Apple has reached a settlement with disgruntled consumers over faulty batteries in early models of its iPod portable music player.
The settlement ends a class action lawsuit brought by consumers at a court in California, where Apple is headquartered, and effectively amounts to an admission of guilt in the case.
The plaintiffs alleged that Apple shipped iPods with faulty batteries that would drain in as little as four hours, well short of the 10-12 hours that the company promised in its marketing material.
Some batteries also saw a significant drop in performance over time, often after the warranty had expired.
Under the terms of the agreement, Apple will offer free replacements for iPods with a faulty battery or a $50 credit to be spent on Apple products or $25 cash. The deal is limited to iPods sold in the US before 31 May 2004.
About two million consumers will qualify for the the reimbursement, which could end up costing Apple $100m if a judge approves the settlement.
Apple has for a long time denied that there was anything wrong with its iPod batteries, but in November 2003 launched a battery replacement programme that charged consumers $99. The other alternative offered by the company was to buy a new iPod.
Consumers who paid the $99 for a new battery can ask for $49.50 back in cash, according to the terms of the settlement. Claims can be filed at a specially created website here.
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