Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

smoking apple.jpg

Word of Apple and its authorized maintenance partners’ denial of service to smokers broke when the Consumerist reported two instances where Mac users were denied service because they smoked cigarettes. A commenter on this blog said they were a victim of this “unwritten” policy, too, and it wasn’t recent.

“You better believe it. They pulled this on me in 2007. I walked out of the store dumped my $3,000 iMac G5 in a dumpster and never looked at another Apple product,” the poster wrote.

Apple corporate reportedly upheld the decision to void the warranty, even though there’s no language in the terms and conditions about smoking hazards. The rationale behind the decision: Cigarette smoke is a known carcinogen and residue that accumulates in PCs could expose technicians to cancer-causing agents.

Channel Insider relayed the report on this blog to see what VARs and solution providers who support and service Macs and other PCs think about Apple’s smoking policy. While some said that they’ve seen and touched some pretty nasty machines, a cigarette-smoking owner/user is no reason to deny service.

Here’s what a few of them said.

“I’ve seen (and smelled) some pretty nasty PCs. I will scold my clients about exposing PCs to cigarette smoke. It hasn’t stopped me from working on them, though. I don’t see how Apple can guarantee that their entire staff are smokers. They would have to in order to guarantee that they can service smokers’ PCs everywhere. I hope Apple gets their ducks back in order. They should update their warranties and service agreements before they change the policy. But I wholeheartedly agree that people should not smoke around a PC. Not even in the same HVAC zone.”

Another person wrote: “They’re nuts. This is an after-the-fact ruling. They need to uphold the agreement before they start putting in their personal convictions. I understand the tar vs. component issues, but they need to get it in writing and honor all contracts.”

“Smokescreen totally. The most ridiculous idea/excuse/BS I’ve heard of. Why Mac thinks so small and picky is beyond me. Loses much more opportunity than creating.”

Not everyone thinks the Apple policy or the actions of its partners are unjustified. As one VAR wrote, he’s seen a lot of nasty machines in his shop and has refused customers service. Here’s what he wrote:

“As any technician (not just computers) can tell you, strange things can be found in machines. I have refused to work on systems so infested with mouse droppings and urine that hantavirus was a possibility. Keyboards that have been vomited on, black widow spiders and, yes, computers so yellowed in nicotine that they are not only look bad but they stink. Filthy machines that no one should touch. Remember that computers have a ventilation system that draws air through the machine to cool it. In a smoking environment, that air is sometimes pretty thick with smoke and it builds up on components. That tar is sticky and then collects dust, creating a nice blanket of insulation, which can cause the component to overheat and fail. This should void a warranty as surely as dumping a Coke on it.”

Should service warranty terms and conditions make exceptions for smokers? Is cigarette residue really hazardous to a technician’s health? Or is this just a reason to get out of a service contract? Share your thoughts with Channel Insider.

If you have pictures of nasty, contaminated computers (Mac or PC), send them to Channel Insider. We’d love to see what you have to deal with.