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Is Apple (s aapl) responsible for thefts of its products that happen after a user takes possession? I’m inclined to answer with a resounding “no,” but that’s not how everyone feels, according to a recently concluded lawsuit by a Toronto-based lawyer (via The Toronto Star).
Michael Deverett sued Apple after his new MacBook Pro, an iPod touch, cables and software were stolen from his car immediately following a purchase at the Apple Store in Toronto’s Yorkdale Mall. The grounds for his suit? Apple has “a duty of care” to warn store customers about the potential threat of theft, since, Deverett claimed, rings of thieves in the U.S. have been directly targeting Apple Store customers for some time now.
Deverett managed to settle for $2,300, roughly the cost of his stolen goods, as well as $345 in legal fees, but I tend to agree with Apple’s statement in the court filings that “[i]t 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,” and that as a result “Apple Canada does not owe a duty of care regarding stolen products, in particular if it is not notified by the owner.”
But Deverett also says that his MacBook Pro was serviced by Apple even after being reported stolen, which is a much more valid cause for concern. When similar issues regarding stolen iPhones were brought up earlier this year, however, TheNextWeb’s Matt Brian rightly pointed out the policy might have more to do with protecting employee safety than an unwillingness to help out.
Apple already provides Find My iPhone and Find My Mac tools to help those who’ve lost devices potentially recover them; that’s more than most other electronics manufacturers can currently say. Deverett seems to think that’s not enough. Does anyone else agree?