updated 08:00 pm EDT, Mon August 5, 2013
Comes on heels of deaths, injuries in China where fakes are common
Following a pair of reports of Chinese citizens being badly shocked -- in at least one case to death -- from what were discovered to be counterfeit and unsafe third-party USB power adapters, Apple is launching a worldwide program to exchange the fake or "no-brand" chargers for "properly designed adapters" from Apple and dispose of the potentially dangerous ones in an "environmentally friendly" way, according to a new notice on Apple's support pages. Beginning August 16, customers with concerns will be able to exchange their adapters for genuine ones.
The program is not limited to China, despite the fact that both of the highly-publicized incidents of electrocution occurred there. Customers around the world often lose their original USB power adapters or wish to have a second one -- driving a large market for cheaper, third-party adapters.
"While not all third-party adapters have an issue," Apple writes in their introductory note, "we are announcing a USB Power Adapter Takeback Program to enable customers to acquire" adapters from Apple that have undergone "rigorous testing for safety and reliability and are designed to meet government safety standards around the world." Early failures and overheating are common concerns among buyers of non-Apple power adapters.
Customers can take any USB power adapters they have concerns about to any Apple Retail Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider and receive an authentic Apple-made USB adapter for a special price of $10 (limit one per Apple iOS device a customer owns at that price). The company says it will not test, authenticate or verify third-party chargers, just exchange them for an Apple one for the $10 cost.
Buyers who wish to participate must bring in at least one third-party USB power adapter and a matching iOS device for serial number verification in order to qualify for the discounted price. The program will run until October 18, 2013. The tech note also includes instructions on how to identify an authentic Apple USB power adapter (seen below).