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Allegedly faulty iPhone 4 power button target of new class action lawsuit against Apple

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 
A Florida woman last week lodged a class action lawsuit complaint against Apple reagrding an issue with the iPhone 4's power button, saying the company continued sales of the handset despite knowing of the problem.

iPhone 4 Power Button
iPhone 4 power button flex cable. | Source: iFixit


Filed with the U.S. Disctrict Court for the Northern District of California, the suit leveled by Debra Hilton claims an inherent design flaw in the iPhone 4 causes the unit's power button to fail shortly after the one year warranty expires. Further, Apple supposedly knew of the failing component, yet did nothing to resolve the issue, and instead touted the device as "an innovative technological marvel."

According to the court document, first discovered by GigaOm, the plaintiff alleges the flex cable dedicated to power button operation slowly deteriorates, making it increasingly difficult to press. After a certain number of actuations, the component completely fails, rendering much of the iPhone 4 useless.

The complaint cites posts from Apple's own Support Community, saying "hundreds" of customers complained of the problem.

In two counts, the suit leverages the RICO act against Apple's associated-in-fact enterprise with AT&T. Supposed racketeering charges are also leveled, and cite sent correspondence to the wireless carrier touting the benefits of the iPhone 4 while not including information about the alleged power button defect. With the promotional materials, Apple purportedly committed wire and mail fraud, which could constitute a pattern of racketeering.

Hilton is seeking $5 million in damages, with the possibility of trebling, for any iPhone 4 owner who purchased their device from Apple or AT&T, lawyer fees and a stoppage of sales for defective units.

post #2 of 51

"I manhandle my possessions. I broke my Power button. I demand a replacement for free for breaking both my possession and my warranty."

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #3 of 51

BREAKING!: Push buttons wear out!

 

This case should be tossed and the plaintiff should be fined for filing a frivolous lawsuit.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #4 of 51
Jeez, here we go again. How's about we call this one "PowerGate"??

Really, we need to place accountability not only to the person filing the lawsuit, but the the dumb$$ attorney thinking he has a case.

So out of the untold millions of iPhone4's sold globally, a "few hundred" warrants a lawsuit? Unfrickenbelievable.
post #5 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

"I manhandle my possessions. I broke my Power button. I demand a replacement for free for breaking both my possession and my warranty."

"Impossible your honor, my client being a 'woman' could not have possibly 'manhandled' anything"
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #6 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


"Impossible your honor, my client being a 'woman' could not have possibly 'manhandled' anything"


Surely, a woman manhandling anything is ripe for filing a harassment lawsuit!

post #7 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


"Impossible your honor, my client being a 'woman' could not have possibly 'manhandled' anything"

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QbXXWIIXjo

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

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post #8 of 51
Florida, huh?

Need to top up the retirement fund, huh?
Apple Products: So good that their ‘faulty' products outsell competitor’s faultless ones...
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Apple Products: So good that their ‘faulty' products outsell competitor’s faultless ones...
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post #9 of 51

If it fails after the warranty then I fail to see how it is a defect.

 

A company that knows when components will fail and sets their warranty accordingly has done their homework.

post #10 of 51

Slowly deteriorates? Yes, welcome to the world of physics. It is rough and unforgiving, but if it makes you feel better, we are all in it together. Oh! The humanity!

post #11 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QbXXWIIXjo

Curses, foiled again. lol.gif
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
post #12 of 51

I must have gotten lucky having used mine for 2 years and 4 or 5 months

post #13 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The complaint cites posts from Apple's own Support Community, saying "hundreds" of customers complained of the problem.

In two counts, the suit leverages the RICO act against Apple's associated-in-fact enterprise with AT&T. Supposed racketeering charges are also leveled, and cite sent correspondence to the wireless carrier touting the benefits of the iPhone 4 while not including information about the alleged power button defect. With the promotional materials, Apple purportedly committed wire and mail fraud, which could constitute a pattern of racketeering.

Hilton is seeking $5 million in damages, with the possibility of trebling, for any iPhone 4 owner who purchased their device from Apple or AT&T, lawyer fees and a stoppage of sales for defective units.
 

 

This is beyond fricking belief. RICO? How about bozo! This is the first I have heard of this. I realize that doesn't mean it is not a problem. It could be, but I think if Apple new about this obsolescence because a failure of the power button there would have been much more news. All the same I have a hard time thinking Apple wouldn't have fixed an issue like this that would have cost so little to fix. I just don't see a conspiracy here.

 

Even if it was 100's of iPhones out of the more than 100 million iPhone 4s sold we are talking way less than a ten-thousandth of a percent failure rate. I would say that is an acceptable failure rate for most products. Even if they knew about this failure after one year I don't think she would have a case--certainly not one that merits $5 million in damages much less triple damages. This suit is ridiculous and should be thrown out of court.

post #14 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

"I manhandle my possessions. I broke my Power button. I demand a replacement for free for breaking both my possession and my warranty."

 

Just keep in mind that all manufacturers get sued for stuff like this, including Samsung, HTC, Blackberry, GE, Whirlpool, Maytag, Sony, etc. We only hear about it if it concerns Apple. And we already know the result, a settlement admitting no liability, a $5 coupon, and a few million for the lawyers. Lather, rinse, repeat.

 

This stuff is no longer news. It's the cost of doing business.

post #15 of 51
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post
And we already know the result, a settlement admitting no liability, a $5 coupon, and a few million for the lawyers. Lather, rinse, repeat.

 

Should be jail time for the people bringing it forward and disbarment for the lawyers.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply
post #16 of 51
the power button on my 4 failed after about eight months. it got to the point where it barely popped back out after i pressed it, and that was a slow progression over a couple months. but i took it to apple and they replaced the phone and it's worked fine ever since.

hardly worth the pain and suffering of dealing with an attorney to file this type of class action suit; do attorneys go looking for someone who has experienced the type of problem that they, the attorney, want to sue over?
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appleinsider's mike campbell, august 15, 2013
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"Personally, I would like nothing more than to thoroughly proof each and every word of my articles before posting. But I can't."

appleinsider's mike campbell, august 15, 2013
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post #17 of 51
She went and did it, she called Saul.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
post #18 of 51

So pathetic that our courts allow individuals (and their Attorney's) to make mockery of the court system (it this lawsuit gets in).  This is a complete waste of time and complete greed on her part (5MM really?) - greed, greed, greed.

post #19 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

"I manhandle my possessions. I broke my Power button. I demand a replacement for free for breaking both my possession and my warranty."

 

That's rather a simplistic argument.

 

I manhandled my iPhone 4 and the power button broke, similarly, just after the warranty expired.  I do not believe I broke it, mostly because I hardly ever use the power button.

 

I don't however believe I am entitled to anything from Apple - the warranty was one year, and I consider I was unlucky.  If it happens again on my iPhone 5, I'll probably switch to a different phone manufacturer, as is my right as a consumer.

 

Lets not pretend though that this woman somehow deserved this happening to her.  There was something wrong with that button.  Were it not for the fact that my phones are given to me for free by my company, I'd be annoyed by something so simple breaking so soon after purchase.

post #20 of 51
$5 Million dollar settlement? Dream on lady. This problem is NOT worth $5 Million dollar settlement. Now THIS is a frivolous lawsuit.
post #21 of 51

Forget this what about the disgraceful G5 17" imac screen scam by Apple. I had two G5's and one day a pink vertical line sometimes changing to blue occasionally appeared then disappeared. Often popping up in different spots. Long story short this started on both G5's and gradually increased to a plethora of permanent lines over a two year period until it was virtually unusable.

 

This is well outside the warranty. But in looking for clues to this behaviour I discover that there are hundreds of people similarly confused over the years. By the time I realised that this is a manufacturing fault, like everyone else, one just moves on. I didn't really want to upgrade when I did the G5's were perfectly adequate for what I wanted to do.

 

Point is that only 17" G5's were affected, not other monitors, other lcd's even other 20" G5's but hundreds (if one extrapolates the many posts about this over the years, probably thousands) of 17" G5's. 

 

Why no class action here? I guess because there's no power base of G5 17" users. Divide and conquer. 

post #22 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnalogJack View Post

Forget this what about the disgraceful G5 17" imac screen scam by Apple. I had two G5's and one day a pink vertical line sometimes changing to blue occasionally appeared then disappeared. Often popping up in different spots. Long story short this started on both G5's and gradually increased to a plethora of permanent lines over a two year period until it was virtually unusable.

 

This is well outside the warranty. But in looking for clues to this behaviour I discover that there are hundreds of people similarly confused over the years. By the time I realised that this is a manufacturing fault, like everyone else, one just moves on. I didn't really want to upgrade when I did the G5's were perfectly adequate for what I wanted to do.

 

Point is that only 17" G5's were affected, not other monitors, other lcd's even other 20" G5's but hundreds (if one extrapolates the many posts about this over the years, probably thousands) of 17" G5's. 

 

Why no class action here? I guess because there's no power base of G5 17" users. Divide and conquer. 

 

This is well outside the warrantyWhy no class action here?  Perhaps because some tiny fraction of devices failing (well outside of warranty) isn't grounds for suing?  You think Apple intentionally designed the product so a small percentage of them would fair in a weird way to inconvenience their customers?  Perhaps some shady supplier said "psst, here are some defective screens (well ok they work fine now but in a few year...) why don't you use them to save a couple bucks?" Or more likely Apple had some bad luck with some batches of screens.  Bummer.  Caveat emptor.

 

I don't believe this is what RICO was created to address.  

post #23 of 51
So were is the document that proves it was designed to fail just after the warranty expired? what about people with extended Applecare? do their phones get a secret software patch that prevents the button from wearing out until a year later?

I have had a number of iOS devices in my family and this is the first I have even heard about a power button failing - and the list includes at least six iPhone 4 and a iPhone 4S.

The iPod Touch Home Button on the other hand - that sucker doesn't seem to work half the time - but that is the child's device.
post #24 of 51
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post
what about people with extended Applecare? do their phones get a secret software patch that prevents the button from wearing out until a year later?

 

That takes "We'll fix it in software" to a new level. Only Apple!

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply
post #25 of 51

This happened to my daughters phone. Just after the 2 year warranty.

This was just when Apple hired that horrible VP that killed the customer service, so they wouldn't replace it.

So, I bought the part on Ebay and fixed it.

post #26 of 51
My power and home buttons failed miserably after 14 months of use.
I would have to push the power button down on a table top to get it to work.
post #27 of 51
This was definitely a problem with the iPhone 4. My phone and my wife's both broke about 10-14 months in but I wouldn't sue Apple about it.
post #28 of 51
If apple could collect on their lawyer fees if the plaintiff loses you would see a lot less of these frivolous lawsuits.

After the warranty you are out of luck. Also 100's out of 10's of millions does not a class action suit make. At best apple could just out of goodwill fix or replace the phones, period.

This woman suing is just pathetic and reflective of all that is wrong with our legal system in the country. Next thing you know someone will sue for spilling hot coffee in their crotch because the cup of hot coffee did not have warnings on it. Oh wait...that already happened...
post #29 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

 

You think Apple intentionally designed the product so a small percentage of them would fair in a weird way to inconvenience their customers? 

What makes you think I'd think that?

 

Some manufacturing flaws are subtle, and do not show up for years, like for example the leaking capacitors on an emac that I had, it was a recognised problem and was fixed outside warranty. Do I think Apple deliberately put in faulty capacitors? Er ...no.

 

However years after the fact it is now evident that an entire batch of 17" G5 imacs had some sort of component fault that was specific to that particular model. Consumer protection laws are designed specifically to address issues such as this where there is a fault in manufacturing. It is only obvious years later, although I suspect that Apple, if they monitor their own discussion boards and service centres would have had an inkling that there could be a problem. 

 

I am suggesting that they rode their luck on this one and got away with it.

post #30 of 51
Holy s**t!... RACKETEERING?!!
post #31 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

"I manhandle my possessions. I broke my Power button. I demand a replacement for free for breaking both my possession and my warranty."

 

To be fair, I treat my possessions better than most people treat their own children, and this happened to me within 5 months of purchase. The power button started to lose it's springiness which lead to me having to push harder and harder for it to register, until it eventually failed completely. It was obviously a defect, as I've owned every single iPhone since the 3G and have never experienced nor heard of any other model exhibiting similar problems, but I wasn't upset about it since Apple replaced it with a new handset in a matter of days. Had this happened to me outside the warranty period, I'd probably feel much differently about it, however.

 

I take strong issue with anyone saying this is user-inflicted, because as I said, I'm exceptionally gentle with my electronics. I honestly don't understand some of you Apple apologists. Sometimes things are built with faulty parts, it's just a fact of life when dealing with complex electronics manufacturing. If Apple knew about this defect, and tried to hide it and lied to their customers, they should be held accountable and those customers should be reimbursed for any fees they paid to repair a faulty button.

post #32 of 51
Well known many iPhone 4s all still in use, you can(and have been tested) that a hammer will do little damage.

Well when Steve wanted no moving parts were buttons included?
post #33 of 51
I have had every single model of iPhone. The iPhone4 was the only phone I had replaced 3 times because of the home button.

The double tap for multitasking switching killed the button.

People actually use the phones!
post #34 of 51
Lawyers will get rich. The class action plaintiffs will get a $1 app for free.
post #35 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

"I manhandle my possessions. I broke my Power button. I demand a replacement for free for breaking both my possession and my warranty."

...oh yeah and 5 million dollars too.

My iPhone 4 still works fine, almost 3 years old now.
Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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post #36 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post

To be fair, I treat my possessions better than most people treat their own children, and this happened to me within 5 months of purchase. The power button started to lose it's springiness which lead to me having to push harder and harder for it to register, until it eventually failed completely. It was obviously a defect, as I've owned every single iPhone since the 3G and have never experienced nor heard of any other model exhibiting similar problems, but I wasn't upset about it since Apple replaced it with a new handset in a matter of days. Had this happened to me outside the warranty period, I'd probably feel much differently about it, however.

I take strong issue with anyone saying this is user-inflicted, because as I said, I'm exceptionally gentle with my electronics. I honestly don't understand some of you Apple apologists. Sometimes things are built with faulty parts, it's just a fact of life when dealing with complex electronics manufacturing. If Apple knew about this defect, and tried to hide it and lied to their customers, they should be held accountable and those customers should be reimbursed for any fees they paid to repair a faulty button.

If Apple knew is irrelevant. When you purchase a phone from Apple, they warrant that it will work for at least a year. That's it. That's their promise. By purchasing it, you are saying you are ok with that promise.
post #37 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pendergast View Post

If Apple knew is irrelevant. When you purchase a phone from Apple, they warrant that it will work for at least a year. That's it. That's their promise. By purchasing it, you are saying you are ok with that promise.

Two years in some countries.
Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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post #38 of 51
"Hundreds of customers complained".

And how many million iPhone 4 were sold? Sounds like an incredibly low failure rate.
She will get nothing from this suit.
post #39 of 51

Daughters power button broke, she looks after her phone.

post #40 of 51
Based on my experience working on iDevice repairs, this is absolutely relevant. On many actuators, apple uses a small piece of foam to bridge the gap from the plastic button to the control cable inside the unit. Over time, the adhesive wears off, the piece of foam moves, and the button no longer reaches, disabling the part.

I've seen it on iPhone and iPod Touch power buttons, and a lot on 5th generation iPods with the home button. Anytime apple uses a piece of foam on the cable, the part eventually goes bad.

Sorry guys, but it's just bad design on Apple's part. I'm just surprised this is only coming up now, instead of several years ago.
Edited by enjourni - 5/15/13 at 6:16am
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