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iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, and iPad mini 5W USB Power Adapter. (Apple.com)
iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, and iPad mini 5W USB Power Adapter. (Apple.com)

Apple’s USB charger trade-in plan after electrocution death is not a recall Add to ...

Apple Inc. is offering to replace third-party USB phone chargers after a Chinese woman’s death was linked to answering her iPhone while it was plugged into an electrical socket.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based consumer electronics firm announced its “USB Power Adapter Takeback Program” after reports that the cable in the fatal incident was either a counterfeit, or improperly designed by outside manufacturers.

As Reuters reported, China’s state news agency Xinhua said Ma Ailun, a 23-year-old woman from China’s western Xinjiang region and a flight attendant with China Southern Airlines, was electrocuted on July 11, 2013. The story began as a sensation on the Sina Weibo microblog service after Ms. Ma’s sister wrote that the woman collapsed and died after using her charging iPhone 5.

Apple has said it’s investigating the events that lead to Ms. Ma’s death.

In the meantime, it has posted on its support site a notification that for a limited time it will sell authorized, official iPad, iPod or iPhone power adapters for $10 (about half price) if customers turn in their old, potentially fake gear.

“Starting August 16, 2013, if you have concerns about any of your USB power adapters, you can drop them off at an Apple Retail Store or at an Apple Authorized Service Provider. We will ensure that these adapters are disposed of in an environmentally friendly way.”

Apple has sold tens of millions of its devices and an ecosystem of third-party accessories (cases, speaker docks, car adapters, chargers of all types) has sprung up to service those iFans. While it’s not in charge of the manufacturing and design of that third-party gear, Apple could suffer by association if it didn’t address user fears on the safety of equipment made by these unofficial partners.

The company stressed that it wouldn’t be offering evaluations of your third-party gear, it’s just a straight-up trade of non-Apple stuff for the discounted real thing.

They even provide a link to images that will help you identify if what you think is an Apple USB power adapter is actually a counterfeit (click here).

The offer expires after October 18, 2013. Customers were directed to visit either Apple Retail Stores (find them here) or an Apple Authorized Service Provider (search for those here).

With files from Reuters

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  • Apple Inc
  • Updated August 23 12:30 PM EDT. Delayed by at least 15 minutes.

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