Dutch judge rules Apple can't swap refurbished iPads for broken ones

Posted:
in iPad edited April 2017
Another court ruling in the Netherlands mandates that when Apple needs to replace a broken iPhone or iPad, it must do so with a new unit, and not a refurbished one.




The suit started in 2015 when a woman purchased an iPad Air 2 with AppleCare. After four months, the unit developed wi-fi issues, and Apple replaced her tablet with a refurbished unit -- as is normal for Apple and spelled out in the device's terms of service.

Despite the terms, the judge overseeing the case ruled on April 18 that Apple can only replace like with like. While a device purchased refurbished can be replaced with a refurbished product, a device purchased new must be replaced with a new device.

"If a plaintiff had purchased a refurbished or replacement iPad, Apple may replace it with a refurbished or replacement copy," ruled the judge. "But if the consumer, as in this case, purchased a new iPad , She is entitled to a new iPad as a replacement. "

The ruling does not cover replacement parts, however. It affirms a previous ruling from December 2016, disallowing refurbished iPhones from being doled out for service swaps.

In July, Apple was hit with a class action suit filing in California, with the same complaint as the two from the Dutch courts -- that refurbished devices are not the same as new, and shouldn't be used as service exchanges. Lawyers for the claimants declare in the suit that refurbished means "a secondhand unit that has been modified to appear to be new" and therefore, cannot be equivalent in durability or functionality to a new unit.

The U.S. court case will also hinge on the definition of refurbished, and on how the court interprets "equivalent to new in performance and reliability," which remains in the Dutch terms of service and was present for both the December ruling, and now April's.

Parts that are replaced in a repair at an Apple authorized service location are required to be returned to Apple for evaluation and potential component level repair, with the goal of an eventual return to service stock.

While some parts on Apple iOS devices can't be refurbished, like displays, 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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 74
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,195member
    Silly people that make these decisions. Unless the refurbs have visible blemishes, it's well known that they are quite often more stable and better tested than brand new units. Maybe the blemishes are the concern? Do people feel "dirty" using a pre-owned device? Personally, I find some of my favourite items at thrift stores.
    edited April 2017 watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 74
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,195member
    I guess it hinges on this:

    [Plaintiff] has the right to a new copy, as it has purchased at the time. A remanufactured copy is not. This is apparent from the fact that Apple offers such lowercase copies on its own website.

    The [Plaintiff] felt that they were given back a lower-cost (or lower-quality?) product. World of winers?

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 74
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 3,941member
    Silly people that make these decisions. Unless the refurbs have visible blemishes, it's well known that they are quite often more stable and better tested than brand new units. Maybe the blemishes are the concern? Do people feel "dirty" using a pre-owned device? Personally, I find some of my favourite items at thrift stores.
    i almost always buy refurb macs from apple. nice savings, great machines. 
    levijbdragonargonautwatto_cobrabadmonk
  • Reply 4 of 74
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 1,806member
    I fully support this verdict. New is new. Refurbished is 'used' fobbed off as 'new' in the case in hand.

    Apple can put what it wants in its terms but that doesn't make them necessarily legal.

    I have also always taken issue with Apple reserving the right to use used components in repairs.
    edited April 2017 muthuk_vanalingamargonautanantksundaramadm1laptopleon
  • Reply 5 of 74
    supadav03supadav03 Posts: 290member
    That's some bullshit. Who knows how she treated her iPad during those 4 months. To me, after 120 days of use, I wouldn't consider it "new". Like new, sure, but not new. And as someone who owns several refurb Apple products, the quality is phenomenal. Both in the products aesthetic & performance. 
    edited April 2017 jbdragonGeorgeBMacStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 74
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 5,644member
    Silly people that make these decisions. Unless the refurbs have visible blemishes, it's well known that they are quite often more stable and better tested than brand new units. Maybe the blemishes are the concern? Do people feel "dirty" using a pre-owned device? Personally, I find some of my favourite items at thrift stores.
    The illogical question is, of course, why was the refurbished unit returned in the first place? Why is it assumed there is always something wrong with a refurbished unit? Right here on AI we always have individuals who say they returned their purchase because they “didn’t like it” or “it was too slippery” or “the new model came out the next day.” All this will do for the Dutch consumer is raise prices but I guess they’ll feel better about it. And if the same thing happens in the U.S. then get ready for even higher prices.
    edited April 2017
  • Reply 7 of 74
    Silly people that make these decisions. Unless the refurbs have visible blemishes, it's well known that they are quite often more stable and better tested than brand new units. Maybe the blemishes are the concern? Do people feel "dirty" using a pre-owned device? Personally, I find some of my favourite items at thrift stores.
    Can you please elaborate on the bolded line a bit more? I don't get it.
  • Reply 8 of 74
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 1,923administrator
    avon b7 said:

    I have also always taken issue with Apple reserving the right to use used components in repairs.
    Why? The "broken" boards go back to Apple, where they're examined for what the problem is. The problem components are then replaced, the part is tested, and sent out for service repairs.

    Who else can say "yeah, this part is new and ready to go" besides Apple? Nobody. Demanding new parts is utter folly, and forcing Apple to do so is wasteful and will drive consumer costs way up.

    As far as service replacements coming from new stock, yeah, that's dumb. Maybe if you have something with an infant failure in a month, but anything longer than that, and the mileage a customer puts on a product should render that null and void.
    GeorgeBMacradarthekatStrangeDaysfastasleepwatto_cobrabadmonk
  • Reply 9 of 74
    sully54sully54 Posts: 68member
    Silly people that make these decisions. Unless the refurbs have visible blemishes, it's well known that they are quite often more stable and better tested than brand new units. Maybe the blemishes are the concern? Do people feel "dirty" using a pre-owned device? Personally, I find some of my favourite items at thrift stores.
    Can you please elaborate on the bolded line a bit more? I don't get it.
    New units that come off the assembly line are manufactured at scale. Which means that it's simply impossible to subject each individual unit through QA testing. So what companies does is they take a sample from a batch and test that sample. If the sample passes QA test, then the whole batch is assumed to pass as well. 

    Refurbish units are different. Apple disassembles and reassembles each refurb unit, testing every component along the way. Once assembled, each refurb unit goes through QA testing. This is why apple is still able to offer AppleCare on refurb units. 

    Dont confuse refurb units units with open box items from places like Best Buy. Open box items don't go back to apple and are sold "as is"
    bloggerblogandrewj5790jbdragonStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 74
    Silly people that make these decisions. Unless the refurbs have visible blemishes, it's well known that they are quite often more stable and better tested than brand new units. Maybe the blemishes are the concern? Do people feel "dirty" using a pre-owned device? Personally, I find some of my favourite items at thrift stores.
    coolfactor, I've been screw by Apple's new/refurbished policy. I had an iPad Mini 2 that I could push hard and by the end of the evening, I have about 15% battery life left. I dropped and cracked. Since I was out of warranty, I had to buy a "new" iPad at a reduced priced. I remember asking 2 or 3 ways if it was a new iPad. I was always got the same answer, yes. Not the case. With my "new" iPad, with the same type of use, I would need to hook it up to my battery pack by 7:00PM. Where before I could unplug and go in the morning, now I baby my iPad. In the morning, in my lower use time, I need to keep the iPad plugged in until about 10:00 in the morning. Sometimes, that still isn't enough get me through the day. Doesn't sound like "new" to me that first iPad that I had for about a year had a better battery life than my "new" iPad.
  • Reply 11 of 74
    customtbcustomtb Posts: 333member
    Wonder if they can make it a customer choice? Something like we can repair your unit in a week. If you prefer, you can elect to receive a refurb today
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 74
    croprcropr Posts: 678member
    Silly people that make these decisions. Unless the refurbs have visible blemishes, it's well known that they are quite often more stable and better tested than brand new units. Maybe the blemishes are the concern? Do people feel "dirty" using a pre-owned device? Personally, I find some of my favourite items at thrift stores.
    Silly people make silly quotes.  The fact that you mentioned "quite often" is translated in legal terms  as "not guaranteed".  The judge is 100% right.  There is absolutely no guarantee that a refurbished item has always the same quality as a newly produced item. 
    The MBTF of a non replaced component in a refurbished device is always less than the MTBF of the same component in a new device, so statistically a refurbished device will fail earlier.  If this failure just happens after the warranty of the refurbished, then you as a customer are screwed.
    By the way I did not mention Apple in my reply, because it is applicable for ever manufacturer
    singularityargonautanantksundaramlaptopleon
  • Reply 13 of 74
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,527member
    avon b7 said:
    I fully support this verdict. New is new. Refurbished is 'used' fobbed off as 'new' in the case in hand.

    Apple can put what it wants in its terms but that doesn't make them necessarily legal.

    I have also always taken issue with Apple reserving the right to use used components in repairs.
    This decision is total crap. The unit being repaired was not brand new. It presumably has 3, 6 or 9 months of use on it before it is replaced. It is perfectly reasonable to replace a non-new device with a refurbished device. DOA out of the box is one thing, but a used device should not require a new replacement.
    Do these people expect the new replacement unit to have it's own full warranty now, guaranteeing these people will pretty much be guaranteed a new device at least once a year?!
    StrangeDaysjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 74
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 3,875member
    avon b7 said:
    I fully support this verdict. New is new. Refurbished is 'used' fobbed off as 'new' in the case in hand.

    Apple can put what it wants in its terms but that doesn't make them necessarily legal.

    I have also always taken issue with Apple reserving the right to use used components in repairs.
    So you would rather just throw things out because they're supposedly bad? This is an area where Apple makes good use of "used" products. There's nothing wrong with getting a refurbished product for a defective. You would never know. Its not like the refurb device works half-ass or has scratches/dents in the case or something. Putting these back into use is far better than recycling them. What else are they going to do with it?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 74
    mike1 said:
    avon b7 said:
    I fully support this verdict. New is new. Refurbished is 'used' fobbed off as 'new' in the case in hand.

    Apple can put what it wants in its terms but that doesn't make them necessarily legal.

    I have also always taken issue with Apple reserving the right to use used components in repairs.
    This decision is total crap. The unit being repaired was not brand new. It presumably has 3, 6 or 9 months of use on it before it is replaced. It is perfectly reasonable to replace a non-new device with a refurbished device. DOA out of the box is one thing, but a used device should not require a new replacement.
    Do these people expect the new replacement unit to have it's own full warranty now, guaranteeing these people will pretty much be guaranteed a new device at least once a year?!
    That is actually how a lot of insurances work in The Netherlands, either a new product or the full amount that a new one would cost.
    laptopleon
  • Reply 16 of 74
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,761member
    When was the last time your car was fixed by a third-party auto repair facility using factory parts? Not very often except for very specific items. Brakes are usually remanufactured to OEM specifications or manufactured by a vendor other than the one that's in your car. At least Apple replaces Apple products with Apple products. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 74
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,527member
    Donvermo said:
    mike1 said:
    avon b7 said:
    I fully support this verdict. New is new. Refurbished is 'used' fobbed off as 'new' in the case in hand.

    Apple can put what it wants in its terms but that doesn't make them necessarily legal.

    I have also always taken issue with Apple reserving the right to use used components in repairs.
    This decision is total crap. The unit being repaired was not brand new. It presumably has 3, 6 or 9 months of use on it before it is replaced. It is perfectly reasonable to replace a non-new device with a refurbished device. DOA out of the box is one thing, but a used device should not require a new replacement.
    Do these people expect the new replacement unit to have it's own full warranty now, guaranteeing these people will pretty much be guaranteed a new device at least once a year?!
    That is actually how a lot of insurances work in The Netherlands, either a new product or the full amount that a new one would cost.
    I the US, you have an option to pay extra for insurance with full replacement value versus actual value at the time of loss.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 74
    jsmythe00jsmythe00 Posts: 384member
    I don't support this verdict. I'd give the customer an option 1. Take a refurb or 2. Submit your device for complete repair. At which you'll get it back in 2-4 weeks 4 months of use and you want a new device is ridiculous.
    StrangeDaysjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 74
    ronvdbronvdb Posts: 5member
    The law states that the consumer has the choice of repair or replacement. Repair was not possible, so a replacement was given which was not new. Dutch law does not state that it should be new. The jurisprudence in this case comes from the European Court, which in a similar case has ruled that the item should be new. A previous iPhone case was also based on this particular ruling. The judge simply followed rulings that are already in place.
    gprovidaavon b7
  • Reply 20 of 74
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,588member
    You know when you drive a new car off the lot, the value just drops. It's no longer NEW. Anything you buy, once you walk out the store, open it up and start using, it's no longer NEW. It's now a used product. You used that new iPad for 4 months, it turned into a used iPad 4 months ago. Getting a used Replacement that looks new and was tested to work perfectly is a good device. Maybe even better tested then the ones coming off the factory assembly line. I really don't see what the issue here is. Replacing your broken for whatever reason iOS device for NEW seems crazy, especially if it's spelled out in the warranty. If you don't like the terms, don't buy it and then bitch later.
    supadav03StrangeDaysjony0watto_cobra
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