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Apple sued over defective PowerBook memory slots

post #1 of 57
Thread Starter 
Apple is facing a new class-action lawsuit that charges the company with failing to fully recognize the scope of a memory slot defect in its PowerBook G4 notebooks, which has left thousands of customers with no choice but to foot hefty repair costs on their own.

New York resident Giorgio Gomelsky filed the 19-page complaint in a Northern California court last week on behalf of himself and all similarly-situated complainants who purchased an Apple PowerBook manufactured with defective memory slots from January 1, 2003 to the present.

Specifically, the suit alleges that the earlier generation Mac notebooks contain a defect that manifests itself when an owner tries to add additional memory to the first or second memory slot available in most PowerBooks, namely the PowerBook G4

"Typically, when the additional memory is added, the PowerBook does not recognize the memory, resulting in slower processing speeds, decreased computer function and other computing problems," the complaint says. "Unfortunately for consumers, because both memory slots are hardwired to the PowerBook's motherboard, consumers who choose to repair the defect can incur costs of more than $500 in parts and labor."

Faced with complaints over the matter, Apple initiated a Memory Slot Repair Extension Program covering 15-inch 1.67 and 1.5GHz PowerBook G4s manufactured between January 2005 and April 2005, which expired on July 24th. The suit alleges, however, that the scope of the problem extended well beyond the range of PowerBooks that the Mac maker agreed to cover as part of the program.

Gomelsky was one of "tens of thousands of people nationwide" that purchased PowerBooks with defective memory slots, and whose notebook's serial numbers fell outside the range of serial numbers provide by Apple, according to the complaint. This has left those customers with "no recourse other than to repair the defective memory slots at their own expense."

Attorneys for Gomelsky are seeking compensatory damages in the form of reimbursement of expenses incurred by their client and other class members who've had to pay out of their own pocket to repair the damaged memory slots. As part of their claim, they charge the Cupertino-based company with a litany of offenses, including violations of the California business code, breach of warranty, negligence and unjust enrichment.

The complaint further alleges that Apple failed to provide adequate notice of the Extended Warranty and didn't contact PowerBook G4 owners to inform them that they may be covered under the warranty before it expired. Since the defect sometimes takes months or years to manifest, customers who've just begun to discover the flaw will be unable to receive reimbursement for repairs now that the Extended Warranty has expired, it adds.

After being denied repairs, Gomelsky reportedly wrote a letter that was mailed to Apple's Cupertino-based offices back in December of 2006. He received a written reply, which again denied his request for a repair. In March of the following year, he wrote another letter to the company, citing online petitions and "the thousands of complaints posted on internet forums by owners of PowerBooks with defective memory slots"

When his second letter went unanswered, Gomelsky lodged a complaint with the Attorney General of California, according to the suit.
post #2 of 57
I had this problem. My serial number was out of range. I had no AppleCare and my warranty was out.

I called Apple and they made good on it anyway. I got a whole new logic board and all the labor for free.

This doesn't absolve anyone of anything -- but it may be illustrative of the nature of Apple as a whole system. They really do take care of their customers.
post #3 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prufrock View Post

I had this problem. My serial number was out of range. I had no AppleCare and my warranty was out.

I called Apple and they made good on it anyway. I got a whole new logic board and all the labor for free.

This doesn't absolve anyone of anything -- but it may be illustrative of the nature of Apple as a whole system. They really do take care of their customers.

Agreed--but officially addressing it is better than unofficially, so if the problem extends to other models, then so should their extended repair program.

And I expect that's just what will happen. Plus some lawyers will get some money
post #4 of 57
lol come on apple fans gather around. Apple messed up... lets give them our blessings. Lets tell ourselves why it is okay they screwed up this time. I know why I know why! Don't blame apple..! It is ok because they make funny commercials about their competitor PC! Woot go apple! lol Sheesh... you guys make me want to throw my mac up against the wall...
post #5 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prufrock View Post

I had this problem. My serial number was out of range. I had no AppleCare and my warranty was out.

I called Apple and they made good on it anyway. I got a whole new logic board and all the labor for free.

This doesn't absolve anyone of anything -- but it may be illustrative of the nature of Apple as a whole system. They really do take care of their customers.

I had a dual G5 from h#$%....in the shop 7 times. Apple not only covered it all, but the last repairs were 6 weeks after the Applecare ended and they extended it by 3 months for that fix. I've since sold it and it has not had any more problems.
post #6 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prufrock View Post

I had this problem. My serial number was out of range. I had no AppleCare and my warranty was out.

I called Apple and they made good on it anyway. I got a whole new logic board and all the labor for free.

This doesn't absolve anyone of anything -- but it may be illustrative of the nature of Apple as a whole system. They really do take care of their customers.


I had the same situation. No apple care and out of range serial. I coughed up the $300 to fix the logic board. After a month in the shop and a couple hours on the phone they simply migrated my data to a brand new macbook pro. Not a bad deal at all. $300 and a month without a computer in exchange for an upgrade to a better intel machine. Go Apple!
post #7 of 57
Why didn't these people figure out the memory slot problem during the initial one-year warranty period?
post #8 of 57
Yeah, sure, Daniel0418, you're a Mac user. Yeah, I believe that. Doesn't everyone here?

Your tone and diction betray your true nature, sir, and it isn't Apple-centric. We all know that this company makes mistakes; ALL do. Nevertheless, they hit a great many more home runs than strike-outs, hence the overwhelming support you see on sites such as these.

The fact is that your acerbic invective belies your true WinDell proclivities. You are clearly outside the circle of those who have chosen the True Way. Admit it; it will do your heart good. (And then go purge your bowels of the hatred that is so solidly lodged there.)
post #9 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by hillstones View Post

Why didn't these people figure out the memory slot problem during the initial one-year warranty period?

I did not find out about my memory problem until this summer. I took out a 512 stick and put in a 1gig stick. Thats when the slot stopped working. I checked the pins, nothing is bent or wrong with the slot. I put the new memory in the top bay and no problems with that card. I tried the old card and still nothing. I didn't call apple because of many reasons. #1 my laptop is out of warrenty & #2 I know they will ask 'Did you buy Apple ram or third party ram?' Everytime I have sent my laptop in I get it back with out the third party memory in the unit forcing me to put the memory back into the the unit. Rather agravating that it's actually a known issue and I am stuck at 1gig ram instead of 2gig ram.

If anyone from apple reads these boards, would sure love a comment back as to how I can get this repaired with no cost to myself.

1.25Ghz PB G4

Kurt
post #10 of 57
I had a similar situation with a colleagues MacBook Pro which he purchased directly from Apple.

I knew something was up when it had a single 1GB DIMM in it, as opposed to the two 512GB DIMMs in every other similar MacBook Pro. Sure enough, as soon as I installed any other DIMM in the second slot if started to KP. I must have tried four or five different DIMMs in there, and they all caused the same problems.

I'm a bit suspicious that it left the factory with a single 1GB DIMM installed...
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post #11 of 57
Let me be the first to say ... WAH!

Powerbooks are hardly even usable machines anymore. Get over it and try to lower your sense of entitlement.
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post #12 of 57
That's so true, what a sad thing

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post #13 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Messiah View Post

I knew something was up when it had a single 1GB DIMM in it, as opposed to the two 512GB DIMMs in every other similar MacBook Pro.

As I recall, as RAM prices fell, they did make all the MBPs use a single stick instead of spacing out over two slots. While this is a bit fishy, since they don't currently do this, knowingly shipping faulty HW and expecting that people wouldn't use the 2nd RAM slot doesn't sound like a a reasonable conclusion to me.
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post #14 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by hillstones View Post

Why didn't these people figure out the memory slot problem during the initial one-year warranty period?

A good number of failures can be from heating and cooling of components poorly designed or manufactured. Time is a factor. More is worse. Anything made of more than one material (each of which have different expansion rates) can separate over time. We had Apple IIs with DIP socketed RAM that failed after several years and needed cleaning and re-seating. Generally solid connections as are used in most computers today are more reliable. Look at original iBook keyboards keyboards to see what happens with a first stab at layered materials and heat. RAM sockets still fall into this category because there is a physical connection plus heating and cooling. Last machines I saw with more than a rare such failures were the original Bondi iMacs. Not to mention that swapping RAM in those was like working inside a vacuum cleaner bag.

@daniel: you'll notice that sentiments here are running strongly in favor of the users and hoping Apple steps up and settles / fixes the issue.
post #15 of 57
Ok I had this happen with me on my 1.25ghz g4 PB. I BEGGED apple to fix it, and they wouldn't. I ended up selling the powerbook for next to nothing so I could upgrade. This happened before the Intels even came out... wth do they expect? This is like 4 years AFTER THE FACT. I even tried to get on board with a class action lawsuit on this back then that never developed. From what i was told there were a few going on about this... but I guess they all backed out once apple did the 1.5->1.67 repairs... man this pisses me off.

 

 

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post #16 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by hillstones View Post

Why didn't these people figure out the memory slot problem during the initial one-year warranty period?

Not everyone goes out to buy more memory during the first year they own a laptop.
post #17 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

Let me be the first to say ... WAH!

Powerbooks are hardly even usable machines anymore. Get over it and try to lower your sense of entitlement.

They are quite usable. Even with Leopard installed.
post #18 of 57
I got my PB in July of 2005. This happened to me...twice. First time I was under warranty, and they replaced it. Second time, I wasn't so lucky. No matter how much I begged and pleaded, they wouldn't replace it, so I'm stuck with 1 GB of RAM.
post #19 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by hillstones View Post

Why didn't these people figure out the memory slot problem during the initial one-year warranty period?

folks find out that there is a problem because they try to coax extra life out of a computer system that is way beyond its time and then they scream foul because they have to pay for repairs. what is even more amusing is that they could have taken that money and ended up with a much better computer for the same amount.

if you walk in with a 'tude, you aren't going to get anything. screaming and cussing ain't the way. if you walk in and talk to them nicely, most companies will bend over to help you out. be it a replacement, a free repair or a discount on a new system. if you are nice to them, they are nice to you. if you are an ass, sorry but this is a 5 year old machine way past even the extended warranty if you hadn't been a total miser and refused to buy it and you are SOL.
post #20 of 57
Holy crap, I'm one of these! My 1.5GHz PowerBook (July 2004 rev. - the second to last PowerBook revision) has had the exact same problem! I thought it was an isolated issue and decided to suck it up and not do anything about it as it happened outside the 3 year warranty.
post #21 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

knowingly shipping faulty HW

and your proof that Apple 'knowingly' did anything is? do you have some internal company memo where they confess this information.

to say that they knew they were shipping bad machines and hoped no one figured it out until all warranties were over is a bit like saying that the iphone team researched every way of unlocking the phones and made sure that their software updates 100% bricked all methods -- rather than the more likely truth which is that they didn't bother making sure the updates didn't brick tampered phones.
post #22 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

Let me be the first to say ... WAH!

Powerbooks are hardly even usable machines anymore. Get over it and try to lower your sense of entitlement.

They're as usable as ever before. They didn't suddenly slow down when Intel books came out.

Today I tried to persuade my wife to finally get rid of her 2005 PowerBook. She saw no reason to upgrade: the computer still meets her needs, with Leopard on it, as it did 3 years ago. Luckily, it doesn't suffer from the memory problem.
post #23 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

Let me be the first to say ... WAH!

Powerbooks are hardly even usable machines anymore. Get over it and try to lower your sense of entitlement.

What is that supposed mean? My PBG4 still works great and does everything I need it to every day, and I do a lot of Photoshop work on it. Sure, I'd like a newer, faster machine, but I don't <i>need</i> one. What are you trying to do with yours, that makes it unusable?

The only problem I've had is that the upper memory slot likes to unseat the memory card if I carry it around a lot, leaving me with 1 gig of ram instead of 2. Happens every few months. Definitely not a reason to go out and buy a new computer.
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post #24 of 57
I wonder if this is the issue I had with my TiBook 867MHz DVI. When I added a second DIMM, sleep mode became slightly less reliable. There would be subtle memory corruption upon waking from sleep, and the system would often crash shortly after.

The system always worked perfectly from initial bootup, and only experienced problems after sleeping. However, this happened regardless of what slot the DIMMs were in, and also happened with either DIMM alone.

It only happened when I first upgraded the RAM, almost as if the upgrade pushed the DIMM slots loose somehow. The laptop was already out of warranty by this point, though, so I just put up with not using sleep until I eventually replaced it with my current Macbook Pro, which has no problems.
post #25 of 57
Yup, same boat: have a G4 PowerBook, out of warranty, can only have one stick of 1gb ram installed, second slot doesn't recognize the second stick. Called Apple, they said that because my PB falls outside the recall range, I'm S.O.L. Really pissed me off at the time.

I didn't bother getting it fixed because it would have cost my left arm to replace the logic board. So I've been stuck with 1gb ever since.

AAPL should just do the right thing and extend their Memory Slot Repair Extension Program to all G4 PowerBook owners.
post #26 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

and your proof that Apple 'knowingly' did anything is? do you have some internal company memo where they confess this information.

to say that they knew they were shipping bad machines and hoped no one figured it out until all warranties were over is a bit like saying that the iphone team researched every way of unlocking the phones and made sure that their software updates 100% bricked all methods -- rather than the more likely truth which is that they didn't bother making sure the updates didn't brick tampered phones.

If you are going to quote my posts at least post enough of it to put it into context...
Quote:
knowingly shipping faulty HW [...] doesn't sound like a a reasonable conclusion to me.
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post #27 of 57
Hmmm, I wonder if Apple is going to try to stem off the torrent of G5 users who are experiencing hardware issues as well?

http://forums.macworld.com/message/674935
http://discussions.apple.com/thread....sageID=8354081
http://discussions.apple.com/thread....sageID=7150914

If these PBs and G5s were in fact among the generations made in China, Apple might want to reconsider when thinking about the long term cost in quality build, class action lawsuits, and replacement programs.
post #28 of 57
I found this news very interesting. I'd certainly be interested in such a suit, although I am skeptical of ever getting anything worthwhile out of it from past experience with these class action lawsuits. It doesn't seem like the average consumer ever benefits much from them. Maybe in forcing some changes in how the companies do business, but even that is often debatable.

My PBG4 was purchased in Oct 05. I seem to recall discovering this problem about a year and a half later, summer of 07 or so. Ended up buying a new (refurbished) MBP Dec 07. The PBG4 would have been just fine if not for the RAM problem which made it virtually unusable for me. I still have it and have tried a few times to see if there was anything I could do to fix it - there wasn't. It would boot up with the 1.5 GB RAM and seem to be fine at first, but after a random period of time it would suddenly freeze and I'd have to power it off and back on again. It ran fine with just the 1 GB DIMM but 1 GB was not enough RAM. 1.5 was, but I couldn't run with any more than 1, so had to give up and buy a new machine (taking the $500 or so it would have cost me to repair the PBG4 out of my pocket).

Been using Macs since early 90s, had a PBG3 at one point and got a great 7 years or so out of it. I was very disappointed to only get two years or so out of the PBG4. Especially to find out that this problem was known by Apple to be widespread yet they greatly restricted which machines were covered for the repair.

Of course, despite that experience I did buy another Mac, the MBP. And had problems with that too. First the battery issue, which the local Apple Store was very nice to replace. Then the keyboard problem, which I'm still working through - knock on wood, it's been okay for a week or two now. Not happy about this either, but will I still buy a Mac next time - almost definitely. What can you do. I still like it better than anything else out there.

I hope this suit does somehow force Apple to repair the machines that were outside the scope of the original program - but again I'm not optimistic.
post #29 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

Let me be the first to say ... WAH!

Powerbooks are hardly even usable machines anymore. Get over it and try to lower your sense of entitlement.

Entitlement? Has entitlement been redefined to expecting a high end product to be designed right, built right and work as advertised?
post #30 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalMacRat View Post

They are quite usable. Even with Leopard installed.

Well mine still works fine, but usable? not so much.

I guess it's subjective of course, but my 12" with everything maxed out still takes way too long to boot with Tiger or Leopard, and even starting Pages is a long painful experience when you are used to using a faster machine. I guess if I had nothing to compare it to it would be okay, but once you use an iMac or Air or newer Pro or Mac Pro it's just a pain to go back to the PowerBook.
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post #31 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Entitlement? Has entitlement been redefined to expecting a high end product to be designed right, built right and work as advertised?

Entitlement as in it's a four year old, two or three generation old product.

I just don't personally think or would ever expect myself to have a company fix such an old obsolete piece of equipment. Not everything is fair, sometimes things break and it's not always someone's fault nor their responsibility to fix it.

A lawsuit on something like this given the circumstances is way beyond the pale IMO. Thus my previous comment.
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post #32 of 57
My 1998 Performa is acting funny. I'm gonna sue!
post #33 of 57
When in the world will people stop suing... it's such a hideous way to get money for nothing.
I really hope they all attract Hurley-esque luck, and have that money bring equally hideous fortune to them.

On second thoughts, I just hope they lose the case. Heheheh....

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post #34 of 57
For most of us with this problem, it didn't manifest itself until after the warranty period was expired. In my case, my first motherboard was replaced due to this problem after my warranty expired. The one they replaced it with did the same thing over a year later. Now I'm stuck with only one working memory slot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hillstones View Post

Why didn't these people figure out the memory slot problem during the initial one-year warranty period?
post #35 of 57
Actually, this problem has nothing to do with MBP's!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Messiah View Post

I had a similar situation with a colleagues MacBook Pro which he purchased directly from Apple.

I knew something was up when it had a single 1GB DIMM in it, as opposed to the two 512GB DIMMs in every other similar MacBook Pro. Sure enough, as soon as I installed any other DIMM in the second slot if started to KP. I must have tried four or five different DIMMs in there, and they all caused the same problems.

I'm a bit suspicious that it left the factory with a single 1GB DIMM installed...
post #36 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

Entitlement as in it's a four year old, two or three generation old product.

I just don't personally think or would ever expect myself to have a company fix such an old obsolete piece of equipment. Not everything is fair, sometimes things break and it's not always someone's fault nor their responsibility to fix it.

A lawsuit on something like this given the circumstances is way beyond the pale IMO. Thus my previous comment.

Perhaps you should keep in mind that not everyone can afford to go out and get a new laptop every time Apple drops one! That's every 6 months in case you hadn't been counting. For those who can't, it is a huge expense when they do get one and there is absolutely no reason they should not be able to expect it to last 4,5,etc years! Obsolete? Hardly! Not as fast as the newest ones, obviously. I guarantee if you were one of the thousands stuck with a defective PB you'd be screaming the loudest, as you are now. The problem is not one of trying to do too much with outdated equipment, the problem is the equipment failing to do it's minimum function and on a mass scale!
post #37 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by rg_spb View Post

For most of us with this problem, it didn't manifest itself until after the warranty period was expired. In my case, my first motherboard was replaced due to this problem after my warranty expired. The one they replaced it with did the same thing over a year later. Now I'm stuck with only one working memory slot.


On a machine that is obsolete and far past its end of life. The hard drive died on my old PB G4. Should I sue for that?

Machines, especially old machines, tend to break down. It sounds as if you old machine has seen better days and you should either replace it or pay to have it restored.
post #38 of 57
The problem started on mine about a year and a half after purchase. Warranty lasted one year. It wasn't covered under the limited Apple repair program either. Still don't know why.

A year and a half old laptop is not an obsolete machine. And this problem is widespread. if it wasn't, we would not even be discussing this.

If one person has a problem on a machine that's six months out of warranty, that's the way it goes. If many people have the problem, then there's something more going on.
post #39 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by rg_spb View Post

Actually, this problem has nothing to do with MBP's!

Actually, I know that.

I'm just pointing out that I witnessed a similar problem with a MBP!
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post #40 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

Let me be the first to say ... WAH!

Powerbooks are hardly even usable machines anymore. Get over it and try to lower your sense of entitlement.

I think I see a pattern here.

Over on the other recent thread about problems with the glass track pad - in reply to someone who said they had a problem with the hinge not holding and the lid shutting because they used their Macbook in bed - you said that's Ok, you only have a problem if you are slouching, making it sound like the problem is the users fault.

Here again, you are saying it is really the users fault for not buying a new machine every time Apple brings one out.

How big is your ego that you think it appropriate to dictate to others that their expectations of what is satisfactory performance from expensive, premium priced products, should be no greater than your narrow and limited standards?

Kindly brought to you from an 8 year old Powerbook G4 Ti 500mhz.
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