LifeProof Balks At Paying For Water Damaged iPhone

LifeProof is a company that makes cases for smartphones that are among other things, drop, dust, and water resistant. They also advertise that their cases are made to the IP-68 standard. Thus if you want a case that protects your phone, this should be the one. Right?

Not according to a family in Sudbury Ontario. Here’s what happened to them according to the CBC:

A Sudbury mom wants a company to stop advertising its cell phone cases as waterproof after her son’s device was damaged. 

“They should be responsible for what they’re protecting, which is the phone,” Lisa Allen said.

“Otherwise, they shouldn’t be advertising it as waterproof.”

Allen’s 17-year-old son, Spencer, recently bought a LifeProof iPhone cover for $80 to protect it from bumps, scratches and water damage.

But his phone stopped working properly after he said he accidentally forgot it in his pocket when he took a dip in the water. 

That’s bad. But the problem is so was the response of LifeProof:

LifeProof spokesperson, Jordan Vater, told CBC News that he is sorry to hear about Allen’s incident.

But he said his company does not offer reimbursements for the cost of their devices.

“While we test all of our product designs and verify our results with an accredited third-party testing facility, in addition to water testing every individual case before it leaves our facilities, there are several factors out of our control that make it impossible to warranty devices,” Vater wrote.

“Factors such as proper installation, correctly sealed port covers and the current condition of the device and case all play a role in keeping a phone safe during a drop or exposure to water.”

Here’s what’s problematic. When you go to their website, they say this when it comes to being waterproof:

All cases are factory water tested. Then random units undergo additional inspection, including a 2nd water test. Cases that pass are shipped. Cases that fail are scrapped.

You can be certain your new LifeProof case is leak free. We made sure of it!

I found that statement here. Now I did not find anywhere on their site where they say that they will replace phones that get damaged because their cases didn’t protect them. That to me says that you shouldn’t expect LifeProof to pony up for the cost of this phone. Having said that, the optics of this situation suck.

Here’s the thing. On one hand, consumers should be aware that nothing is “anything” proof. Thus you should not rely on a case to protect your phone from damage. Instead, you should see a case as a way to do damage mitigation. Having said that, people who make these cases should set clear expectations that their cases are not “anything” proof. In this case, LifeProof has pretty much set itself up to be at the wrong end of a news story because of the way they advertise their cases. Thus, they may wish to reconsider how they market their products as a result of this because this will not be the last time they have to deal with negative PR like this.

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