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Apple Settles Lawsuit Over Stolen MacBook, iPod Touch

Denies responsibility for stolen merchandise, but pays just enough to cover replacement.

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Apple Settles Lawsuit Over Stolen MacBook, iPod Touch
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Whenever we buy something new there’s always a little bit of paranoia about it. What if your new car gets totalled on the way home from the lot? What if one of those new earrings falls down your bathroom drain? What if you sit on your new glasses? What if your new MacBook and iPod are stolen out of your car before you even get home with them?

Unfortunately, those sorts of things do happen. In the fall of 2009 Michael Deverett, a lawyer in Toronto, bought a MacBook Pro. As part of a promotion that Apple was running at the time, he also got a free iPod Touch. All told he bought over $2,200 worth of hardware and software that day. On the way home he made an ill-fated stop at a convenience store. His brief absence from his vehicle was just enough time for someone to knock a hole in his back window and make off with his new gear.

Deverett was understandably upset. It’s a long, hard fall from the excitement that comes with a new purchase to the anger and disappointment that comes with having something you value stolen. Even more frustrating was the realization that at some point after his MacBook was stolen, the thief (or whoever the thief sold it to) took it in for service at an Apple Store. Deverett’s response to all this, though, was a bit… unique. He sued.

Deverett argued that since thieves in the U.S. had been targeting Apple Store customers in much the same way that he was apparently targeted in Canada, Apple had a responsibility to warn customers that their purchases may be in danger. Apple’s failure to warn Deverett that his purchases might be stolen made them liable for the loss, he argued.

Apple responded that their responsibility for the merchandise ended once Deverett left the store with it, and that they have neither the duty nor the ability to foresee all possible risks to a customer once they leave with their purchases. Nevertheless, Apple and Deverett have settled the suit. Apple has agreed to give Deverett $2,300 in store credit and $345 in legal fees.

What do you think? Do retailers – especially retailers of popular and expensive products – have any responsibility for their products once the customer leaves the store? Sound off in the comments.

Apple Settles Lawsuit Over Stolen MacBook, iPod Touch
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  • http://www.davidcarondesign.com David

    I believe that it is everyone’s personal responsibility to make sure that their items are safe when they leave them in the car. Most cars have trunks which will keep your more expensive items hidden.

    Keep your things safe and you won’t get them stolen. I think Apple looks at this guy and says “For real?”

    David Caron
    Atlanta Video Production

    • http://www.ientry.com/ Shaylin Clark

      I think that’s most people’s reaction, honestly. It was certainly mine, and I have actually been in a situation similar to his. My wife bought me a brand new car for my birthday a little over a year ago. Five days after I drove it off the lot, I got rear-ended by some jerk who was too busy texting to notice the red light. My shiny new car got totalled. I was, as you might expect, very upset. But I certainly didn’t sue the dealer for warning me that somebody might crash into my new car.

  • http://www.computertalkforum.com/discuss Computer Talk Forum

    This has got to be one of the more ridiculous lawsuits that I’ve read about. The other one off the top of my head was the girl that walked into an open manhole, which had warning signs around it… too bad it’s the city’s fault that she was writing a text message instead of paying attention to where her feet were taking her.
    Apple should sue the guy back for trying to ruin their name!

  • Umeshkumar Patil

    I think its the customers responsibility to report the theft along with the bill no and the device id to police and apple. It would then be apples responsibility to find where the stolen device with particular device is logged in and report this to the police who can then acquire & return the device to the rightful owner.

  • Shweta

    Hi , Can Deverett tell me how he proceeded, same is the case with my frnd , he lost his macbook and he also had lots of crucial data in it