Moron of the Week: Lee Chul-ho 

Mark Gurman at 9 to 5 Mac:

A 13 year-old iPhone user will be going to court against Apple Korea next month over an iPhone 3G repair dispute. Back in October of this year the 13 year-old’s father asked for $251 in compensation from Apple after they refused to fix his daughter’s iPhone 3G, despite the one year warranty. Apple claimed they could not fix his daughter’s iPhone for free as it apparently had water damage, according to the trivial water sensors, which the family denied causing. After this, an attorney for Apple’s Korean front attempted to settle with the family under the table in exchange for the family keeping quiet and not speaking of the incident to the press.

Gurman has a quote from the kid’s dad, Lee Chul-ho:

Although we filed the suit to receive the repair fees, the ultimate purpose of the suit was aimed at demanding that Apple improve its service policy so that people facing similar situations can get back unjustly paid repair expenses. There is no point of raising the suit if only one individual gets compensation.

This isn’t the first time Apple has been sued by someone over this issue. Earlier this year, a California woman opened a class-action lawsuit against the company after claiming she had know idea how her phone’s liquid indicators were tripped.

Here is a section from Apple’s document on the issue:

These indicators will be activated when they come in direct contact with water or a liquid containing water. They are designed not to be triggered by humidity and temperature changes that are within the product’s environmental requirements described by Apple.

These liquid indicators are from “trivial,” however, as Gurman[1. You remember Mark Gurman, right?] suggests — from my experience, it takes actual liquid to trip them. There was a report out earlier this year stating something as simple as a temperature change could trip the sensors, but that report seems to be an outlier, and doesn’t fit into what I saw first-hand at Apple. Also, if Apple knew the sensors could be tripped by something as simple as cold air, why would they give thousands of customers each year bad news?

That said, Apple recently changed its policy to be more favorable to iPod users. Zach Epstein at Boy Genius Report:

Previously, the presence of an activated LCI within the headphone jack was cause enough for employees to state that an iPod may have been damaged by water or another liquid. Now, employees must first inspect the iPod for other signs of liquid damage before reaching that conclusion. It is currently not known if the new policy applies to iPhone models as well.

It is unclear if iPhone customers get the same benefit of the doubt, as Apple hasn’t publicly altered their policy.

Everybody lies. Teenagers do it more that most. My money is on that this Korean kid accidentally got her iPhone wet and didn’t want to get in trouble. In my years behind a Genius Bar, I saw tons of people claim they didn’t know how their devices’ liquid indicators got tripped. This Korean kid is no different.