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Apple Guarantees Nothing Green

David Ross holds up his iPhone warranty, delivered via snail mail instead of e-mail. Laura Sydell/NPR hide caption

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Laura Sydell/NPR

My friend David Ross decided to extend the warranty on his iPhone. He went to the Web site and filled out the online forms. A few days later he couldn't believe what he got in the mail. It was like a nesting box. He opened one cardboard box only to find another one. Inside that was his paper warranty. Ross was perplexed as to why Apple would send him all this paper. He wondered, "Haven't they heard of e-mail attachments?"

To make matters worse, they charged Ross $10 for the delivery. He called up Apple to complain and they agreed to reimburse him the $10.

I called Apple to find out why they send out all this paper and why they charged 10 bucks. I was told that the delivery should have been free. Indeed, I went to check out what would happen if I purchased a new warranty on their site and it did say free delivery.

But, free delivery of what? And why? It seems that Apple follows the same procedure with the warranties for all of its products.

An Apple spokesperson seemed as perplexed about these questions as I was. When she inquired further at Apple, they told her that buyers have the option of getting the warranty electronically. However, I went and tried this and I couldn't find any obvious way of preventing Apple from mailing me all that unnecessary paper.

The company has been trying to create a greener image. But their user warranty certainly hasn't achieved green-apple status.