Apple Computer has agreed to reinstate its "Apple Assurance" program after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charge the computer maker with fraudulent advertising. Apple had promised customers that purchased Macintosh computers between 1992 and 1996 that they would receive free technical support, but began charging for the service in 1997. Apple has also agreed to pay back any users that paid fees once the service was discontinued.

"For prospective purchasers of computer products, free access to live technical support is especially enticing," said Jodie Bernstein, the director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection for the FTC. "Companies that make such offers have to live up to their promises."

As part of the settlement, Apple will send refund notices to every person that paid the fee, offering a check or credit card refund