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Judge OKs settlement in iPod battery suit

Buyers of players with faulty batteries will be eligible for checks or credit from an Apple store.

A Superior Court judge in San Mateo County, Calif., has given final approval to a settlement that will compensate iPod owners whose music players' batteries failed to hold a charge.

A preliminary settlement was reached in May. Under the terms of the deal, buyers of first- and second-generation iPods with battery issues who bought their iPods on or before May 31, 2004 can get either a $25 check or $50 in credit at an Apple Computer store.

Those who bought third-generation iPods on or before May 31, 2004 can either get a $50 credit or send their iPod back to Apple and have the battery fixed or get a replacement device.

People wishing to file a claim must have their paperwork postmarked by Sept. 30. For extended warranty service on third-generation iPods, buyers have until Sept. 30 or two years from the date they bought the iPod, whichever is later.

Additionally, customers who paid Apple to repair their first-, second- or third-generation iPod battery within two years of purchasing the device are eligible for a refund of half the cost of such repairs. Until recently, Apple charged $99 for those fixes, though the company now offers service for $59 via its Web site.

Under terms of the deal, battery failure is defined as a device whose battery charge has dropped to four hours or less of continuous play in third-generation iPods and five hours or less in first- and second-generation devices.

"This is a very good settlement in that it gives consumers with defective batteries what they need--to have the battery of their iPods replaced, and in some cases the whole player," Steve Williams, one of the lawyers that brought the suit, said in a statement on the Web site of his firm, Cotchett, Pitre, Simon & McCarthy.