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Toronto Lawyer Sues Apple After His MacBook Gets Stolen-Is Apple Responsible?

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Toronto lawyer Michael Deverett purchased a MacBook Pro and iPod touch back in 2009. As he returned to his vehicle after stopping at a convenience store, his rear window had been smashed and his Apple goodies stolen. As the Toronto Star reports, Deverett ended up suing Apple:

Deverett sued Apple, claiming that theft rings in the U.S. had been targeting Apple store customers in the same way and Apple had a duty of care to warn store customers of the danger. Apple also serviced Deverett’s stolen computer for someone else even after Deverett called to tell them it was stolen.

In the end, Deverett settled for a $2,300 store credit from Apple and legal costs of $345, but he is not alone in asking whether manufacturers of expensive and coveted merchandise could be doing more to protect customers.

A similar incident revolves around the growing trend of stolen iPhones and iPod touch units at bus stops and around public places. A university professor in Toronto had her iPhone snatched from her hands at a TTC station. Sali Tagliamonte was disappointed with Apple:

She filled out a police report. She suspended her service with Fido and called Apple to report the theft. Although staff at both companies seemed to her to be practiced at offering condolences: “We’re very sorry your phone was stolen,” she was told more than once, they didn’t offer anything else.

In the end, she paid more than $600 for another iPhone.

She complained to Apple: “It’s your civic duty to do something about this,” she told them. She received no response.

In both of these cases, should Apple be held responsible when our precious devices are stolen? When does Apple’s responsibility begin and end for customers? Well, here’s their response to the Deverett’s case, as seen from the statement filed by Apple Canada:

“Apple Canada does not owe a duty of care to customers once they have left its retail store…

It would be next to impossible to warn each customer that, depending on what part of town they may drive to next, they may be the target of a theft. Apple Canada does not owe a duty of care regarding stolen products, in particular if it is not notified by the owner. Apple Canada cannot reasonably foresee any risk of harm to customers when it does not know the product’s intended user or destination.”

I have to agree with Apple here, as much as it hurts to have something stolen from you, regardless of what it is. If your car is stolen, do you blame the auto manufacturer? What do you think? Is Apple responsible for your stolen goods?

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