Sudbury family calls on LifeProof to stand behind claim that cell phone cases are waterproof

A Sudbury mom wants a company to stop advertising its cell phone cases as waterproof after her son's device was damaged.

Company says it doesn't offer reimbursements for damaged devices because of 'factors out of its control'

Lisa Allen and her son Spencer want LifeProof to reimburse them for their damaged iPhone. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)

A Sudbury mom wants a company to stop advertising its cell phone cases as waterproof after her son's device was damaged. 

"They should be responsible for what they're protecting, which is the phone," Lisa Allen said.

"Otherwise, they shouldn't be advertising it as waterproof."

Allen's 17-year-old son, Spencer, recently bought a LifeProof iPhone cover for $80 to protect it from bumps, scratches and water damage.

But his phone stopped working properly after he said he accidentally forgot it in his pocket when he took a dip in the water. 

LifeProof spokesperson, Jordan Vater, told CBC News that he is sorry to hear about Allen's incident.

But he said his company does not offer reimbursements for the cost of their devices.

"While we test all of our product designs and verify our results with an accredited third-party testing facility, in addition to water testing every individual case before it leaves our facilities, there are several factors out of our control that make it impossible to warranty devices," Vater wrote.

"Factors such as proper installation, correctly sealed port covers and the current condition of the device and case all play a role in keeping a phone safe during a drop or exposure to water."

100 per cent waterproof protection?

A staff writer for Mobile Syrup, an independent resource on mobile technology in Canada, said consumers need to be aware that there is always a risk when you put a phone into an environment where technology does not usually survive.

"There really is no case out there that offers a 100 per cent guarantee that your device will not be damaged," Jessica Vomiero said.

"So you really have to look at what you're doing and make sure that you're not doing anything far too strenuous that the phone would just never survive in any way."

Voimero said there is a common misconception that cell phone case companies offer compensation for damages to devices. 

"In general, they are only responsible for the cost of the case," she said.

"If I blow a tire on the 401, the Ministry of Transportation doesn't replace my car, right?"

LifeProof is offering the Allens an $80 refund after CBC News contacted the company.

But Spencer's mom wants LifeProof to remove the waterproof label from its cases altogether. 

"I'm asking you to stand behind your product," she said. "The phone is now garbage."

Allen is able to get a new iPhone through an AppleCare warranty after his phone provider Koodo gave him a credit.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.