Apple hit with lawsuit targeting AppleCare+ refurbished devices

Posted:
in iPhone edited July 2016
A class action suit filing in California complains that "refurbished" service stock replacements doled out by Apple in exchange for damaged devices to AppleCare+ service plan holders are not functionally the same as new.




The class action suit, filed Wednesday, takes offense to Apple replacing damaged devices with refurbished devices. Specifically mentioned, the suit is over the clause in the AppleCare Plus contract documents stating that devices replaced under the program are "equivalent to new in performance and reliability."

Lawyers for the claimants declare in the suit that refurbished means "a secondhand unit that has been modified to appear to be new" and cannot be equivalent in durability or functionality as a new unit.

The suit stems from plaintiff Vicky Maldonado's screen crack in her third generation iPad after six months of ownership. After being told that a replacement iPad would cost $250 in 2012 because of the accidental nature of the damage, she was also suggested that the AppleCare Plus program would cover future damage for an additional $100.

Without going into details of failure, Maldonado claims in the lawsuit filing that the replacement iPad did not function properly, and as such, was not equivalent to new.

In September 2013, Maldonado purchased a fourth generation iPad and AppleCare Plus service plan, and claims that she was not informed that she would receive a refurbished used device in the event of damage. She returned to the Apple store in May of 2015 for repair, and was given another refurbished device.

No failure after replacement was noted in the court filing for the fourth generation iPad. Regardless, the court filing notes that "what Maldonado received was not a device that was new or equivalent to new in performance and reliability."

The court case will hinge on the definitions of refurbished, and on how the court interprets "equivalent to new in performance and reliability." From the beginning of Apple service programs, parts that are replaced in a repair at an authorized service location are required to be returned to Apple for evaluation and component level repair, and an eventual return to service stock.

While some parts on Apple iOS devices can't be refurbished, like the displays, the units themselves are no different. Damaged devices claimed by Apple during the repair process are often sent to a central depot for examination. They are repaired, or "refurbished," and either sent back into the service replacement process, or re-sold by Apple or an allied vendor directly to consumers as a refurbished product.

Some Apple Retail stores have basic repair services on-site. However, most stores will give the AppleCare holders the choice of an in-store repair for basic failures which generally takes between two and four days, waiting up to 10 days for a repair of the original device to return from an off-site repair depot, or being provided a service-stock replacement on the spot.

AppleInsider spoke with a genius at a local Apple Genius Bar about the replacement or repair process. Users with iCloud or iTunes backups of a phone generally opt for an on-the-spot swap, and the customer is told that the device is "refurbished, and functionally equivalent to new."

Owners without a recent backup typically select the in-store or depot repair. It is not known if Maldonado or the other plaintiffs were given the choice of a repair in-store, or a replacement from service stock during the store visits for assorted repairs.

AppleCare+ was unveiled as an extension to the normal AppleCare warranty program. For $99, the AppleCare+ program covers two incidences of user-induced damage for two years after initial device purchase for fees ranging from $50 for an iPad, up to $100 for an iPhone 6s. AppleCare+ must be purchased within 60 days of a device's initial purchase.

The complainants are seeking restitution, a court injunction preventing Apple from giving refurbished devices to customers as service replacements, attorney fees, the option of customers being given the full purchase price for a broken device instead of a repair, and a change to the AppleCare+ service plan terms and conditions.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 44
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,261member
    Again another set of morons. Let see your phone dies and it had been used for a while it is not new so any thing give you is equivalent to what you had but work verse not working. My experience with AppleCare is if the phone is fairly new purchase in the last few months they just give you a new phone right out of a new box. If it is older than 6 months you are usually getting a refurb unit. Honest, if they took you broken phone and fix it would be refurb as well and no better than what you had.
    edited July 2016 mwhiteradarthekatlondormagman1979Deelronmdriftmeyerjustadcomicsviclauyycredgeminipajbdragon
  • Reply 2 of 44
    Wait, wait, lem me understand this. So, she received a Mal functioning product "refurbished" so she goes and sues apple over it? Couldn't she just contact apple about it? She did reed the contract before buying the apple care plus, right?
    ChampionPowersteveh
  • Reply 3 of 44
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,381member
    This one will get dismissed pretty quickly.
    magman1979justadcomicslatifbpjbdragon
  • Reply 4 of 44
    AppleCare is a contract. She has an obligation to read that contract before she enters into it with Apple. If she chooses to not read it, that's cool. But there's no integrity in whining and suing Apple because she didn't do her homework. Another customer I would love to refund the money to on the condition that she never buy another Apple product in her life. 
    magman1979teejay2012latifbpredgeminipasteveh
  • Reply 5 of 44
    Didn't a lawsuit similar to this happen a few years back?
    latifbpjbdragon
  • Reply 6 of 44
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,568moderator
    The article suggests the lawsuit will center on the definition of refurbished.  Really?  The lawsuit should focus on evidence, if there is any, that proves the refurbished product she received was NOT functionally equivalent to new.  I'd be very interested to learn what aspects of an electronic computer device, which runs all the exact same software at the same clock speeds, etc, could possibly be defined as not functionally equivalent to every other one in existence.  

    Maybe the speaker surface has deteriorated and will not last as long as a new one?

    Maybe she can somehow ascertain there's only 4,322,568 more clicks of the Home button where a new Home button would yield more lifetime remaining clicks?  

    But these are inconsequential, as a person with AppleCare could simple get another replacement should some physical part wear out sooner than a new one would have.  And These examples would not be supportive of her case, as functionally equivalent implies a part's current status, not its remaining lifespan.  If pressing the Home button on a refurb feels and functions the same as on a new device, then it's functionally equivalent.  Even if ten presses later it dies, though that would speak to the equivalent reliability aspect.  So let's see if this is where the lawyers go.
    edited July 2016 latifbpredgeminipasteveh
  • Reply 7 of 44
    AppleCare+ covers two incidents of accidental damage with a $49 each service fee, where does it say $80?. Thats what the iphone fee is (not including 6s and 6s plus)
    edited July 2016
  • Reply 8 of 44
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,298administrator
    It's $80 or $100. Hasn't been $50 for a long time.

    "AppleCare+ for iPhone extends your coverage to two years from the original purchase date of your iPhone and adds up to two incidents of accidental damage coverage, each subject to a service fee plus applicable tax ($79 for iPhone SE or iPhone 6 or earlier models, $99 for iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus)."

    edited July 2016 redgeminipajbdragon
  • Reply 9 of 44
    robogoborobogobo Posts: 378member
    I had an iPad Mini replaced under AppleCare by a refurbished unit. Never did work properly - always Wifi issues. But it wasn't consistent and Apple wouldn't give me another replacement. So, yeah, the refurbished thing sucks.
    xixo
  • Reply 10 of 44
    AppleCare+ covers two incidents of accidental damage with a $49 service fee, where does it say $80?
    It's $80 or $100. Hasn't been $50 for a long time.

    "AppleCare+ for iPhone extends your coverage to two years from the original purchase date of your iPhone and adds up to two incidents of accidental damage coverage, each subject to a service fee plus applicable tax ($79 for iPhone SE or iPhone 6 or earlier models, $99 for iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus)."

    $49 is for ipads
    Mike Wuertheleredgeminipa
  • Reply 11 of 44
    She claims that she was not informed that she would receive a refurbished used device in the event of damage. These (below) are the terms of AppleCare and these are the terms she agreed to when she bought the coverage. Nowhere does it say she will explicitly receive a new device. "New or Equivalent to new in performance and reliability" is what Apple is contractually obligated to give her and "New or Equivalent to new in performance and reliability" is what she got. 

    "If during the Coverage Period, you submit a valid claim by notifying Apple that (i) a defect in materials and workmanship has arisen in the Covered Equipment, or (ii) the capacity of a covered battery to hold an electrical charge is less than eighty percent (80%) of its original specifications, Apple will either (a) repair the defect at no charge, using new or refurbished parts that are equivalent to new in performance and reliability, or (b) exchange the Covered Equipment with a replacement product that is new or equivalent to new in performance and reliability, and is at least functionally equivalent to the original product. If Apple exchanges the Covered Equipment, the original product becomes Apple’s property and the replacement product is your property with coverage for the remaining period of the Plan."

    In short, she is saying is "I'm suing Apple because I can't read a contract and my attorney is supporting me in this frivolous lawsuit against all sound legal reasoning because, you know, Apple."



    edited July 2016 latifbpsteveh
  • Reply 12 of 44
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,298administrator
    So it is! I wasn't aware of that.
  • Reply 13 of 44
    robogobo said:
    I had an iPad Mini replaced under AppleCare by a refurbished unit. Never did work properly - always Wifi issues. But it wasn't consistent and Apple wouldn't give me another replacement. So, yeah, the refurbished thing sucks.
    Meanwhile, millions of people buy refurbished Apple products every year without complaint. You probably had an issue with your crap AP or needed to restore the OS.
    yoyo2222mknelsonlatifbpsteveh
  • Reply 14 of 44
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,677member
    There exists decades of failure rate data that backs up Apple's assertion that refurbished electronic equipment is comparable in reliability as the unit that is replaced as long as the refurbished unit is well within the expected service life of the product. This is evident by the "bathtub curve" characteristic of the failure rate of electronic product. In fact, if Apple were to replace a failed unit that was in the flat part of the failure rate curve with a brand new unit the probability of the brand new unit failing would actually be greater than the probability of a refurbished unit failing, assuming the refurbished unit had already survived through the infant mortality part of the curve.

    Of course one must always be cautious when applying logic and probability to problems driven by human emotions, especially so in a country that is so horrendously out of touch with basic mathematics. iPads aren't milk and getting two defective units in a row is entirely within the realm of randomness. 
    Deelronpscooter63steveh
  • Reply 15 of 44
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    IF a bad device was given as a replacement I'd return it. Not sit on it and whine. 
    edited July 2016 SpamSandwichDeelron
  • Reply 16 of 44
    ebcdicebcdic Posts: 4member
    If my AppleCare+ device has broken within the dates in the warranty just give me a NEW device.  I bought a NEW Device not a "refurbished" device.  This is a stupid thread.  Hope they win their lawsuit.  Dumb.....
    xixodamonfmjhnl
  • Reply 17 of 44
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,865member
    "Refurbished" by definition isn't the same as "new". Sweet fancy Moses..!
    thewhitefalconsteveh
  • Reply 18 of 44
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,865member
    ebcdic said:
    If my AppleCare+ device has broken within the dates in the warranty just give me a NEW device.  I bought a NEW Device not a "refurbished" device.  This is a stupid thread.  Hope they win their lawsuit.  Dumb.....
    If you broke it, you're not entitled to a brand new replacement.
    nostrathomasbrucemclatifbp
  • Reply 19 of 44
    ebcdicebcdic Posts: 4member
    Refurbished has NEVER "by definition" been the same as NEW.  I am an Apple fan , but Apple and you, SpamSandwich, are full of yourselves. Almost 25,000 posts supports my statement.  Let's leave Moses and others out of this stupid thread.....
    xixodamonf
  • Reply 20 of 44
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,548member
    Just money grubbing lawyers looking for gullible clients and a payout. 


    latifbpsteveh
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