PSA: Smoking Is So Bad It Voids Your Computer Warranty
Heads up, schmokers: Lighting up near your computer is heresy enough that Apple says it voids your warranty should you need to bring a smoke-exposed computer in for repair.
Specifically, in at least two instances in different parts of the country, Apple has voided the warranty and refused to provide repair service on Macintosh computers exposed to environments where cigarette smoke has been present. Calling cigarette smoke residue (tar and whatnot) inside a computer a health risk and a “biohazard,” in both cases Apple customers have been denied service despite having time left on a valid warranty.
Apple is standing by the decisions, saying that repair centers have the authority to make decisions like this on their own, citing OSHA rules that include nicotine in a list of hazardous substances that could damage the health of someone exposed to it. (Consumerist, which digests the issue with its typical aplomb, adds that sucrose, talc, and calcium carbonate are all also on the OSHA hazardous materials list.)
Apple isn’t formally commenting on the issue or responding to media requests for comment, namely regarding whether there’s a threshold for cigarette smoke exposure beyond which a computer won’t be serviced. Is one cigarette too much? 200? The answer is probably far less scientific than that: If a technician doesn’t like cigarette smoke and your computer smells a bit smoky, it probably won’t get serviced.
I can understand the policy here, but Apple’s failure to mention this issue in its warranty materials is out of line. To leave consumers on the hook for repairing their multi-thousand dollar machine by themselves, without notifying them in advance that cigarette smoke exposure could void their warranty, well… sounds a lot like typical Apple behavior, to be honest.
No word on whether other computer vendors have the same or similar policies. If you’ve encountered this issue in the past, please let us know about it here.