Technology & Science

Owners of older iPods eligible for $45 refund

Owners of older iPods can get a $45 rebate from Apple Inc., now that the company has offered to settle two lawsuits involving the battery life of its portable media players.

Owners of older iPods can get a $45 rebate from Apple Inc., now that the company has offered to settle two lawsuits involving the battery life of its portable media players.

The company has offered the credit to people who bought a first-, second- or third-generation iPod before June 24, 2004, as a settlement to the two lawsuits, filed in Montreal and Toronto. The settlement said Apple had misrepresented the battery life of the devices. The plaintiffs, Ines Lenzi of Montreal and Bradley Waddell of Toronto, said the iPod's rechargeable batteries only supplied three hours of power rather than the eight hours advertised.

The Quebec Superior Court in 2006 rejected Lenzi's request to certify the lawsuit as a class-action, but the Ontario Superior Court later accepted a similar request from Waddell. The settlement must be finalized in court in Montreal on May 26 and in Toronto on June 20. Apple has also offered to pay almost $100,000 legal fees and denies any wrongdoing.

Up to 80,000 Canadians could be eligible for the refund, according Montreal lawyer Philippe Trudel, who represented Lenzi. That would bring Apple's total payout to $3.6 million.

Owners who qualify for the settlement will have to spend their refund through Apple Canada's online store, but will not be able to use it on iTunes content.

'Fair, reasonable, appropriate'

Apple, in its settlement offer, said the lawyers representing the plaintiffs believe the offer is "fair, reasonable, appropriate and in their best interests."

"We encourage people to claim this credit," Trudel told the Montreal Gazette.

Lenzi had originally asked for $137.77 for a replacement battery, plus shipping and handling, $50 for inconvenience and $400 in exemplary damages. The Toronto class-action was seeking $11 million in damages, plus legal costs.

Apple settled a similar class-action lawsuit in the United States in 2005, which had an estimated payout of $15 million U.S.

The company is still facing another lawsuit in Canada regarding iPods, filed by Montreal student David Bitton last year, over the device's memory. Bitton said his iPod Nano has only 7.45 gigabytes of memory, rather than eight GB, as advertised by Apple. His lawyer is seeking class-action status and is asking for a full refund, or a 7.5-per-cent refund of the device's $220 purchase price and $75 in damages.