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Apple MacBook owners organizing class action lawsuit

post #1 of 62
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Owners of Apple Computer's new 13-inch MacBook notebooks, whose systems are plagued by intermittent shutdown issues, have become fed up with extended repair times and inadequate resolutions to the problem, and are now organizing a class action lawsuit against the Mac maker.

The issue, which users have dubbed "RSS," or Random Shutdown Syndrome, has been well documented on Apple's discussion boards and other forums around the web. During ordinary use, affected MacBooks will randomly shut down, effectively rendering the systems unreliable.

Users have reported shutdown intervals anywhere from once a week to several times a day. Sometimes, one random shutdown will occur within minutes of the previous one, making the notebooks completely unusable.

Compounding frustrations is Apple's inability so far to completely remedy the issue for most users after holding their faulty systems at repair depots for lengthy periods of time.

While Apple has publicly acknowledged the ongoing issue -- asking affected users to contact AppleCare for support -- its repair process has caused many users to lose access to systems for exhaustive periods of time. While some affected users in the U.S. have been fortunate enough to have their repaired MacBooks returned to them within a week, those in other regions have been left waiting weeks, and sometimes months, for their systems to be repaired.

Making matters worse, are widespread reports that Apple's initial solution to the RSS problem -- to replace the MacBook's processor heat sink -- does not completely eliminate the random shutdowns. As a result, many affected users have been forced to request a second or third round of repairs, leaving some without access to a computer for even longer periods of time.

AppleDefects, a website which has been following the RSS issue closely, recently noted that certain electrical wires inside the MacBooks have a tendency to melt to the surface of the heat sink, causing the systems to short circuit and shutdown.



"Essentially the heatsink can expand during use, and comes into contact with the lead from the [thermometer's] sensor cable," reads a more detailed explanation posted at Ogrady's Power Page. "A short circuit results, and the SMC (System Management Controller) pulls the plug. Once the system cools down, the heatsink [recedes] and the contact is broken."

Unfortunately, several users who've had their MacBook's heat sink replaced by Apple are reporting that RSS problem quickly resurfaces. AppleCare has told some of these users that their systems will require a new logic board that is under "development" with an unknown release date.

"My son purchased a MacBook on August 8, which soon began exhibiting the random shutdown problem," said one AppleInsider reader. "He sent it into the service provider (in Canada), who has told him that they have 8 MacBooks waiting for new logic boards as a result of this problem. They told him that one customer has been waiting for 2 months."

Inside a MacBook that has suffered from the dreaded Random Shutdown Syndrome

Over at MacBookRandomShutDown.com, a site completely dedicated to the MacBook RSS problem, users fed up with the back-and-forth repair process have begun to orchestrate a class action lawsuit against Apple with the help of ClassAction.com, demanding the company issue an official recall of the systems.

"We have received reports of Apple MacBook logic boards failing repeatedly, with long periods of down time," reads a statement on the class action website, followed by a sumbission form. "If you own a MacBook laptop and have experienced this problem we would like to know about it."

The RSS problem is not the first issue to plague Apple's 13-inch MacBook notebooks, which have coincidentally become the Cupertino, Calif-based company's top selling PC. Earlier this year, several white-colored MacBook owners were experiencing premature discoloration of their notebook casings.

The discoloration issue was eventually traced back to a bad batch of plastic enclosures, which Apple began repairing under extended warranty.
post #2 of 62
Quote:
Once the system cools down, the heatsink resides and the contact is broken.

The word should be "recedes." Trust me, I am intimately familiar with that word!
post #3 of 62
My MacBook was repaired just about two weeks ago and I was lucky and got mine back within a week. They even replaced the top case which showed some discoloration. Still working like a champion so far, but I'm very worried now that I'm hearing of repaired units suffering from the same problems again.
post #4 of 62
I'm really scared of buying one. Friends of mine have bought macbooks and experienced random shut downs, sending it in for repairs only to have it returned with the same problems again unfixed.

Then again, you don't hear about macbook owners who has one that just works perfectly. Is there anyone in here who has a perfect working macbook and uses it heavily?
post #5 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by henrikmk

I'm really scared of buying one. Friends of mine have bought macbooks and experienced random shut downs, sending it in for repairs only to have it returned with the same problems again unfixed.

Then again, you don't hear about macbook owners who has one that just works perfectly. Is there anyone in here who has a perfect working macbook and uses it heavily?


That would be me. Of course I'm sure I'm going to jinx something now....
post #6 of 62
I had to send my Macbook back for repairs twice within a month of buying it to fix the trackpad button and to fix optical drive scratching the discs. It feels very cheap compared with my PowerBook G4 which felt solid. Unfortunately the backlight on my PowerBook went out so I had to get a Macbook.
post #7 of 62
Well I know it's not all macbooks that do this. My friend used to be a die hard windows user. He bought a macbook about the time they came out (white). He claims he hasn't had any problems. I think apple's QA needs to get a little tougher. I was involved in the start of a class action lawsuit against apple for their fault motherboards in the aluminum 15" powerbooks. Lower memory slots burn out during upgrades of os x. NOW my powerbook only has 1 memory slot. I'm kinda bummed, as it will force me to upgrade a bit quicker than I wanted.

 

 

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post #8 of 62
I'm no genius (no pun intended) but i'm prety sure i read somewhere that all the more recently manufactured Macbooks did NOT suffer from this problem becuase they have a altogether different logic board? I cannot recall where i read this, but it was a week or so ago.... somewhere. Besides if apple is fixing all the computers with the RSS issue (and for those who re-experience the problem, theyre replacing the logic board) wouldn't you think they would be making all the new computers with the revamped heatsink/logic board? Makes sense to me. No sense in still manufacturing computers that they have already acknowledged have a problem.

So i wouldnt worry about buying a new one.. im pretty sure they dont have this problem.
Besides, i have a good friend that just bought her macbook about a week ago and uses that thing hard (meaning very processor intensive stuff) and the thing hasnt so much shown one sign of the RSS issue.

Also, im not sure exactly how many people this is affecting because its not EVERY macbook owner. I have about 5 friends who have purchaed them in the last 3 or so months. None of them have the problem (and of course they arent on the message boards proclaiming how great their perfectly working computer is going). The vocal minority tend to blow things out of proportion online. Though i do think apple should od a better job at getting the thigns repaired in a more timely manner.
post #9 of 62
My girlfriend recently took her Macbook in for repairs at the Emeryville Apple store. She's a ProCare member, so they quoted her 3-5 day turnaround, as they apparently had the heatsink in store. They finished the repair in two days, and so far, things have been fine.

She loves her macbook, and with this repair, she couldn't be happier. Perhaps it speaks to the usefulness of ProCare! It can bump you to the beginning of the repair queue,

As an aside, I have another friend who bought a 2ghz White MB about two months ago - so far, she's had no problems. She was a long time windows user and absolutely loves her computer now.
post #10 of 62
Before ProCare, Apple was that fast for everyone. I sense some backsliding going on here. Of course, their fees for AppleCare warranties haven't gone up in a while, but for non-educational buyers, that's simple a matter of inflation gradually reducing AppleCare prices from outrageous to reasonable; the bottom line is you now have to buy ProCare for what was standard a few years ago, namely reasonable service times. I sense a trend in the wrong direction for Apple standards of service and quality at the moment.
post #11 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider

"Essentially the heatsink can expand during use, and comes into contact with the lead from the termometers sensor cable,"

I understand the misspelling of "thermometer" comes from the O'Grady article, but it's still customary to correct it.
post #12 of 62
If you're persistent enough, and are having this issue, you can get apple to give you some free upgrades probably. My 1st Gen iBook G4 had a problem where I had to send it off for repairs 3 times. By the third time, I complained enough that they upgraded my hard drive and gave me free bluetooth for my pain.

Ironically, it wasn't a hardware problem. When I got it back the third time (my upgraded model) I still had the same problem. So I reinstalled the OS from scratch and it worked.
post #13 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mayosolo

I understand the misspelling of "thermometer" comes from the O'Grady article, but it's still customary to correct it.

yah, just put [sic] after it right?
post #14 of 62
Whoo hoo! Lawyers get rich, and MacBook owners get their laptops back! Everyone's happy.
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post #15 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by henrikmk

I'm really scared of buying one. Friends of mine have bought macbooks and experienced random shut downs, sending it in for repairs only to have it returned with the same problems again unfixed.

Then again, you don't hear about macbook owners who has one that just works perfectly. Is there anyone in here who has a perfect working macbook and uses it heavily?

I ordered my black MacBook the day or two after its release. I use it quite heavily and have had absolutely no problems with it of any kind.

Quote:
That would be me. Of course I'm sure I'm going to jinx something now....

I'm going to knock on some wood or something just in case.
post #16 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by OhReallyNow

So i wouldnt worry about buying a new one.. im pretty sure they dont have this problem.

That's good enough for me!
post #17 of 62
Lovely; AppleInsider has gone so low as to quote O'Grady now.
post #18 of 62
I'm so glad my gf hasn't experienced this problem with hers because she'd be all over me because of it. Since I caused her to see the light and switch, I'd face an equal wrath if it was riddled with problems lol.
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post #19 of 62
I just got my sister's Macbook in from repairs yesterday and it seems ok after an hour of use or so. I need the a/c adapter to further test it before the battery would end up running out on me.

She was having a problem with the ethernet jack not working as well as a problem where after a proper shutdown, it came back on while in her notebook bag and got scorching hot. Started to smell like burning plastic... not good.
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post #20 of 62
Apple's QA does need to improve. They may be the best in the industry, but the whole industry has failure rates that are shockingly high.
post #21 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by macFanDave

The word should be "recedes." Trust me, I am intimately familiar with that word!

Is this a hair problem then?
post #22 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by henrikmk

I'm really scared of buying one. Friends of mine have bought macbooks and experienced random shut downs, sending it in for repairs only to have it returned with the same problems again unfixed.

Then again, you don't hear about macbook owners who has one that just works perfectly. Is there anyone in here who has a perfect working macbook and uses it heavily?

I have three people who one anywhere from three weeks to almost from when they first came out, and so far, none has had a problem.

There will always be a certain percentage of people with specific problems. But, Apple has supposedly sold 750 thousand of these things. If a large number have had these problems, I think we would have heard even more.
post #23 of 62
It was just a matter of time but when you have every product made in China,,,,well the rest is history. Im just surprised all those G5 and G5 iMac owners havent gotten together because Apple has had all kinds of issues with G5s. Makes me long for my California Made PowerMac!
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post #24 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by photoeditor

Before ProCare, Apple was that fast for everyone. I sense some backsliding going on here. Of course, their fees for AppleCare warranties haven't gone up in a while, but for non-educational buyers, that's simple a matter of inflation gradually reducing AppleCare prices from outrageous to reasonable; the bottom line is you now have to buy ProCare for what was standard a few years ago, namely reasonable service times. I sense a trend in the wrong direction for Apple standards of service and quality at the moment.

Apple is selling many more computers than ever before. It is always the fact that services lag sales. It's simple to ramp up production, but difficult to hire and train more phone support people and technicians. It also takes time to expand facilities to handle repairs. Companies are understandably reluctant to do that ahead of definitely continued increasing sales. There is a matter of catch-up going on.

Apple is better at this than most. But they aren't perfect.
post #25 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aurora

It was just a matter of time but when you have every product made in China,,,,well the rest is history. Im just surprised all those G5 and G5 iMac owners havent gotten together because Apple has had all kinds of issues with G5s. Makes me long for my California Made PowerMac!

China has nothing to do with it. The Chinese are capable of producing the highest quality products. That's determined by the company they are producing for. Just like companies all over the world.
post #26 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by photoeditor

Before ProCare, Apple was that fast for everyone. I sense some backsliding going on here. Of course, their fees for AppleCare warranties haven't gone up in a while, but for non-educational buyers, that's simple a matter of inflation gradually reducing AppleCare prices from outrageous to reasonable; the bottom line is you now have to buy ProCare for what was standard a few years ago, namely reasonable service times. I sense a trend in the wrong direction for Apple standards of service and quality at the moment.

To be fair, the people who were not using ProCare were being quoted very similar times - 2-6 days on repairs. I think this is the first time I've actually taken a computer to Apple for repair, but so far, we've been pleased. I think now that it appears they've caught up with the heatsink demand, the repair times should drop. We can hope anyway.
post #27 of 62
WAAAAA!!!

My computer is not absolutely perfect in every way!!!

WAAAAA!!!

Apple says they're better which means they think they're perfect which means this is false advertising which means I'm sueing them for lots of money!!!

WAAAAA!!!


Apple: We recognize that there is a problem with some of our revision A MacBooks. We will replace the defective components as fast as we can supply them free of charge.

...

WAAAAA!!!

You're not doing it fast enough to apease me!!!

WAAAAA!!!

Me: Typical. For the record my second shipment MacBook 1.83 has performed flawlessly for months now. No discoloration, no shutting down, no plastic on the vents, no heat issues, nothing.

The reason people get the idea that these issues are widespead is cause those few that have the problem are making so much damn noise about it it drowns out the people that are respectfully saying that they are satisfied with Apple's products.
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post #28 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross

China has nothing to do with it. The Chinese are capable of producing the highest quality products. That's determined by the company they are producing for. Just like companies all over the world.

I think you have confused China with Japan Japan yes, China.....
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post #29 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by AeronPrometheus

The reason people get the idea that these issues are widespead is cause those few that have the problem are making so much damn noise about it it drowns out the people that are respectfully saying that they are satisfied with Apple's products.

If that is really the case, it wouldn't take so damn long for them to repair the Macbook and there wouldn't be any class action lawsuit.
post #30 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aurora

I think you have confused China with Japan Japan yes, China.....

No I don't. Japan has most of their factories in China now as well.

Why don't you look up who manufacturers in China? You will be surprised.

Don't be prejudiced here, learn about it first.
post #31 of 62
That was a worthless response. You could have argued otherwise.
post #32 of 62
The turn around time for my repair was 2 days, which is pretty impressive. NO PROBLEM HERE. Maybe I should testify on behalf of Apple... because they need that.

Oh well... I'd say some people need to stop getting their panties in a bunch. This country is LAW SUIT CRAZY!!!

I guess if you can't make money by working hard, take somebody elses because they made a HARMLESS mistake. It isn't like people DIED because they can't use their macbooks.

I wish I would have waited so I could get some of that cry baby action.
post #33 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by pt123

If that is really the case, it wouldn't take so damn long for them to repair the Macbook and there wouldn't be any class action lawsuit.


I think you're a bit off here too. The reason it could be taking so long is simple manufacturing issues: Apple probably didn't have tens of thousands of extra heatsinks laying around. That, and it took some time for them to diagnose the problem.

That said, at least from my experience, the wait time is definitely improving - two days in my case. That's not too bad.

Moreover, if you think that a class action lawsuit is automatically a valid signal of massive widespread problems...well...you may want to rethink that. Even as a law student, I realize that not all class action lawsuits have merit.
post #34 of 62
Just to add another possitive comment. The MacBook 13" white with extra RAM and larger HD I bought my wife has run day and night since September 1st without any problems.
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post #35 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross

No I don't. Japan has most of their factories in China now as well.

Why don't you look up who manufacturers in China? You will be surprised.

Don't be prejudiced here, learn about it first.

Yup, everyone outsources to China now. Great prison/slave workers and other cool things like that.

But now, China is starting to outsource to Vietnam. Go figure.
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post #36 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by macFanDave

The word should be "recedes." Trust me, I am intimately familiar with that word!

Haha, well said! May I recommend hair plugs?

Oh yeah, I have a black macbook and had it repaired for a faulty isight. Not one random shutdown yet (before or after repair), I've had it for 5 months now.
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post #37 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mzaslove

Yup, everyone outsources to China now. Great prison/slave workers and other cool things like that.

That's a good joke, but it's rather overstated. There is no labor of that kind going into multinational products.

It isn't exactly as if labor practices in the USA or Europe are perfect there either. All countries use prison labor to turn out some products.

Quote:
But now, China is starting to outsource to Vietnam. Go figure.

Costs are rising fast. Wages are zooming, as are working condirions and benefits. There is a labor SHORTAGE in the factory towns as the situation in the countryside is improving, and labor stays there, or returns.

What else is new?

Inflation in China is part of the cause, as is labor awarness that they have increasing power despite the legality of independent labor unions.

Vietnam, and other places, are cheaper.
post #38 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross

That was a worthless response. You could have argued otherwise.

The reply was appropriate for the original post. Thanks for your input, though.
post #39 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by wilco

The reply was appropriate for the original post. Thanks for your input, though.

It was a bit over the top. But he made some good points with it.
post #40 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross

There is no labor of that kind going into multinational products.

Unfortunately, there is a bit of that, even in the multi-national stuff going on from jeans to electronics. Verité, a non-profit social auditing and research organization, checks that kind of thing. Dan Viederman is executive director there and a good guy to talk to about that stuff. Even the toy industry is trying to police it with their CARE Process for ethical manufacturing. Not saying China does things others don't either, though. A lot of it going around.
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