A class-action suit against Apple for iPhone 4 antenna reception problems has reached a settlement in the “antennagate” case, with a preliminary approval granting U.S. residents who bought the phone either $15 in cash or a bumper case from Apple.
According to CNET, the preliminary approval was made on Friday afternoon in a settlement of 18 consolidated lawsuits. The combined suit alleged that Apple was “misrepresenting and concealing material information in the marketing, advertising, sale and servicing of its iPhone 4 — particularly as it relates to the quality of the mobile phone antenna and reception and related software.”
More information is forthcoming about the class action suit, which has its own website to handle claims. iPhone4settlement.com is not operational yet, but when it goes online, those who bought an iPhone 4 can find information about how to claim their $15 or iPhone Bumper from Apple.
When Apple released the iPhone 4 in June of 2010, it didn’t take long for customers to discover reception problems with the new design of the phone. Complaints of dropped calls and diminished reception swirled around the Internet, picking up the nickname “antennagate.”
The reception problem was traced to a gap in the metal casing around the phone, which also served as the antenna. Two sections of that antenna were bridged by the palms of users’ hands as they held the phone. At first, Apple’s late CEO Steve Jobs accused users of improperly holding the iPhone, telling his customers to “Just avoid holding it in that way.” After delaying three weeks, Apple offered either a full refund of the iPhone or a free bumper case that solved the reception problems. Giving away all those bumper cases to iPhone 4 users cost Apple $175 million.
It’s unknown so far if customers who already received one bumper case from Apple would be able to receive another as a settlement for this lawsuit. However, it stands to reason that whether customers choose to receive the $15 payment or the bumper case, they’re entitled to an additional settlement whether or not they received Apple’s bumper case in 2010.
We’ve contacted Apple for comment about the lawsuit and information about the settlement, and will update this post when we get a response.
UPDATE: We spoke with Apple’s Director of iPhone Public Relations Natalie Harrison, who said “This settlement relates to a small number of customers who indicated they experienced antenna or reception issues with their iPhone 4 and didn’t want to take advantage of a free case from Apple while it was being offered in 2010.”
So if you got a free bumper case for your newly purchased iPhone 4 in 2010, you won’t be getting another free one, or the $15, according to Harrison. This settlement will only involve those iPhone 4 buyers who didn’t want a free bumper case, nor did they want to return an iPhone 4 for a full refund.