Apple sued over 2016 MacBook Pro 'stage lighting' issue

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 2020
Apple has been hit with a class-action lawsuit claiming that the company concealed the so-called "stage lighting" issue experienced by some 2016 MacBook Pro owners.

The too-short backlight cable can be seen on the right, alongside the remedied version. Credit: iFixit
The too-short backlight cable can be seen on the right, alongside the remedied version. Credit: iFixit


Dubbed "stage lighting" due to abnormal backlighting patterns emanating from the bottom of an impacted MacBook Pro's display, the problem was tied to stress or tearing on the laptop's cable when the lid was opened and closed repeatedly. Apple eventually launched a repair program for the issue in 2019 and quietly fixed the underlying culprit in the next generation of MacBook.

On Wednesday, Los Angeles resident Mahan Taleshpour lodged a complaint in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California alleging that Apple was aware of the defect in its product and failed to disclose the issue to consumers.

The plaintiff claims that his 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro experienced stage lighting effects in January 2020, but he was left responsible for the full cost of the display repair due to the fact that the repair program only covers 13-inch MacBook Pro models released in 2016. He added that the cost to repair the display was quoted as $850, adding that he's been unable to repair the device since the COVID-19 outbreak.

The "stage lighting" effect is described as alternating patches of light and darkness at the bottom of the display, and the complaint points out that some MacBook Pro models experience complete display failure after significant backlight cable damage. Repairing the display cable is often a costly service, since it requires the entire display unit to be replaced.

Among complaints that Apple promoted a defective product and failed to exercise quality control, the lawsuit also claims that the company's conduct in the matter was unlawful and violated the Consumers Legal Remedies Act and the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act.

It also levies allegations that Apple's "concealment" of the display cable issue was "malicious, oppressive, deliberate" and "intended to defraud."

The plaintiff is seeking an official disclosure about the "defective nature" of the display cables, restitutions for MacBook Pro repair costs or economic losses, an expansion of AppleCare and repair program service to 15-inch models, and legal fees.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    juanguapojuanguapo Posts: 71member
    Another day, another someone or something suing Apple.
    mike1thinkman@chartermi.netMisterKitF_Kent_Dmagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 21
    AppleishAppleish Posts: 407member
    Quarantine fatigue made me see '2016' and think '16-inch.' I was like, a lawsuit over my six month old MBP already!?

    Can't wait for that vaccine so things can get back to normal.
    edited May 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 21
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,837member
    Okay... a part failure out of warranty is kinda just that. I wonder how much effort was put into actually contacting Support and politely asking to get this covered, because in my experience it's not that hard to get Apple to either fix stuff for free or at least at their "flat rate" price which traditionally has been around $300 for 15" MBPs and covers everything — in my case once I basically got a new Mac back based on the number of parts replaced, including the display which had some discoloration, when it was brought in for completely separate reasons — which is totally reasonable given it was several years out of warranty.
    F_Kent_Dwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 21
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,189member
    Oh so some more people want their $3 out of Apple.....
    thinkman@chartermi.netlkruppMisterKitmagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 21
    tommikeletommikele Posts: 533member
    Appleish said:
    Quarantine fatigue made me see '2016' and think '16-inch.' I was like, a lawsuit over my six month old MBP already!?

    Can't wait for that vaccine so things can get back to normal.
    Whatever they come up with, it's a guarantee it will not go through the kind of rigid, scientific testing that has served us pretty well for a long time. I would temper my expectations if I were you ... I will let you go first and if it works out (just kidding) ... Don't hold your breath. You are going to be waiting awhile.
    tyler82beowulfschmidt
  • Reply 6 of 21
    juanguapo said:
    Another day, another someone or something suing Apple.
    The big-dog is always the target. Is it any wonder Apple charges what they do for their products? So many frivilouus class action suits tried in Texas courts (almost exclusively, since they typically just rubber stamp for the procescution)! Sick system, broken Texas legal system.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 21
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,520member
    Or at least at their "flat rate" price which traditionally has been around $300 for 15" MBPs and covers everything 
    so I’ve used the “flat rate” MBP repair twice.  My 2014 15” MBP developed a bulged battery which damaged the logic board and display.  That was around $575 plus tax on mid 2018.  I also did a 13” MBP that belonged to my parents just this past November and also had a bulged battery and it came to $300 plus tax but they were explicit that that did not include the display.  Flat rate with display was about the same $575 I had paid , maybe slightly different due to it being a 13”.  I don’t remember the exact price.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 21
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,350member
    A 2016 laptop fails in 2020.  

    Out of warranty. 

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 21
    MisterKitMisterKit Posts: 441member
    Okay... a part failure out of warranty is kinda just that. I wonder how much effort was put into actually contacting Support and politely asking to get this covered, because in my experience it's not that hard to get Apple to either fix stuff for free or at least at their "flat rate" price which traditionally has been around $300 for 15" MBPs and covers everything — in my case once I basically got a new Mac back based on the number of parts replaced, including the display which had some discoloration, when it was brought in for completely separate reasons — which is totally reasonable given it was several years out of warranty.
    Exactly. I have had the same experience several times. Be polite and make your case. I have never had an experience with Apple where they didn’t go the extra mile in the customers favor. As you said, if not free, they will usually at least give you a substantial discount like 50% off the regular price.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 21
    I'm glad that Mahan did the research.  This was a $3.00 part.  If this was a car, it'd be covered under a recall action.  However, and because of the way Apple is setup, it takes every single customer interaction (or problem) as an opportunity to bait-and-switch a customer into buying a brand new product.  Makes you wonder how many customers decided (and opt'ed) to buying a brand new computer, when explained that the $2,000 Macbook repair would also require 3 or 4 weeks for repair requiring to be shipped-out, and that Apple doesn't offer a loaner program.

    Bravo, Mahan.  I hope he wins.


    edited May 2020 ElCapitanbeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 11 of 21
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,811member
    There was a fault Apple issued a recall. Why wasn't this the end of it? GM, Ford, etc., have been doing this for years. They only get sued in particularly egregious cases.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 21
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,189member
    MisterKit said:
    Okay... a part failure out of warranty is kinda just that. I wonder how much effort was put into actually contacting Support and politely asking to get this covered, because in my experience it's not that hard to get Apple to either fix stuff for free or at least at their "flat rate" price which traditionally has been around $300 for 15" MBPs and covers everything — in my case once I basically got a new Mac back based on the number of parts replaced, including the display which had some discoloration, when it was brought in for completely separate reasons — which is totally reasonable given it was several years out of warranty.
    Exactly. I have had the same experience several times. Be polite and make your case. I have never had an experience with Apple where they didn’t go the extra mile in the customers favor. As you said, if not free, they will usually at least give you a substantial discount like 50% off the regular price.

    Because some people think they're entitled and shouldn't have to pay for anything if it breaks. Things just last forever, right?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 21
    erioerio Posts: 24member
    Hey folks, this issue is about Apple only fixing the backlight problem on 13” MacBook Pro (2016). Sadly, this is also affecting 15” MacBook Pro. This is not about getting a free repair or "discount" after his warranty ended. Mahan is simply pointing out 15” MacBook Pro (2016) are also affected, yet Apple is not doing any repair program for it. Hasn’t this happened before, when Apple will only fix a “small percentage” of butterfly keyboards, only to change their mind and expanded into generations of MacBook Pro with butterfly keyboard? Sometimes, it takes one or several individuals to bring it into Apple's attention by taking them to court. Unfortunately, this happens when companies get too big and ignore issues.
    MplsP
  • Reply 14 of 21
    flydogflydog Posts: 1,025member
    DAalseth said:
    There was a fault Apple issued a recall. Why wasn't this the end of it? GM, Ford, etc., have been doing this for years. They only get sued in particularly egregious cases.
    If you had read the article, you would know why.  The repair program was for 13” MacBooks. 
  • Reply 15 of 21
    tobiantobian Posts: 117member
    erio said:
    Hey folks, this issue is about Apple only fixing the backlight problem on 13” MacBook Pro (2016). Sadly, this is also affecting 15” MacBook Pro. This is not about getting a free repair or "discount" after his warranty ended. Mahan is simply pointing out 15” MacBook Pro (2016) are also affected, yet Apple is not doing any repair program for it. Hasn’t this happened before, when Apple will only fix a “small percentage” of butterfly keyboards, only to change their mind and expanded into generations of MacBook Pro with butterfly keyboard? Sometimes, it takes one or several individuals to bring it into Apple's attention by taking them to court. Unfortunately, this happens when companies get too big and ignore issues.
    No, it's not affecting any other! The problem is that people don't read manuals.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 21
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,433member
    tobian said:
    erio said:
    Hey folks, this issue is about Apple only fixing the backlight problem on 13” MacBook Pro (2016). Sadly, this is also affecting 15” MacBook Pro. This is not about getting a free repair or "discount" after his warranty ended. Mahan is simply pointing out 15” MacBook Pro (2016) are also affected, yet Apple is not doing any repair program for it. Hasn’t this happened before, when Apple will only fix a “small percentage” of butterfly keyboards, only to change their mind and expanded into generations of MacBook Pro with butterfly keyboard? Sometimes, it takes one or several individuals to bring it into Apple's attention by taking them to court. Unfortunately, this happens when companies get too big and ignore issues.
    No, it's not affecting any other! The problem is that people don't read manuals.

    How is this from not reading the manual?

    The stage lighting problem was well documented and traced to a design flaw in the cable. If the same design flaw exists in the 15" MBPs it's reasonable to expect apple to cover them as well. The question I have is that I really haven't seen a lot of reports of the issue in the 15" models. I wouldn't necessarily be in a place to see them, so it's hard to tell if it's widespread, or if this was just an isolated issue. (I have a 15" 2016 MBP and I haven't seen it, so I guess this guy must be making it up, right? 🤪)
  • Reply 17 of 21
    F_Kent_DF_Kent_D Posts: 85unconfirmed, member
    Okay... a part failure out of warranty is kinda just that. I wonder how much effort was put into actually contacting Support and politely asking to get this covered, because in my experience it's not that hard to get Apple to either fix stuff for free or at least at their "flat rate" price which traditionally has been around $300 for 15" MBPs and covers everything — in my case once I basically got a new Mac back based on the number of parts replaced, including the display which had some discoloration, when it was brought in for completely separate reasons — which is totally reasonable given it was several years out of warranty.
    I’ve had great experiences with Apple replacing things under warranty that were obviously not under warranty. My son dropped his 2017 MacBook, casing was bent, battery was damaged and needed to be replaced as it wouldn’t startup without being plugged in. The rep called it a warranty fix awaiting what the remote repair facility determined. I got a call 3 days later saying my MacBook was ready for pickup, no charge whatsoever and they replaced the damaged aluminum casing along with the battery and keyboard due to that being part of the battery. The repair sheet had a quote of over $500 BTW.
    MisterKitfastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 21
    tobiantobian Posts: 117member

    No, it's not affecting any other! The problem is that people don't read manuals.

    How is this from not reading the manual?

    The stage lighting problem was well documented and traced to a design flaw in the cable. If the same design flaw exists in the 15" MBPs it's reasonable to expect apple to cover them as well. The question I have is that I really haven't seen a lot of reports of the issue in the 15" models. I wouldn't necessarily be in a place to see them, so it's hard to tell if it's widespread, or if this was just an isolated issue. (I have a 15" 2016 MBP and I haven't seen it, so I guess this guy must be making it up, right? ߤꩦlt;/div>
    It's an electro-mechanical issue depending on the cable lenght (*as me and my collegues at AASP believe). And solution is not that easy, like making it longer. Stage light issue may appear on affected models, when being used normally - that's what Apple acknowledged. However other models can exhibit the same issue mainly when repeatedly turning display lid into excessive angle. When you frenzily rub the display, AG coating would wear off. If you're leaving your MacBook outdoors all night long, it might get wet inside and oxidize, etc.. people just don't dare to read operating conditions.
    edited May 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 21
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,430member
    Okay... a part failure out of warranty is kinda just that. I wonder how much effort was put into actually contacting Support and politely asking to get this covered, because in my experience it's not that hard to get Apple to either fix stuff for free or at least at their "flat rate" price which traditionally has been around $300 for 15" MBPs and covers everything — in my case once I basically got a new Mac back based on the number of parts replaced, including the display which had some discoloration, when it was brought in for completely separate reasons — which is totally reasonable given it was several years out of warranty.
    When the problem is the design, you know the repair will fail the same way after warranty is over. Just like the NVidia GPU failures, where Apple would replace your motherboard for free once the issue was acknowledged... until they ran out of replacements and all the replacements had the same GPU and died the same way.

     That’s why this lawsuit exists. 
  • Reply 20 of 21
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,837member
    F_Kent_D said:
    Okay... a part failure out of warranty is kinda just that. I wonder how much effort was put into actually contacting Support and politely asking to get this covered, because in my experience it's not that hard to get Apple to either fix stuff for free or at least at their "flat rate" price which traditionally has been around $300 for 15" MBPs and covers everything — in my case once I basically got a new Mac back based on the number of parts replaced, including the display which had some discoloration, when it was brought in for completely separate reasons — which is totally reasonable given it was several years out of warranty.
    I’ve had great experiences with Apple replacing things under warranty that were obviously not under warranty. My son dropped his 2017 MacBook, casing was bent, battery was damaged and needed to be replaced as it wouldn’t startup without being plugged in. The rep called it a warranty fix awaiting what the remote repair facility determined. I got a call 3 days later saying my MacBook was ready for pickup, no charge whatsoever and they replaced the damaged aluminum casing along with the battery and keyboard due to that being part of the battery. The repair sheet had a quote of over $500 BTW.
    That's incredible. Mine have all been various hardware failures (RAM slot, MBP GPU, etc). Apple Watch S0 face coming off out of warranty. Nothing accidental. That's above and beyond and I'm guessing being nice to the right person at the right time had something to do with it. Whenever I hear these horror stories of how evil Apple is with regard to repairs, I'm usually picturing some of these asshats who go in there and chew out the Genius as if it's somehow their fault, which gets you exactly what you deserve. I've had an outstanding experience with Apple Support over the years.
    edited May 2020 icoco3watto_cobra
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