Apple is reportedly rejecting warranties for repair jobs on machines damaged by cigarette smoke, in a case that has local repair outfits bursting into fits of laughter.
According to US publication Consumerist, two users in different parts of the US claim their iMac warranties were voided due to tar from smoke.
The report states that Apple advised the customers that because nicotine is a hazardous substance, repairing the computers would be deemed an occupational health and safety risk.
David Macintosh, owner of Australian Apple integrator Mac to Front told CRN that Apple and its integration partners provided excellent levels of service to hardware products. But he didn't believe that computers clogged with the by-products of cigarette smoke should be exempt from warranty obligations.
"They are grasping at straws," he said. "[I'm] not aware of any material within the computer that absorbs cigarette smoke."
Macintosh said he had seen Macs "clogged with dirt and dust".
"Humans exfoliate all the time," he said. "Added to that, dust and carpet clogs computers all the time.
"We've even opened the case of computer to find that tens of thousands of ants built a nest inside. And we've repaired them all."
Meng Koh, co-owner of Sydney-based reseller PC Market believed the reason given for voiding the warranty was "silly."
"It sounds like they are trying to find a way to getting out of fixing hardware under warranty," he said. "Most of our customers smoke a lot when they are on the computer - and sometimes they smoke more than cigarettes - and we've never rejected their computers when they needed fixing."
Policing customers on the environment in which they use their hardware was unreasonable, said Giorgios Samartzis, customer service manager at Fujitsu PC Australia.
"Apple also make iPhones," he said. "If all the smokers, with their nicotine stained hands, took [iPhones] in for service, will Apple also not service them?"
Samartzis recalled one private school customer that sent back a hard drive soaked in cat urine. The smell was very bad, he said, but it was not used as an excuse to avoid fixing the hard drive.
Samartzis said vendors can't pick and choose their customers and how they use their products.
"This is just nit-picking," he concluded.
Apple has been approached for comment on this story.
What do you think? Have you ever encountered tar stains in your repair jobs? Did you reject the job?