Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is offering a replacement program to give official Apple USB power chargers to customers who have third party chargers that may be defective. The promotion stems from one death and one critical hospitalization in the last month from iPhone electrocution during charging. A 23-year-old Chinese woman, Ma Ailun, died when she answered a phone call while her iPhone was charging. The young beauty died a mere few weeks before her wedding. The second, Wu Jian Tong, 30, yelled “I’m getting shocked!” before falling unconscious. He was hospitalized and comatose after touching his iPhone while it was charging.
One of the cases triggered a review of third-party chargers sold by other retailers that could create a greater chance of electrocution for the iPhones. Recalls of chargers are not new for Apple. The tech giant issued a recall in 2008 when reports surfaced of defective iPhone 3G chargers. The prongs were dangerously breaking off in wall sockets, creating fire and electrocution hazards.
Apple CEO Tim Cook is looking to ease uneasy chatter from investors and consumers alike from the unsavory news surrounding the Apple brand this year, such as:
- The iPhone deaths stemming from defunct chargers
- Verizon iPhone sales drastically falling
- iWatch faces engineering issues and delays
- The continuing lawsuit with Samsung
- The pornography-blocking issues from a Nashville lawyer
- Largest Apple manufacturer Pegatron charged with labor violations that displayed workers in poor working conditions and working excessive overtime to churn out the rumored iPhone 5C
Apple released a statement in regard to the USB Power Adapter Takeback Program:
Recent reports have suggested that some counterfeit and third party adapters may not be designed properly and could result in safety issues. While not all third party adapters have an issue, we are announcing a USB Power Adapter Takeback Program to enable customers to acquire properly designed adapters.
Customer safety is a top priority at Apple. That’s why all of our products — including USB power adapters for iPhone, iPad, and iPod — undergo rigorous testing for safety and reliability and are designed to meet government safety standards around the world.
Starting August 16, 2013, if you have concerns about any of your USB power adapters, you can drop them off at an Apple Retail Store or at an Apple Authorized Service Provider. We will ensure that these adapters are disposed of in an environmentally friendly way.
If you need a replacement adapter to charge your iPhone, iPad, or iPod, we recommend getting an Apple USB power adapter. For a limited time, you can purchase one Apple USB power adapter at a special price — $10 USD or approximate equivalent in local currency. To qualify, you must turn in at least one USB power adapter and bring your iPhone, iPad, or iPod to an Apple Retail Store or participating Apple Authorized Service Provider for serial number validation. The special pricing on Apple USB power adapters is limited to one adapter for each iPhone, iPad, and iPod you own and is valid until October 18, 2013.
Note: Due to the complexity of testing required to detect an unsafe or counterfeit adapter, Apple Retail and Apple Authorized Service Providers cannot advise you on the authenticity or safety of your adapter. We are offering this special takeback program for any USB power adapter made for use with iPhone, iPad, and iPod for which you have concerns.
Apple is urging customers to bring their iPhone and iPad devices in to review the product serial number for charger replacements. In addition, for customers in China, where the greatest significance of the death and labor violations are felt, Apple has displayed a page on their site helping customers to identify counterfeit products.