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Man sues Apple over Time Capsule data loss

A British Columbia man wants $25,000 from Apple after his nearly 3-year-old wireless backup drive went belly up.

Apple's Time Capsule.
Apple's Time Capsule.

How much are your digital backups worth?

According to one one British Columbia man, copies of data from his two computers and an iPhone that were being stored on an Apple Time Capsule that went kaput, are worth $25,000.

That's the amount Perminder Tung, a resident of Surrey, B.C., seeks from Apple after the Time Capsule he was using ceased to function, taking his files with it.

In a filing (PDF) made against Apple in a Canadian small claims court earlier this week, and picked up by CBC News today, Tung accuses Apple of being in breach of contract.

"The alleged 'Time Capsule' did not encapsulate and protect the information it was intended to secure," Tung wrote in his claim. "The breach destroyed the workable character of the thing sold."

According to Tung, he purchased the Time Capsule in June 2009 and continued to use it up until the middle of last month. When he discovered the device -- which is a mix of a wireless network router and a networked storage drive -- would not turn back on, he called up Apple's support line, which wouldn't offer help after finding out it was out of warranty.

Tung then took it to an Apple retail store where he claims the person at the Genius bar told him there had been defects with the Time Capsule line before, but that his unit was not one of the ones covered as part of a separate warranty extension program. That particular program dealt with Time Capsule units released between February and June in 2008. Affected units would not turn on, or would shut down randomly.

Apple's products typically carry a one-year limited warranty, however local consumer protection laws and regulations can extend that, as has been the case for some of Apple's customers overseas. For the purposes of this claim, Tung points to the Sale of Goods Act, as well as the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act .

CNET contacted Apple for comment on the complaint. We'll update the story when we get more information.

This is not the first time Apple's Time Capsule has been the target of legal ire. The product faced legal threat after Mirror Worlds took aim at Apple for a number of software features, including its Time Machine backup technology -- a key use of the wireless networked storage drive. In October, 2010, the company won its complaint against Apple for $625 million, although Apple won a reversalof that ruling last year.