Following a customer lawsuit, Amazon says it will replace models of its popular Kindle e-reader that have been cracked by a cover for the device that it sells as an accessory.
The move marks a shift in Amazon's previous position, which was to charge customers $200 to replace the device because the damage wasn't covered under the warranty.
Cracks eventually caused the Kindle screen to freeze, according to law firm Terrell Marshall & Daudt, which represents plaintiff Matthew Geise in the case. (Geise requested from the court that the complaint be a class-action suit representing all Kindle customers affected by the flaw.)
Intrepid reportage by InformationWeek has Amazon's comment:
"We do not comment on active litigation," spokeswoman Cinthia Portugal said in a statement e-mailed to InformationWeek. "Nevertheless, we encourage anyone who has an issue with the cover attachment mechanism to return the cover and device for a free replacement so we can investigate further."
The reversed decision to service affected Kindle devices is huge: Amazon sells the Kindle 2 for $299 and the larger Kindle DX for $489. A $200 repair charge amounts to 66% of the purchase price of the Kindle 2 and 40% of the already hefty price of the large-format DX.
(Above image courtesy Gizmodo's Matt Buchanan, who cracked his Kindle all by himself.)