Lawsuit charges Apple with ignoring swelling Apple Watch batteries

Posted:
in Apple Watch
A lawsuit launched this week accuses the company of knowingly ignoring a problem with Apple Watch batteries causing them to swell and break the screen.

Priano-Keyser's broken Apple Watch Series 3.
Priano-Keyser's broken Apple Watch Series 3.


Filed on behalf of plaintiff Gina Priano-Keyser through the U.S. District Court for New Jersey, the suit argues Apple is committing fraud and breach of warranty, often choosing to label incidents accidents and deny discounted warranty repairs. The company has offered free repairs in the past.

In the complaint, lawyers for Priano-Keyser say she bought a Series 3 Watch in Oct. 2017, and that in July the next year its screen suddenly detached and cracked during charging. Her daughter tried to push the screen back in, but the Watch has reportedly been "unusable" since.

As evidence of a broader trend the complaint points to more than a dozen similar anecdotes on Apple's support forums over a matter of years. It also suggests that the situation is a potential safety hazard, as some people have already suffered "cuts and burns."

Attorneys are pursuing class action status, the defined class being any New Jersey resident who's a present or former owner of a Series 1, 2, or 3 bought in the state.

A similar suit by the same lawfirm -- Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah -- was launched in California last summer, but dismissed in large part because it didn't identify a responsible defect. That issue is addressed here, specifically pointing to "aging or otherwise faulty" lithium-ion batteries, or else other defective components that might impact them.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    Did the individual use appropriately certified charging equipment? Was there evidence of the battery having expanded? When the individual’s daughter tampering with or trying to repair on her own, that would void any warranty and Apple would be in the right to not repair the device. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 23
    The article doesn’t mention it but was the watch brought into an Apple Store for service? If so, what was the outcome? Or are they just trying to sue without even bothering to contact Apple at all?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 23
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,152member
    Companies get sued every day. I get class action claim letters from stuff I bought years ago and had forgotten about. Suing is one thing. Getting a judgement is another thing all together. The plaintiffs will get a coupon and the lawyers will get a couple of $million. We’ll probably never hear about this lawsuit after today just like all the others that have been announced and disappear into the legal rain forest. I remember a lawsuit against Apple probably twenty years ago. It had something to do with OS 9 and I was part of the “class”. Know what I got eventually? A free copy of OS 9 on a CD. But since this involves Apple the tech media will try to hang it around Apple’s neck like a dead Albatross. They always do.
    edited April 2 ravnorodomwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 23
    berndogberndog Posts: 85member
    And you’d have your daughter push on the broken glass why?
    JWSCwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 23
    The article doesn’t mention it but was the watch brought into an Apple Store for service? If so, what was the outcome? Or are they just trying to sue without even bothering to contact Apple at all?
    AI seems to have neglected to add that information to their article.  Yes, she did attempt to take the watch in for service.
    "After booking an appointment at an Apple Genius Bar in August 2018, she says Apple denied the repair under warranty for free, and quoted her the out-of-warranty charge of US$229. She seeks damages “in an amount to be proven at trial for herself and all others similarly situated.”  - MacObserver

    "The plaintiff booked a Genius Bar appointment in August 2018, but upon inspection, she alleges that Apple denied to repair the Apple Watch free of charge under warranty and instead quoted her an out-of-warranty fee of $229 for service." - MacRumors
    revenanttyler82GeorgeBMacairnerd
  • Reply 6 of 23
    wattoukwattouk Posts: 21member
    My original Apple Watch 2 had the screen pop off randomly one day, unsure if it was due to battery swelling though. I had private insurance which swapped it for a brand new one in 48hrs and it’s still going strong, albeit a bit slower than when I first bought it. Next stop Apple Watch 5.
    airnerdwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 23
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,705member
    The screen “suddenly” detached. Not said: after I kept smacking the walls with it while walking around corners. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 23
    TuuborTuubor Posts: 37member
    My series 2 did this just two monts before the device turned two years old. Suddenly shut down and stopped charging and started heating up in the official Apple Watch charger (the only thing I have ever charged with). It would not turn back on. Took it out of the charger and left it on my nightstand and in the morning the screen was detached from the other side because the battery had swollen. 

    Luckily here in the EU you can get your device fixed under warranty when it is under 2 years old. It’s the law. Apple does not advertise it but they are required to fix it. So I took it back to the carrier I got it from and Apple replaced it with a brand new one. So even all of my scratches on the screen are gone. I was pretty delighted. 
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 23
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,134member
    I use my series ZERO SBSS as a sleep monitor, now.  Bought July 2015.  Battery life is poor and it uses about 18-20% in 7 hours overnight. 

    It all original. Even the battery.  Just sayin’...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 23
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,152member
    eriamjh said:
    I use my series ZERO SBSS as a sleep monitor, now.  Bought July 2015.  Battery life is poor and it uses about 18-20% in 7 hours overnight. 

    It all original. Even the battery.  Just sayin’...
    Well, that’s the point. The Internet amplifies the negative so those who do have issues light it up and everybody thinks everybody has the issue. Nobody believes Apple when they say “a small number of users” when the issue is plastered all over the place. Meanwhile millions of users go about their business perfectly satisfied with their Apple product. Trouble is they don’t say anything. By the way, your watch is going on four years old and probably needs a new battery. My 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 23
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,094member
    The swollen battery thing seems to be fairly common with Apple devices. This is almost to be expected for aging Apple devices, just like their aging owners. As they get older they tend to swell up a few pants sizes until they no longer fit. In the past 2 years I've had four Apple devices pop their lids: two iPod Touch 6 gen, one iPhone 6+, and one iPad Mini. With the iPhone I got a $29 replacement device. With the other devices I got - zilch. When you encounter the indifference that Apple shows you in response to catastrophic component failures like these swollen batteries it does make you kind of think about the strange relationship between Apple and Loyalty. For a company whose success is so deeply ingrained in its customer's loyalty to Apple, there is very little loyalty going the other way, even for long-term repeat customers who have multiple Apple devices, > 10, in their possession. I chatted with an Apple Store manager recently about this very topic and the maanger's response was along the lines of "we treat every Apple customer the same, whether they have one Apple device or a hundred Apple devices." Okay, I have no problem at all with that approach, but I think the manager is mixing up the notion of "fairness" with the notion of "loyalty." Every customer should absolutely be treated with an equal degree of fairness. However, at least in my book, loyalty goes above and beyond fairness and recognizes a deeper relationship than simply treating everyone the same. Loyalty keeps customers coming back when Apple makes some missteps or fails to deliver on expectations or holds a tight line on prices. Or at least that's my naive and emotional notion of loyalty. But when you really start to look beyond the emotional aspects of loyalty and start to say, god forbid, attempt to quantify, start keeping score, or measure the degree of reciprocity really happening it starts to look kind of like Apple and Loyalty are on a one-way street. Apple leans heavily on customer loyalty and there are always plenty of loyal customers ready to bale Apple out of situations that other companies would struggle to survive. Sure, Apple keeps on drumming up new widgets and ways to excite us, but when we all face our own personal struggles with Apple products that fail us on a personal scale, too often we realize that there is no loyalty coming back the other way. The reality with many of the products we're buying these days, from Apple and others, is that they will fail us before we've gotten everything from them that we desire. What happens with the relationship after the point of failure says a lot about the true nature of the relationship that has always existed.
  • Reply 12 of 23
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,750member
    The watch looks like it has had a hard life, which is probably why Apple didn’t replace it. Whatever she had been doing with it damaged the battery.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 23
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,895member
    eriamjh said:
    I use my series ZERO SBSS as a sleep monitor, now.  Bought July 2015.  Battery life is poor and it uses about 18-20% in 7 hours overnight. 

    It all original. Even the battery.  Just sayin’...
    I still use my series Zero (Original Apple Watch) everyday, all day and most of the night. I only take it off before I go to sleep to let it charge overnight. Yeah its a little slow and frustrating to use because of that but its still a perfectly good watch. That being said, I would like to get a new Apple Watch at some point. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 23
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 943member
    That looks very much like it's been hit on one corner to me. That was probably the conclusion of Apple too, and this idiot wasn't happy they didn't get a free replacement. Pretty sure Apple replaces genuine swollen batteries free.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 23
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,895member
    elijahg said:
    That looks very much like it's been hit on one corner to me. That was probably the conclusion of Apple too, and this idiot wasn't happy they didn't get a free replacement. Pretty sure Apple replaces genuine swollen batteries free.
    I have a friend with a series zero Apple Watch and he had a battery swelling issue on his which Apple replaced the watch for free (with another series zero). So it does happen and I'm sure there's more to the story were not getting. But I agree...its more like they didn't get what they wanted so they'll just start a class-action lawsuit because they found 5 other people with the same issue so it must be an actual world crisis and of course some scumbag lawyer will pick up the case. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 23
    doggonedoggone Posts: 183member
    My story is that I left my 1st gen AppleWatch in my shorts and put it through and full wash and dry.  I realized as I was unloading the clothes in the dryer.  I could feel the watch through the fabric and it was very hot.  I cursed myself for my stupidity but let the watch fully cool down.  After an hour or so, I checked to see if the watch would switch on.  No go and again I berated myself for being a dumbass.  I guessed that maybe the battery needed recharging so put it on the charger for an hour.  I kept a close eye on it in case the battery decided to explode.

    Imagine my surprise that the watch actually charged and switched on.  For a few days it was a bit flaky but after a while it settled down and worked as normal.

    I know that sometimes products do fail, but for Apple to build a watch that could get washed and put through over a hour of high temp and moisture is truly amazing.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 23
    I have never heard of a swollen battery cracking the screen, it will however push the screen off of the case, since it's held there with a rubbery adhesive.

    The glass on the pictured watch looks like it has received plenty of abuse (lots of dents and scratches) - while a swollen battery might have been the "straw that broke the camels back", it seems more likely that this wasn't what cracked the screen.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 23
    Johan42Johan42 Posts: 163member
    The article doesn’t mention it but was the watch brought into an Apple Store for service? If so, what was the outcome? Or are they just trying to sue without even bothering to contact Apple at all?
    AI seems to have neglected to add that information to their article.  Yes, she did attempt to take the watch in for service.
    "After booking an appointment at an Apple Genius Bar in August 2018, she says Apple denied the repair under warranty for free, and quoted her the out-of-warranty charge of US$229. She seeks damages “in an amount to be proven at trial for herself and all others similarly situated.”  - MacObserver

    "The plaintiff booked a Genius Bar appointment in August 2018, but upon inspection, she alleges that Apple denied to repair the Apple Watch free of charge under warranty and instead quoted her an out-of-warranty fee of $229 for service." - MacRumors
    Apple gonna Apple. 🤑
  • Reply 19 of 23
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,673member
    The article doesn’t mention it but was the watch brought into an Apple Store for service? If so, what was the outcome? Or are they just trying to sue without even bothering to contact Apple at all?
    My experience at the Apple Store is it often depends on who you talk to there as to what answer you get.  Getting an iPhone 6+ with Touch Disease taken care of was kind of nightmare of different answers from different employees -- and a lot of lies and fabrications.  Thankfully one of those employees did the right thing and I had the time and tenacity to walk through the process.  I am retired, but had I been working I would have had to just give up, throw the phone away and buy a new one.
  • Reply 20 of 23
    My experience at the Apple Store is it often depends on who you talk to there as to what answer you get.  Getting an iPhone 6+ with Touch Disease taken care of was kind of nightmare of different answers from different employees -- and a lot of lies and fabrications.  Thankfully one of those employees did the right thing and I had the time and tenacity to walk through the process.  I am retired, but had I been working I would have had to just give up, throw the phone away and buy a new one.
    I used to take my very attractive, blonde, blue eyed, 17 year old daughter with me to have my Apple Devices fixed.  She'd flip her hair, giggle and generally play up the dumb blonde stereotype, and they would nearly always fixed or replace them even when they were out of warranty.

    Yes, I encouraged her to use her womanly wiles on unsuspected Genius Bar geeks.  And yes, I explained to her why it worked, though she'd already figured most of it out.

    Doesn't work much anymore; apparently they've tightened things up a bit. :(

    GeorgeBMac
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