Comment by NakkiNyan
    10:51 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    > A Mac fanboy has appeared.
    says the windows fanboy

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:55 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    oopsie. Don't assume that windows is the only alternative OS.

    another Mac fanboy has appeared, and it brought its iFriends with it.

    Avatar of Bla7e
    Comment by Bla7e
    07:34 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    >Go to sleep xD

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:05 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    >Have a gay orgy outside the apple store

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:00 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    it's like console flamewars....peolpe that have money buy how many pc and mac he want, poor people just trool each other -_-'

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:00 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Damn. Lots of Mac haters on Sankacom it seems. 0_o

    I find it very reasonable that Apple won't repair Smoke-damaged Macs.
    1. Cigarette Smoke is very effective in damaging computer parts.
    2. Cigarette smoke are too common.
    The amount of computers they would need to repair wouldn't be economically profitable.

    This doesn't change that Apple should have been more clear about the cigarette-smoke-voids-warranty bit. I feel for their cigarette-smoking customers.

    PS. Macs are damn good computers. Just a tad overpriced (especially in Europe :( ).DS

    Avatar of Bla7e
    Comment by Bla7e
    07:46 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yeah exactly. Very good though overpriced. Isn't that exactly their problem? Not to mention every other company like Dell Acer Toshiba and who knows how many more have probably just a different case but with components the same as the ones mac use spec wise and yet their prices are around a third of what a mac is. Even though laptops are good for when you want to be on the bed or are out they're still inferior to desktop pc's and macs are inferior to laptops price wise and service wise. Don't get me wrong I'm not a fanboy of any pc creating company but if you calculate a little you'll find out that compared to other companies not only are they overpricing but they even put conditions on users who smoke which basically sux. I don't smoke but still this is retarded! Been a pc user for years. Don't own a laptop and even if it's heavy and takes space at least it's easier to maintain, easier to upgrade and if you oh so want to have a Mac why not just install their OS? It's not such a big deal. Every PC is able to work with every single OS there is if you have the proper components (which is almost every one that there is) so what's the big deal with buying a laptop with a pretty case and a os you can download at every shitty torrent site? OH. I FORGOT! IT'S CUZ IT'S APPLE that made it. So what? Big deal. A company like any other.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:01 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I have seen some pretty bad computers from people chain smoking next to them usually there is a build up in the heatsinks from all the tar and it collects dust. i just put on a mask and blow it out but i have seen some pretty nasty ones.

    Avatar of LaughingReader
    Comment by LaughingReader
    06:57 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    It's due to Mac's lack of biohazard handling equipments in their facilities that disables them the capabilities to deal with the hazardous deposits in their customers' computers

    It could have been that Mac weren't informed of the cigarettes' radioactive potential that can bring havoc to their customer's products and cannot afford to bring that that'll lead to utter destruction in their servicing facilities

    More than 72 hours? Don't worry, your computer is just the quarantine

    Again... another bizzarre culinary serendipity for humans in the business world

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:59 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    And Apple is churning out commercials stating they have the best rated customer service?... I smell something funny here...

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:33 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    They also have the motto "it just works", which does as long as you keep your mac in a sterilized cool dark environment where the sun, wind or dust don't go in.

    Macs are just as shitty as any other pc out there, just made for rich faggots or morons who like fashionable gadgets.

    Avatar of WEZ
    Comment by WEZ
    07:29 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Macs are completely useless. everything a Mac can do a PC can do better.

    Avatar of NakkiNyan
    Comment by NakkiNyan
    Comment by Anonymous
    12:55 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Since around 1998-2000, when PowerPC chips fell behind the performance of Intel and AMD ones.

    Prior to that Macs were indeed quite a bit faster for graphics and video editing work. When Apple couldn't claim that anymore they had to appeal to their artistic market with pretty cases and a prettier OS. Which certainly worked, but it was at the expense of self maintenance and being able to upgrade components, which used to be easy with a mid '90s Mac.

    Macs are often thought of as being the preferred choice for creative people, but in terms of productivity, the reason for it ceased to be relevant about a decade ago. It's just a premium price tag for the brand and cases now.

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:32 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I beg to differ. You want to upgrade components? Get a MacPro. They're cheaper than mid '90s Macs.

    The TV production next to my office just changed all their AVID machines to MacPros running FinalCutPro because after using both system for a few years they find out that Macs with FCP are easier to use, faster and more reliable, not to mention FAR cheaper to buy and maintain.

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:51 23/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I bought a PC in 1996 and have never had to buy a whole new system since. I just keep upgrading it a piece at a time.

    I concede that FinalCutPro is an enviable piece of software though.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:48 24/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Most professional media software runs better on macs, but that's mostly because they have half-assed windows coders (*COUGH* PRO-TOOLS).

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