Report: Apple refuses to work on some smokers’ polluted Macs

Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac According to a report from The Consumerist, “Apple is apparently telling at least some customers that the amount of cigarette smoke residue inside their computers makes it unsafe for the company to perform warranty service on them, despite the lack of such a clause in the company’s warranty agreement,” David Coursey reports for PC World.

“The Consumerist says the complaint as been raised as far as Steve Jobs’ office, with no relief for the customers involved,” Coursey reports. “The story was reported on Friday, though the Consumerist said it had sought, but failed to receive, any explanation from Apple HQ over a period of months. (The site is part of the Consumers Union/Consumer Reports organization, so I deem the report credible).”

Coursey reports, “First, that Apple–presuming they are not merely trying to avoid warranty claims, which seems far-fetched–would not send the customers a refurbished Mac as a replacement for the smokehouse Macs… Second, my hazardous materials training has taught me that however dangerous smoke residue may be, there is a way to deal with it. With its billions, Apple could buy a containment chamber where work could be done in a completely different atmosphere from where the technician stood.”

“Imagine one of those chambers that lab workers use, inserting their hands through holes in the box into permanently attached gloves. Only the gloves and a set of tools from inside the box touch the computer,” Coursey suggests, apparently with a straight face. “If something along this line is good enough for smallpox and Ebola, it will probably protect someone from a smoky Mac.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lava_Head_UK” for the heads up.]


  1. Let them work out side on them and let the technicians that smoke smoke while they work on them. They will jump at the opportunity to smoke while they work. There will be a line of technicians wanting to take their turn at it!

  2. On Freerepublic one of our Mac Ping list members called Apple Support and was told by Randy this was not true… Apple does not refuse to work on smoker’s Macs. This is pure FUD.

  3. As a former Apple Genius, I have on several occasions told a customer that I would not work on their smoked-out Mac Pro/Power Mac. As a smoker myself at the time, it was probably partially the reason I quit smoking. I can’t believe the how disgusting some people are. Smoking IS NOT A PROTECTED CLASS!

    p.s. clean your computer before brining it to the bar

  4. Gotta love the internet… anyone can post a bogus story about most anything and most everyone believes it.

    I’m thinking of writing a story about how Apple refused to sell me a new iMac because I got divorced and they were worried I wouldn’t be taking it to a stable home. Or better yet… how about the new iTunes Store policy that prevents people of color from using the Genius suggestions?


  5. Back in the day of working in the service department, we used 409 when we got these Macs. You could spray the case and watch it turn brown as it ran down the case.
    Everything inside was coated with a layer of tan sludge. It looked as if someone sprayed the entire inside with light brown spraypaint.

    Those were the worst to work on.

  6. As much as I hate people who smoke, Apple should not deny a repair because it deems there is too much smoke residue without having written guidelines in place. Those guidelines should explain what constitutes too much residue and how Apple determines that fact. The guidelines should also explicitly state what Apple will or will not do. Perhaps Apple can repair and clean the machine for an additional fee – an extra $150 to pay for the extra protection for it’s employees. For example, Avis now charges a $200 cleanup fee if it smells smoke in the car. (What is unclear is how one proves one did not smoke if Avis says the rental car smells like smoke upon return of the car.) Until there is written guidance from Apple – and folks should be grandfathered into policy at the time the machine / AppleCare was purchased – Apple should repair the machines as stipulated in the agreement.

  7. @FightingMongoose… as a former Apple Genius, I really have a difficult time believing that you wouldn’t register with MDN so your comments carry some validity. I call bogus!!!

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