Apple wants your old USB cords

After safety concerns arise in China, Apple now offers a special rate on USB power cords as part of its Adapter Takeback program.

Kim Kyung-Hoon/ Reuters/ File
A man talks on an iPhone in Beijing. Apple has a limited-time USB trade-in program, which promises to dispose of old USB cords in an environmentally friendly way.

Apple is offering $10 USB power adapters to customers from August 16 until October 18, according to a company press release. To qualify for the exchange, customers must bring in their old USB power adapters, along with their iPhone, iPad, or iPod for serial-number validation. There is a limit of one new USB cord per device.  

“Recent reports have suggested that some counterfeit and third party adapters may not be designed properly and could result in safety issues,” reads Apple’s press release. The company instituted the Takeback Program to make sure customers are connected with safe cords.

As part of the Takeback Program, Apple is also encouraging users to drop off any of their old USB power adapters at Apple Stores, or an authorized Apple dealer. The company promises to dispose of the discarded chargers in an “environmentally-friendly way.”

The press release comes several weeks after a Chinese stewardess, Ma Ailun, was reportedly electrocuted making a call on her iPhone. Ms. Ma is believed to have been using a third-party – or counterfeit – charger at the time of her death.

Apple did not comment on the details of the case. The company issued a statement expressing sadness about this “tragic incident” and promised to “investigate and cooperate with authorities” in investigations, according to an article from Reuters.

Another report surfaced from China about a man receiving severe electric shock while plugging in an iPhone 4 with a third-party charger.

In 2008, Apple advised iPhone 3G users to replace the device's power adapter after the company received reports of the metal prongs breaking off the adapter and remaining lodged in power outlets, creating risk of electric shock, according to MacRumor

Apple’s website has a section, with pictures, to help customers identify counterfeit USB adapters.

An Apple USB power adapter for the iPhone 5 usually costs $19 in the Apple Store, whereas the counterfeit adapter can be purchased online for $3 or less. 

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