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Monday, July 12, 2010, 05:25 am PT (08:25 am ET)

Apple offers free repairs, replacements for faulty 2008 Time Capsules

Customers who bought a faulty Time Capsule in 2008 may be entitled to a free repair or replacement of their hardware, and those who previously paid for a fix could receive a refund, according to a recently updated Apple support document.

Last week, Apple modified the support document "Time Capsule: Does not power on," to note that some hardware sold between February and June of 2008 may not power on or may shut down expectedly after starting up. The issue affects some Time Capsules with serial numbers in the range XX807XXXXXX - XX814XXXXXX.

Users who purchased a Time Capsule in that serial number range, and whose hardware does not power on or shuts down expectedly, may be eligible for free repair or replacement. An Apple Authorized Service Provider must first confirm that the hardware is affected.

Customers in the U.S. or Japan who want to retain data on affected hardware can contact Apple to arrange mail-in service. Turnaround time is typically between 3 and 5 days. Users in all other countries can contact an Apple Retail Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider.

In addition, customers who previously paid for a repair or replacement related to a faulty 2008 Time Capsule could receive a refund. Those customers are asked to contact Apple.

"This program covers affected Time Capsule models for 3 years from their original date of purchase," the support document reads. "Apple will continue to evaluate the service data and will provide further updates to the program if needed."

Last September, AppleInsider exclusively reported on Time Capsule troubles experienced by users who own hardware purchased in 2008. Users complained that their Time Capsules were dying in a spontaneous manner.

Some speculated that the problem could lie with the device's internal power supply, which cannot be replaced. The complaints first began to crop up in July 2009.

Last September, Apple was not covering the loss of data for users if the item was replaced under warranty. However, opening a Time Capsule to retrieve the internal hard drive voids the warranty. Apple's recent update to its online support document has since rectified this issue.