Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Product warranty, Samsung style

December 10, 2013: 8:27 AM ET

Will replace a Galaxy S4 that caught fire, but only in return for the owner's silence.

Wygand with burned-out Galaxy S4

Wygand with burned-out Galaxy S4

FORTUNE -- One difference between Apple (AAPL) and Samsung is how they handle customer complaints.

When a Chinese flight attendant died last summer, apparently by electrocution from an iPhone plugged into a third-party charger, Apple did three things:

  • It offered its condolences,
  • It promised to investigate,
  • It launched a worldwide USB Power Adapter Takeback Program, offering to replace any non-Apple USB power adapters with one of its own for a little less than half off ($10 rather than $19).

When Richard Wygand, a Canadian racing enthusiast, complained to Samsung that his Galaxy S4 caught fire while charging overnight, the company asked for video proof.

Fair enough.

But when Wygand posted the video on his GhostlyRich YouTube channel and tweeted about it, the company offered to replace the phone (which was still under warranty) with a similar model only if...

  • Wygand removed the video and didn't repost it,
  • Promised not to issue any more statements about the incident,
  • Signed the form attached below irrevocably releasing Samsung from any claims by Wygand, his successors, his associates or his servants.

Wygand, accustomed to Apple's product warranty policies -- and hoping perhaps to boost his YouTube viewership -- declined the offer and instead went public, posting a second video last week:

[Thanks to BGR's Zach Epstein for spotting it. The statement Samsung gave Business Insider: "Samsung takes the safety and security of our customers very seriously. Our Samsung Canada team is in touch with the customer and is investigating the issue."]

Below: Samsung's form (with names etc. removed). Apple has also been known to require a signee's silence, and its legal boilerplate is, if anything, even denser and more inscrutable. But it usually doesn't mention "servants."

  1. FULL AND FINAL RELEASE
  2. WHEREAS SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CANADA INC. ("SAMSUNG") AND ***** ("***") have agreed to settle all matters between them relating to a Samsung Smart phone ("Phone") model number SGH-I337ZKARWC serial number ************(the "Matters"):
  3. IN CONSIDERATION of SAMSUNG exchanging this phone with a similar model to *** after collecting the above mentioned product.
  4. As a condition of exchanging the phone with a similar model, *** agrees to remove his Youtube video from the following link
  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dc4duKuPrQ0 or any other link or statement relating to these matters and refrain from making other videos or statements about or relating to the matters set out herein.
  6. AND FOR THE SAID CONSIDERATION, **, on behalf of himself and for his heirs, successors, executors, administrators, agents, assigns, and for any person claiming through or under him, DOES HEREBY IRREVOCABLY RELEASE, REMISE, QUIT CLAIM AND FOREVER DISCHARGE SAMSUNG, including any predecessors, successors, assigns, shareholders, members, officers, agents, directors, employees, associates, servants, associated corporations, insurers, whether past or present of, from and against any and all manner of actions, causes of action, suits, complaints, proceedings, liabilities, debts, sums of money, obligations, duties, dues, accounts, interests, bonds, covenants, contracts, claims, damages and demands whatsoever, whether known or unknown, which *** ever had, now has, can, shall or may hereafter have against SAMSUNG by any reason or by any act, omission, cause, matter, or thing whatsoever arising from, out of, or in connection with the matters and allegations arising out of the Matters.
  7. AND FOR THE SAID CONSIDERATION *** agrees that he will at all times maintain the confidentiality of this settlement and will not divulge, either directly or indirectly, in any manner whatsoever, the terms, details, facts, or related discussions about this settlement to any persons for any reason whatsoever. In addition, ** hereto shall maintain confidentiality with respect to the evidence adduced in relation to the Matters, including all documentation produced by ** and SAMSUNG and will not divulge any such evidence, either directly or indirectly, in any manner whatsoever.
  8. AND FOR THE SAID CONSIDERATION** agrees not to make any claim or take any proceedings against any other person or corporation who might claim contribution or indemnity as against SAMSUNG under the provision or the Negligence Act and the amendments thereto, in respect of the subject matter of this Full and Final Release.
  9. Initial___________
  10. IT IS AGREED AND UNDERSTOOD that the aforementioned settlement is deemed to be no admission whatsoever of liability on the part of SAMSUNG, and that any such liability is denied.
  11. IT IS FURTHER AGREED AND UNDERSTOOD that if ** hereafter makes or publishes any claims or demands or takes or threatens to take any action or other proceeding against SAMSUNG on the basis of any of the claims discharged by this Full and Final Release, then this Full and Final Release may be raised by SAMSUNG as an estoppel to any such claim, demand or proceeding.
  12. AND IT IS FURTHER AGREED AND UNDERSTOOD that this Full and Final Release shall be binding upon the heirs, executors, administrators, successors and assigns or successors of assigns, as the case may be, of ***.
  13. IT IS HEREBY DECLARED that the terms of this Full and Final Release are fully understood and that the said Full and Final Release is given voluntarily for the purpose of making a full and final compromise, adjustment, and settlement of all claims.
  14. *** may deliver via facsimile an executed copy of the Full and Final release which shall be binding upon her but shall forthwith thereafter deliver to SAMSUNG an originally executed copy of this Full and Final Release.
  15. IN WITNESS WHEREOF ** has hereunto set his hand and executed this Full and Final Release this ______________ day of December, 2013.
  16. IN THE PRESENCE OF
  17. _____________________________ ______________________________
  18. Witness ***
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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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