Following the electrocution death of a woman in China that has been blamed on a knockoff iPhone charger, Apple is offering to take back and recycle counterfeit chargers and replace them with an Apple version for $10 — about half price.
“Recent reports have suggested that some counterfeit and third party adapters may not be designed properly and could result in safety issues,” the company said on its Web site. “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.”
Starting Aug. 16, Apple stores and authorized retailers will accept USB adapters and ensure they are “disposed of in an environmentally friendly way.” Until Oct. 18, anyone who returns at least one USB power adapter can buy a new Apple adapter for $10 for each iPhone, iPad and iPod they own. Customers must bring the mobile devices with them so the serial number can be validated. The regular retail prices for Apple USB adapters are $19 for the 12W version and $21 for the 5W version.
Apple announced in July that it was investigating the accidental death of Ma Ailun, 23 from China’s western Xinjiang region, who was killed by an electric shock after answering a call on her iPhone while it was charging.
Several days later, the Chinese state television broadcaster CCTV interviewed a telecommunications expert named Xiang Ligang who said the charger Ailun had been using might have been a knockoff or fake, the South China Morning post reported.
Ligang said in low-quality devices, the capacitor could break down and send 220 volts of electricity straight into the cellphone battery.
The program covers third-party or counterfeit devices consumers may have on hand, though Apple doesn’t have a list of specific brands or devices from likely hundreds of companies that make their own Apple accessories. Instead, the company is letting consumers make their own judgement calls based on whether they feel comfortable with their chargers.