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Apple Voiding Smokers' Warranties?

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the a-what-a-day-keeps-the-doctor-away dept.

Medicine 1078

Mr2001 writes "Consumerist reports that Apple is refusing to work on computers that have been used in smoking households. 'The Apple store called and informed me that due to the computer having been used in a house where there was smoking, [the warranty has been voided] and they refuse to work on the machine "due to health risks of second hand smoke,"' wrote one customer. Another said, 'When I asked for an explanation, she said [the owner of the iMac is] 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.' Apple claims that honoring the warranty would be an OSHA violation. (Remember when they claimed enabling 802.11n for free would be a Sarbanes-Oxley violation?)"

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Not all smokers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184392)

They are not going after cock smokers.

Good for apple (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184584)

Smokers cost the world a huge amount every year. Talking to doctors I know, most people they see in hospitals are smokers. (Although I know the converse isn't true...) So kudos to apple for making them pay for a bad habit that costs others.

Re:Good for apple (3, Insightful)

johnlcallaway (165670) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184630)

So do car drivers....should we ban them also??? After all, driving a car is a privilege, not a right.

I was in the hospital not too long ago, cost $70K to fix a broken foot because a car hit my motorcycle.

Re:Good for apple (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184780)

Actually, Medical insurance is very cheap for drivers and very cost effective and effective in general compared to regular medical insurance.

The cost of dealing with "the costs of driving" should more than cover themselves.

If you never bothered to take advantage of what's out there then that's another matter.

70K for a broken foot? Sound more like the hospital needs repaired.

Re:Good for apple (3, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184752)

Smokers die quicker than non-smokers, saving us money that would be spent on long term care.

Re:Good for apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184790)

Don't forget to include all the cigarette tax money and all the cigarette lawsuit money.

Re:Good for apple (-1, Flamebait)

Kagura (843695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184836)

I'm all for HARSH penalties for public smoking, and eventually penalties for private smoking. I really take a dim view towards smoking. However, Apple is being dumb. Don't make up stupid shit, because it ends up hurting everyone else in the long run (except for some shareholders).

Re:Good for apple (2, Informative)

BrianRoach (614397) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184834)

Not to be picky, by Obesity is now the #1 leading cause of death (health problems related to) in the US.

And 3/4 of the country is now Obese.

So ... as long as you're skinny and smoke, chances are the fat ones are going to die first.

haha (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184396)

lol

Smokers (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184402)

Are second-class citizens now, didn't you get the memo? Right up there with fatties and gays. *eye-roll*

gay fat smokers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184460)

would that make gay fat smokers 6th or 8th class citizens?

Re:gay fat smokers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184474)

I'm pretty sure it's a non-linear progression.

Re:Smokers (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184808)

Given the kind of nasty tar buildup that you can see in a smokers house or car, this sort of concern should not be all that surprising really.

You really can't blame an underpaid geek for not wanting to get near that stuff.

is semen a biohazard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184406)

would they not work on ipods that were listened to during sex?

Re:is semen a biohazard? (2, Funny)

flyneye (84093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184518)

Well if your Iphone was used as a dildo, it might be considered hazardous bio waste.
Hey, there are some weird fetishes and the cultish Mac adherents out there scare me anyway.
It's not hard to see some lonely outcast out there peggin his bunghole cause the Iphone rubs his prostate "just right"
It's a strange damn world and nothing Apple does ever surprises me anymore.

Wash it (5, Funny)

EgNagRah (1650283) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184412)

Does putting it in the dishwasher void the warranty?

I don't blame them (1, Troll)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184416)

I moved into a house previously owned by a smoker. Almost got nicotine poisoning just from touching the wallpaper...

 

Re:I don't blame them (0)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184472)

The outgassing from those computers is worse for your health than cigarette smoke residue, I assure you.

Re:I don't blame them (5, Insightful)

GuerreroDelInterfaz (922857) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184484)

Why did you choose it if you you did not like it?

parent != troll (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184704)

Why did you choose it if you you did not like it?

That's not trolling. That's a serious question. Presumably nobody put a gun to the grandparents head and forced him to move into that house.

Re:parent != troll (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184828)

Perhaps having never been forced to share a house or a car with a smoker this person didn't fully understand the possibilities.

OTOH, we could just preemptively condemn the houses of long time chain smokers and save everyone the bother.

Re:I don't blame them (0)

ari_j (90255) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184508)

The only time in my life I've had a histamine reaction to anything was when I sublet an apartment from a smoker. Within 2 weeks, I was covered in red specks and went to the doctor thinking I had flea bites (the tenant I sublet from also had a dog) or something. He laughed at me and told me to take Claritin. The only thing that had changed in my life compared to the past was the smoke absorbed in the walls and furniture.

Re:I don't blame them (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184668)

The bed and dust mites might be different from the ones your body were used to...

It could be fleas - but normally dog fleas just bite humans around the ankle areas.

Re:I don't blame them (5, Insightful)

lawnsprinkler (1012271) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184768)

The only thing that had changed in my life compared to the past was the smoke absorbed in the walls and furniture.

Really? That's the only thing that changed? Did the thought that there might be any number of other invisible toxins in that apartment ever enter your mind or did you just stop at the first one you could pull out of your ass? You also don't think it could be a physical reaction to the stress of moving and having to adjust to an entirely new environment either? It couldn't be anything else? You've managed to discount every other possibility and the most plausible one is "smoking residue"?

Re:I don't blame them (5, Insightful)

johnlcallaway (165670) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184660)

What a bunch of bs .... post the medical findings and I'll listen.

I have not seen ANY studies that suggest that OCCASIONAL exposure to second hand smoke is a hazard. Yep .. working in a bar 8 hours a day that is filled with smoke is. Living in a house with parents that smoke is. But NOT walking through a cloud of smoke for 5 seconds, or working on a computer.

Find one that suggests how often somebody has to walk through a cloud of smoke or work on a computer and I'll accept this. Until then .. they can STFU.

Re:I don't blame them (5, Interesting)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184670)

Having worked on many Macs that were owned by smokers, I'll bet that this particular one was clogged to hell with ash and nicotine stains. Seriously. I've had some iMacs from smokers that smelled nasty, but were still relatively clean inside. Then I've seen iMacs that were utterly DISGUSTING on the inside. Every inch clogged with ash, the whole thing stained...ugh. We had to take it out back with an air compressor. No warranty on that one. I specifically asked Apple's techie tech support about that one (SPS) and asked if EXCESSIVE buildup of cigarette residue was cause for a warranty violation. They said yes and that if that thing had come into a repair depot, they'd have refused to work on it.

Bottom line: I seriously doubt this thing just smelled a bit like cigarettes. It was probably revolting, yellowed, and filled with ash.

Re:I don't blame them (2, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184774)

I would buy that if they had said, "The computer was destroyed by accumulated dust and dirt. User's fault." But they didn't. They blamed some nebulous reasoning about the computer causing lung cancer in the repairman. In other words, brown-and-smelly bull.

(1) When did Microsoft buy-out Apple? They must have taken-down the "Don't be evil" mission statements.

(2) Is there any proof that SMELL can cause lung problems? I thought Penn&Teller debunked that nonsense several years ago.

Trivia -

- If you buy anything that smells like smoke, and the seller did not reveal it, you can get a refund through Paypal or Amazon. I just did that with a suit that was claimed to be "new" and it did still have tags, but it absolutely stank of smoke. So I get a refund, no questions asked (except for some hatemail from a very angry housewife).

Re:I don't blame them (4, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184844)

(1) When did Microsoft buy-out Apple? They must have taken-down the "Don't be evil" mission statements.

You seem to be confusing Apple and Google.

(2) Is there any proof that SMELL can cause lung problems?

No one said smell can cause lung problems anymore than people claim sight can cause your chest cavity to be punctured because you can see a guy aiming a gun at you. Smell is a sense which can be used to detect things that are potentially damaging, like carcinogens.

Re:I don't blame them (3, Insightful)

certain death (947081) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184856)

How the fuck does a computer get filled with ash? Were they using it as an ashtray? Working for a living sometimes presents situations that you would prefer to not have to deal with, but does not relieve you of your duties. Quit being a Nancy and do your job.

Re:I don't blame them (1)

rvw (755107) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184694)

I moved into a house previously owned by a smoker. Almost got nicotine poisoning just from touching the wallpaper...

A house or car is something different than a computer, I think. But when you buy a house, you should have smelled it before you signed the contract. A car can be horrible. But a computer??? I mean, it smells yeah, but there is no smoke involved here. At least, not until the thing goes up into flames.

Even if in the agreement. (5, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184418)

Can this actually be legal? Smoking is ( currently at least ) legal, so how can they penalize a smoker?

Re:Even if in the agreement. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184448)

Screwdrivers are legal too, but use one on your Apple and bang goes that warranty

Legal vs... (1)

CritterNYC (190163) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184450)

Well, water is legal, but getting water in a PC or a cell phone voids the warranty.

So, it would then come down to whether or not smoking is hazardous to electronic equipment.

Re:Legal vs... (1)

Kryptonian Jor-El (970056) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184502)

Its not about whether smoking is bad for the computer, its because second-hand smoke is bad for the Apple workers..

I thought it meant the computers at first too...but they wouldn't call it a 'biohazard' then. Last time I checked, you had to be 'bio'logical to be affected by a biohazard.

Re:Legal vs... (5, Insightful)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184540)

its because second-hand smoke is bad for the Apple workers

But there isn't any "second-hand smoke" actually in the computer. There's the residue that you get from smoke, but that's not actually smoke. It's not particularly harmful unless you breath in a big cloud of it, but that's true of any kind of dust. If you're poking about inside dusty equipment, you should be wearing appropriate PPE anyway.

Re:Legal vs... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184640)

...so it's third-hand smoke?

Re:Even if in the agreement. (4, Informative)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184480)

If it was in the agreement, I don't see why it wouldn't be legal. Since smokers are not a protected class, they can be discriminated against by private industry without any legal repercussions.

Of course, if it's not in the agreement, you could argue breach of contract (or whatever the particular legal term would in this case) because they're trying to impose additional conditions on the warranty after it's already been purchased.

Re:Even if in the agreement. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184646)

I like the idea of penalizing someone who disturbs me with stinking, annoying, stupid, health-wasting of themselves and others, smoke.

Re:Even if in the agreement. (1, Troll)

Like2Byte (542992) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184686)

What amazes me is that smokers believe that their right to smoke trumps everybody else's right to breath fresh, clean air.

I am, clearly, a non-smoker and I personally take offense to cigarette smoke. If a computer came into my possession that reeked of cigarette smoke, I'd refuse to work on it, too. Give it to a smoker to fix...in a separate building.

Let's get serious here. Whose upset that these computers, besides their owners, are not being fixed? Cigarette smokers. If smokers want to fix computers that were in smoker's houses, let the smokers fix them. I mean, God Damn, people! Listen to yourselves! Smokers are actually offended that non-smokers do not want to fix their smelly, second-hand hazardous smoke-filled PCs. What a misdirected sense of entitlement smokers have.

There isn't a compelling reason for non-smokers to place their health at risk because of a group of people who will not heed medical advice to stop smoking.

Re:Even if in the agreement. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184800)

What amazes me is that smokers believe that their right to smoke trumps everybody else's right to breath fresh, clean air.

What amazes me is that car owners believe that their right to drive trumps everybody else's right to breathe fresh, clean air; and not be invaded in search of cheap oil.

Re:Even if in the agreement. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184818)

You're an enormous fag. Pull your head out of your fucking ass. I don't like the smell of smoke just as much as the next non-smoker, but "second-hand hazardous smoke filled PCs" is a load of bullshit. Oh mah god, there's smoking residue on this Mac! Spray some fucking febreze and do your job.

Re:Even if in the agreement. (1)

j-turkey (187775) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184846)

What amazes me is that smokers believe that their right to smoke trumps everybody else's right to breath fresh, clean air.

I am, clearly, a non-smoker and I personally take offense to cigarette smoke. If a computer came into my possession that reeked of cigarette smoke, I'd refuse to work on it, too. Give it to a smoker to fix...in a separate building.

Let's get serious here. Whose upset that these computers, besides their owners, are not being fixed? Cigarette smokers. If smokers want to fix computers that were in smoker's houses, let the smokers fix them. I mean, God Damn, people! Listen to yourselves! Smokers are actually offended that non-smokers do not want to fix their smelly, second-hand hazardous smoke-filled PCs. What a misdirected sense of entitlement smokers have.

There isn't a compelling reason for non-smokers to place their health at risk because of a group of people who will not heed medical advice to stop smoking.

Are you serious, or being facetious? I really can't tell.

So is beer (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184714)

If you spilled beer in the keyboard would you expect them to replace it under warranty?

Re:Even if in the agreement. (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184720)

Can this actually be legal? Smoking is ( currently at least ) legal, so how can they penalize a smoker?

Because they can. Unless you're a member of a protected class, you can discriminate. For example, retirement homes. They can legally say no one under the age of 50 is allowed - that's what an attorney told me when I asked.

As I was told by the lawyer, people have this incorrect idea that all discrimination is illegal - it's not.

Well know protected classes: racial minorities, women are minorities even though they're 51% of the population, and old people.

If you're white, male, and under 40, you're pretty much screwed as far as anti discrimination laws are concerned.

The fanbois are quiet on this one (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184420)

ROFL I cant wait to see how Stevo's groupies try to spin Apple out of this nonsense.

Re:The fanbois are quiet on this one (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184782)

I am fairly certain that all the "smoking is bad" people are the Jobs following Mactards that are spinning it.

Hurray for cults.

Ridiculous (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184422)

They have an obligation to the customer under the terms of the warranty. They also have an obligation to their employees. They need to honor both, not pick and choose. If they really believe that opening the computer represents a health threat then they need to issue protective clothing and breathing apparatus to their employees. Simple as that. OSHA does not prohibit working with dangerous materials (manufacturing and maintaining computers DOES involve doing so), it just requires proper safety procedures be observed when doing so. The possibility of working with computers that have been exposed to cigarette smoke was not unknown or plausibly considered to be remote at the time when these warranties were issued.

Re:Ridiculous (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184690)

Customers also have an obligation to themselves to not buy from companies with a history of fucking over customers for the stupidest of reasons.

No consumer is surprised when they buy a computer running Microsoft Windows, and two weeks later it's infested with malware. They make the purchase knowing that they're getting a sub-par operating system with poor security.

The same should go for anyone buying Apple products. When you buy an iPod, you should realize that you have no power to change the battery, for instance. When you buy one of their computers, you should realize that you'll probably get screwed on some stupid policy like this smoking-household one.

If you don't want to get fucked by Apple's policies, deal with a more responsible company.

Think Different! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184426)

Apple is more than a computer, it's a whole lifestyle.

You always have to do what big brother Apple tells you to do.

Sheesh. If I wanted a nanny state I would go live in Taxachusetts.

I'm a PC... (5, Funny)

jesseck (942036) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184428)

and I get to smoke in my own house, while browsing the Internet (for porn)

Re:I'm a PC... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184522)

I'm a Linux and I smoke weed in my own house, while insulting noobs on the Internet.

Re:I'm a PC... (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184544)

If you're a PC and you're smoking, you need NOSMOKE.EXE [netfunny.com] .

(never thought I'd willingly post that old joke, but it's topical, so...)

The sad part (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184430)

is a worker can sue their employer for forcing them to work on hazardous materials. smoke in all of it's forms isn't good for your lungs. Would you work on a computer that a tobacco chewer has been spitting in? Where is the line drawn? How do we know the imac in question wasn't used as an ash tray and that's why it failed? I have watched careless smokers. they dump ash and their butts everywhere.

While I find the absolute idea preposterous (just send it to me I don't care about smokers stupid personal choices), legally any company is put into a damned if you do and damned if you don't position.

All that said just fix the friggin computer. maybe this will point out the flaws in the system. though no one will ever fix them.

yes and no (5, Interesting)

lee n. field (750817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184456)

The "biohazard" stuff is crap.

That said, I can always tell when a computer I'm working on has a smoker for an owner. The smoke leaves a yellowish to brownish residue. Dust sticks to it. In the worst case I can recall seeing, cooling slots were blocked by congealed fuzzy crap.

It's nasty, and I can see it contributing to component failure in bad cases.

Re:yes and no (2, Informative)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184576)

It's nasty, and I can see it contributing to component failure in bad cases.

Straight off the obvious cause of failure is by blocking vents and jamming fans. I recently repaired a radio base station that had been used in a smoking environment (tucked away in the corner of a security control room). Despite the ban on smoking in the workplace coming into force several years ago, the sticky residue was still attracting huge amounts of dust, which was causing the radios (in particular the transmitter) to overheat and crash.

Re:yes and no (1)

Crock23A (1124275) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184766)

Remember the days of biege boxes and keyboards? You could very easily spot a smoker's keyboard by the tar on frequently used letters. I used to wash my hands a lot when I was supporting college professors. There were even a handful that smoked inside their offices. The computers there were always sticky and filthy. That being said, I can't see a company suddenly saying they won't honor a warranty without any fine print to back it up. There will probably be a statement from apple in a few days smoothing this whole situation over and we can all go back to slowly killing ourselves and each other.

Re:yes and no (2, Funny)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184770)

Apple - So Easy Even A Smoker Can Do It

What about marijuna smoke? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184458)

That would void the warranties of about 90% of all apple products sold.

As a nonsmoking apple fan (1, Troll)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184462)

I'm insulted, and appalled. What is next, refusing service if you have ( legal ) things they don't approve of on your drive ( like porn? )

Re:As a nonsmoking apple fan (1, Interesting)

mikkelm (1000451) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184582)

Yes, because /that/ is hugely relevant and entirely comparable. Jesus.

Hahahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184478)

Next thing you know you'll need a doctors note stating you do not have an infectious disease before they honor your warranty.

Any company is responsible for their employee's health and safety. They're also bound to honor the warranty. So obviously Apple should provide the techs with Hazmat suits.

Did smoke damage the computer? (1)

nanospook (521118) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184486)

I read the article, and while it wasn't 100% clear, it looks like the computer is damaged by smoke (tar). What is confusing is that Apple is doing an OSHA violation stating we can't make anyone work on it because of contamination. What is it? Contamination or owner damage? If I have a warranty that includes fixing it including when I drop the computer, then they should fix it, but then they can say OSHA violation and NOT fix it.

up next (0, Troll)

luther349 (645380) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184490)

class action lawsuit anyone.

The "I Blame The Government" Excuse (1, Offtopic)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184494)

...is something I'm getting increasingly tired of hearing.

Sometimes laws have unintentional negative consequences, but most of the "Oh, we can't do this any more, because the government has a rule that says {X}" is generally BS. Case in point, no banks offer fixed rate credit cards.

Wanna know why? Want to know why banks don't offer fixed rate credit cards, that is, credit cards whose interest rate doesn't change? Want to know why they've all withdrawn them, the credit cards they had with fixed rates? Want to know?

Are you sitting down?

...it's because, claim the credit card companies, the government has banned them from varying the rates of a fixed rate credit card more than once a year.

You heard that right: the credit card companies, and their obedient apologists in the right wing media, claim that the reason they can't offer fixed rate credit cards is because they can't vary the rate of a fixed rate credit card... very often.

Yeah, the government's to blame for that one. Right.

Sarbanes Oxley? What businesses except Apple don't offer free "good will" gifts from time to time to their existing customer base, that previously did so? And what's the clause in SO anyway that bans businesses from traditional goodwill accounting? What's that? It doesn't exist? Damn right it doesn't exist!

And now OSHA is banning Apple from working on laptops contaminated with tobacco smoke? Quite honestly, even for Apple, it seems like a stretch to me. I'm inclined to assume it's probably false, but it's not going to completely surprise me, given the above, if Apple reveals it's true.

Re:The "I Blame The Government" Excuse (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184738)

Case in point, no banks offer fixed rate credit cards.

Says who? My puny small town credit union has offered a fixed rate credit card (7.9%) for the last ten years. It's never changed. There's no law against offering a fixed rate credit card.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184504)

soooo...ummm....wear gloves and a simple mask when working on the damp computer. It's not a violation if you use proper PPE ...

The iPhone "success" has emboldened them... (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184510)

The massive success of the iPhone has emboldened Apple. Otherwise how can you explain that behavior? Heck, there are thousands of apps for the iPhone so Apple think they are invincible.

Good we have some kind of competitor (read Droid) though Motorolla are curtailing the Droid's success by marketing only to the USA. And Google are not helping matters by creating avenues for incompatibilities around Android.

Re:The iPhone "success" has emboldened them... (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184722)

Apple was pretty bold when it was losing market share too.

The solution is... (5, Insightful)

Xelios (822510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184516)

Gloves and a face mask.

Blame Goverment Regulations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184526)

Conforming to government regulations is ridiculous, Sarbanes-Oxley and OSHA. Bitch to your senator or congressmen about diminished freedom.

Re:Blame Goverment Regulations (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184758)

Yes, because we all want the freedom to be exploited.

Makes sense (1)

zwei2stein (782480) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184542)

Computers of smokers are well, filthy, and hard to repair. Dust and tar everywhere, blocking ventilation and making mechanical parts fail sooner of later.

Eww, I'd agree with waranty void there.

Not unprecedented (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184616)

I've worked in two separate computer retail repair shops where we've voided warranties for this. It's not just because there's a smoker in the household; it's the results that inflicts on the computer. Like parent said, it gets NASTY. I've seen it gum up CPU and graphics card fans many, many times.

It constitutes abuse of the equipment, and that is explicitly not covered under warranty.

Here's a nice gallery of what cigarette smoke does to PCs: http://www.squidoo.com/cigarette-smoke-computer-damage

Have you ever looked inside a smoker's computer? (3, Informative)

attie (1610995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184554)

Look at this [bit-tech.net] and tell me that you wouldn't run screaming if someone asked you to repair that. Also, the way smoke is clogging up that fan, I'm thinking that smoking around a computer is a decent reason to void your warranty. Like using your phone in the rain. The harm came to the unit through your own negligence...

Re:Have you ever looked inside a smoker's computer (2, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184612)

Oh man up. I've repaired worse. That kind of damage can happen to any computer near the front door of your house.

Re:Have you ever looked inside a smoker's computer (1)

attie (1610995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184682)

Front door? What happens at the front door?

Re:Have you ever looked inside a smoker's computer (4, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184732)

You just don't want to see what happens to the computer near the back door.

So sue them for 3x damages. (1)

jazzkat (901547) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184580)

IANAL and this is not legal advice.

If a 'smoking exclusion' was not in the contract, then they lied to you when they sold the contract, plain and simple.

Sue them in small claims court for the value of the computer. If your state is like Ohio and they award 3x damages for a breach of consumer protection act (a breach of contract might trigger this), you could get a nice upgrade.

If you don't want to go that far at least complain to your state's attorney general.

Hard to deny (2, Interesting)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184586)

As a smoker I find it hard to deny Apple's case here. Tobacco smoke is not a good thing for electronics. Neither would be lots of candle smoke, grease smoke, auto exhaust and many other environmental contaminates that could leave a residue on the hardware.

For the smokers out there: is it really that hard to take a break and go outside? I've always felt that was the best part... take a break, go out, have a smoke and consider what ever you're doing - then go back and get it done.

Of course these are not likely people using their computers for productive things... probably ex-AOLers chatting up people while drinking and smoking. In which case - ??? WTF just get a life already.

Oh and it's gross to smoke cigs in your house. Same as it would be gross to smoke a turkey inside or any number of things that leave residue everywhere.

It may sound weird, but Apple might be right (1)

rpp3po (641313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184594)

The fans inside computers shovel several cubic meters of air every day through a very tight space. It could certainly be possible, that this leads to amounts of poisonous residue far above your usual passive smoking hazards. And thus this might not be another piece of green hysteria, but consistent and reasonable action even despite the public outcry, that this may cause.

Re:It may sound weird, but Apple might be right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184736)

Oh please. Next they refuse to work on any computers at all because the material they are made of release poisonous gases.

That's utterly ridiculous. (0)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184620)

Even if you accepted the inflated figures of second hand smoke, some smoke exposure is a pretty fricking low cause of death. AS it is, the number 1 killer in the USA, or at least near to it, is the fricking flu. If Apple cared about their workers, their hourly people would get paid sick time.

Re:That's utterly ridiculous. (1)

Trevin (570491) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184784)

Where do you get your statistics from? I was under the impression that either heart disease or lung disease [annfammed.org] was the top killer in the U.S. (sources cited.)

Re:That's utterly ridiculous. (2, Informative)

Kev6 (595619) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184786)

The flu (and pneumonia) is actually the 8th leading cause of death in the US. The first two leading causes of death are heart disease and cancer, with more than 10x the number of deaths than the flu. Both of these can be caused by smoking.

Heart disease: 631,636
Cancer: 559,888
Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 137,119
Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 124,583
Accidents (unintentional injuries): 121,599
Diabetes: 72,449
Alzheimer's disease: 72,432
Influenza and Pneumonia: 56,326
Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 45,344
Septicemia: 34,234
From the CDC [cdc.gov]

Re:That's utterly ridiculous. (1)

ejtttje (673126) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184794)

Do you have any idea what you are talking about? Cardiovascular failure and cancer would beg to differ about the flu thing, which ranks a little above leprosy.
Infographic: http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelpaukner/4052849920/sizes/o/in/pool-16135094@N00/ [flickr.com]
Sure, maybe flu will get worse, but it's got a long, long, ways to go. Don't watch so much sensationalist network news.

Maybe get some facts straight? (2, Insightful)

sribe (304414) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184624)

Remember when they claimed enabling 802.11n for free would be a Sarbanes-Oxley violation?

Why yes, I do. I also remember that it's a perfectly legitimate (though perhaps conservative) claim as well. And I also remember all the people mocking Apple who clearly had no idea at all how revenue must be accounted for in publicly-held companies. Apparently some of you ignoramuses just do not want to let go...

Re:Maybe get some facts straight? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184666)

Remember when they claimed enabling 802.11n for free would be a Sarbanes-Oxley violation?

Why yes, I do. I also remember that it's a perfectly legitimate (though perhaps conservative) claim as well. And I also remember all the people mocking Apple who clearly had no idea at all how revenue must be accounted for in publicly-held companies. Apparently some of you ignoramuses just do not want to let go...

ok, I'll bite with my ignorance of why this then only applied to Apple, not other US IT companies?

Maybe the DEA Should Shut Down Apple (3, Funny)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184636)

After all, 90% of U.S. currency has traces of cocaine on it. I'm pretty sure the Apple store is dealing.

If this is true... (1)

sgage (109086) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184638)

... it is the most absurd thing I've heard in a while. I am not a smoker, and don't like the smell that smoking leaves on clothing and such, but to refuse to work on a smoker's gadget because of "second hand smoke" is ridiculous. But then, Apple tends to the ridiculous.

Is this story legit? Can it be confirmed?

Who the hell smokes indoors? (2, Insightful)

harmonise (1484057) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184644)

Who the hell smokes indoors? That's fucked up.

Re:Who the hell smokes indoors? (1)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184802)

LOTS of people, and yes, it is disgusting. My parents are smokers and their computers get an incredible coating of brown oily crud all over the internal components. The smoke changes regular old dust into a sticky, clumpy mess that is a pain in the ass to clean.

If someone smokes so much around their computer that it leads to a buildup of enough of this goop to be a plausible cause of failure, well, tough crap. The warranty they sell contains language for not being responsible for "other external factors". Guess what nicotine addicts? Chain smoking can be one of those external factors. Same as if you had the computer in a fast food restaurant and the components get coated in fryer grease, it's not covered by the standard consumer warranty.

Surgeon General's Warning (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184656)

I used to work as a computer technician to pay my tuition.

Computers that had either failed or seized up due to nicotine/tar build up were impossible to clean, and nearly impossible to repair. The nasty build-up got literally everywhere, clogging heatsinks, coating voltage regulators, caps, expansion slots, and other devices that depend on air convection to stay cool. The only way to get these machines running stably again was usually massive part replacement.

If smoking doesn't constitute improper operation, it should. For all the people bitching out there, smoking has been demonstrated to cause premature failure to humans, particularly second-hand smoke which contains a Noah's Ark of nasty bacteria and pathogens. WHy is it such a surprise that it also kills sensitive electronic equipment?

I'm not surprised (5, Interesting)

Trevin (570491) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184696)

They've also refused service on devices where their litmus indicator shows signs of turning pink (http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=9214797 [apple.com] , http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/04/14/smart.phones.buggy/index.html [cnn.com] , http://techgeist.net/2009/09/apple-iphone-abuse-detection-sensors-abusing-2/ [techgeist.net] ). It sounds like they're still looking for more excuses not to honor their "warranty."

I won't be buying any more Apple products.

Two Thumbs UP! (5, Interesting)

TravisHein (981987) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184710)

For once I am pleased with Apple's quirky business policies.

In addition to being a biohazard, enough smoking over time by many people seems to actually deposit a greassy residue on the inside of the computer parts, like the heat sinks, integrated circuits, fan blades. I used to be the IT administrator for an office of a dozen people, back when it was somehow allowed to smoke indoors in the office while you work. And the style was for everyone to smoke. As a non smoker I was a minority, and had to put up with working in that mess.

But for the computer parts, after about six months the parts looked as though someone had sprayed them with PAM cooking oil, and then dusted with ashes. All chunder stuck on fuzzy layer of dust bunnies, and "that" smell of 1000 cigarettes. We went through a lot of computers because of the lack of ability for the parts to cool themselves with the ambient air circulation inside the cases.

So my fendangled point was, it is not fair for Apple, or any computer company to have to honor warranty claims for computers that were subjected to the abuse of a smoker, as the hardware was subjected to environmental conditions that was not in any of the designed intended use. For example, if I put my computer through a dish washer, they would have the equal right to not honor my warranty claim, as I 'intentionally damaged' it in much the same way. I would like to see other companies start doing this too.. Buy a car? Did you smoke in it ? Oh, now it has no resale value, sorry.

psychosis (1)

JackSpratts (660957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184716)

when your control neurosis becomes insanity...

i used to be in radio back when everybody smoked. we kept the (smoking) engineers busy cleaning scratchy pots on a regular basis. it wasn't a big deal. since smoking isn't allowed in studios anymore the pots stay clean indefinitely. but i mean seriously, removing airborne pollutants that have settled on components is a routine practice.

for all that however computers themselves are biohazards. try throwing one out sometime. if apple was consistent they wouldn't anyone build them - let alone repair them.

this story is like something the onion would come up with.

big babies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184728)

You guys complaining about this are the biggest babies. Aside from the fact that this information extremely ( to say the least ) exaggerated, you guys have all been mislead by this smoke in your eyes nonsense. Please take a look at http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com. Oh, and most of these chemicals found in tobacco smoke are perfectly fine under EPA guidelines.

a..holes (0, Flamebait)

methano (519830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184744)

I like Apple. I bought a Mac in 1984 and have bought a bunch of them since then. I own Apple stock. After about 12 years it was worth about half what I paid for it but then it has performed very nicely over the last few years. But let's face it. Apple is thoroughly infused with self-righteous a..holes. That's the image one gets from the top down. I think they may even work on it. It's a valued trait in the company. Ever go into an Apple store. It seems like being a self-righteous a..hole is a core skill required for employment. Heck, even I, when I advise people about what kind of computer they should buy, I can feel that self-righteous a..hole feeling welling up inside me. It even feels good sometimes. Unfortunately, it's part of the price of using Apple computers. You just have to deal with it.

I wonder what happens if you smoke in your BMW.

Tar related damage is user abuse. (2, Insightful)

Garthok (1361615) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184826)

I can understand employees not wanting to touch a yellow or brown mac. I hate working on smokers computers, tar makes a great insulator and does damage components and yet somehow it is your fault that the computer does not work. Neither of the two examples given indicate the amount of tar buildup on the computer, generally if it just smells like a smokers computer, there is no problem, it gets repaired. The only time a computer gets labeled a biohazard is if there is a significant amount of residue on the computer. The first post does sound like tar related damage, which could be considered user abuse(voids warranty).

Kudos to Apple if that's true (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184838)

Smoking is a biohazard, after all.

Apple trying to copy the cell phone companies (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184862)

In my contract with ATT for my cell phone, it clearly states that the warranty does not cover any damage due to water. In fact there's a white sticker on the inside that turns colored if it gets wet.

Apple should be putting all sorts of detection stickers inside their cases, and modifying the warranty on new purchases.

I've worked on old computers all my life, and you can bet if it looks dusty from the outside, it's probably a lot worse on the inside, I always wear a mask when opening those up. Apple just doesn't want to pay for masks/gloves/glasses (aka safety equipment).

What would happen if you bought a second hand computer which was owned by a smoker and then brought it in for repair? Does apple have a qualification program to determine if your computer is able to be qualified by their AppleCare program? Is it like health insurance whereby you need to visit your Dr. to get a clean bill of health before some insurance company will cover you?

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