Apple Offers Trade-In Deal After Knock-Off iPhone Adapters Electrocute 2

Inside a coffee shop, a newly released, black, Apple iPhone 5 sits face up on a metal countertop next to Apple's Lightning Connection cable. The iPhone 5 became available to public on Friday, September 21, 2012.
If you tried to save some money by buying a cheap off-brand adapter for your iPhone, Apple is offering to let you trade it in and get the real thing for half-off.

Apple (AAPL) is noted for its big markups on basic peripherals like earbuds, charging cords, A/C adapters, and dock adapters to connect the new iPhone 5's to previous iPhone peripherals. So Apple users sometimes turn to third-party sellers who sell much cheaper versions of the same products. For instance, a USB charging/data cord that costs $19 on the Apple website can be had for just $1.05 on this third-party site. I've got this particular model, and it works just as well as the real thing.

But not every knockoff is up to the standards you might hope. Recently, two people in China were electrocuted, one fatally, while using iPhones plugged into counterfeit adapters. And even the ones that don't kill you can still leave something to be desired in the quality department -- some third-party iPhone 5 adapters allow charging but not data transfer, for instance.

With this in mind -- and because "Customer safety is a top priority at Apple," the company announced a "Takeback Program" this week that will let customers bring in their third-party or counterfeit adapters, and receive the real thing for $10. The trade-in program applies only to the USB power adapter, which normally costs $19 and allows you to plug your USB charging cable directly into the wall.

You can only get one discounted adapter per iPhone, iPad or iPod, so you'll have to bring in the relevant device along with the offending adapter so they can check the serial number. That should prevent anyone from abusing the system by buying up a bunch of counterfeit adapters, trading them in, and then re-selling the genuine Apple goods. The program will from Aug. 16 to Oct. 18.

It's a good move for Apple, which gets to show its commitment to user safety -- and it'll probably still make a margin even on the discounted items. And if it means that there are no more fires or electrocutions from sketchy adapters, everyone wins.

Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Intro to Retirement

Get started early planning for your long term future.

View Course »

Economics 101

Intro to economics. But fun.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:
RH Andersen

Kudos to Apple for putting customer focus above profits.

August 08 2013 at 3:03 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Electrocution is fatal so one got electrocuted and one got shocked

August 08 2013 at 10:11 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to yooperusa's comment

My boyfriend is an electrician and it is a major pet peeve of his when these words are used interchangeably.

August 08 2013 at 12:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to betterthanpiie's comment

From The Oxford Dictionaries...

Definition of electrocute in English
Syllabification: (e·lec·tro·cute)
Pronunciation: /iˈlektrəˌkyo͞ot/
injure or kill someone by electric shock:
a man was electrocuted when he switched on the Christmas tree lights
execute (a convicted criminal) by means of the electric chair.

August 12 2013 at 1:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down

We are rewarding counterfitters

August 08 2013 at 9:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well it's about time the Chinese suffered from their cheap copies like the rest of the world does!

August 08 2013 at 4:32 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

i know this has nothing to do with the article, but why are the cords on the chargers so short?

August 07 2013 at 7:08 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to katmogie's comment

Probably to save money on material --

August 08 2013 at 8:26 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

My guess is if the counterfeiters can sell it for $1.05 then Apple can make them cheaper than that. Even if it costs Apple a few dollars, they are still making huge margins. It is a generous offer to the public and their customers but I think it is more a publicity stunt. In all fairness, I do have an iphone5.

August 07 2013 at 5:16 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Newsflash, writer. You can't have two people "electrocuted" and only one of them died. By definition, that is impossible.

August 07 2013 at 2:54 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to charpist5's comment

People survive lightning strikes, I'm pretty sure by definition being struck by lightning qualifies as being electrocuted.

August 08 2013 at 1:43 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

It is no secret that Apple charges more for their products. If you cannot afford their prices go buy a Dell..a HP..etc. Stop complaining about something that is your fault.

August 07 2013 at 12:54 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Two persons were electrocuted, one fatally is like saying two people were murdered, one fatally:)

August 07 2013 at 10:41 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to nylp93's comment
Alphonso Carioti

I know...I'm shocked!

August 07 2013 at 12:40 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

An understandable mistake on your part...a person who is injured by an electric shock has been "electrocuted"...even if they don't die. Similarly...a person who is injured by immersion in a liquid and inhalation of that liquid into their lungs has "drowned" even if they don't die. Thankfully, there are many electrocutions and drownings which do not result in death.

August 07 2013 at 1:42 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Jeri Taylor Walker

When we got our iPhone 5's, Apple neglected to have car chargers available, so I had to make a trip to an Apple store over 40 miles away and paid $30 for an adapter to make my car charger compatable for the iPhone 4 to 5. Then spending another $20 for an extra cord so I could plug in my USB on my car charger. Moral to the story: Apple, you're making more than enough money to keep sticking it to your customers. If you made accessories more affordable, these cheap knockoff's wouldn't be so appealing.

August 07 2013 at 1:56 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jeri Taylor Walker's comment

Yes, Apple is making a killing off of peripherals, but they make sure to make stuff that doesn't kill their customers. That's bad for business.

August 07 2013 at 12:00 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply