Dutch Court Rules Apple May Not Use 'Remanufactured' iPads for Warranty Replacements

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A new ruling by a judge in the Subdistrict Court of Amsterdam has mandated that Apple can not replace a broken iPad unit with a "remanufactured" device, and must supply the plaintiff with an entirely new iPad instead. The case stems from a woman who purchased an iPad Air 2 with AppleCare back in 2015, and subsequently faced problems with the device's Wi-Fi around four months later.

Apple then supplied the woman with a remanufactured version of the iPad, which Apple said is a process by which the company reconstitutes damaged products by using "the same production and inspection procedures" as it does for brand new devices. The woman disagreed with Apple's methods of replacing her iPad and took the company to court, with Tweakers [Google Translate] reporting that she "was not satisfied" with the remanufactured device she was given under AppleCare.


The Dutch judge has now ruled in agreement with the plaintiff, stating that a remanufactured version of the iPad is not enough. The judge said that the purchase state of the original iPad is what should be looked at when considering replacement devices, meaning an iPad purchased as remanufactured could be replaced with a remanufactured iPad, although it's unclear how -- or if -- purchasing a remanufactured iPad is even possible.

But an iPad purchased brand new -- as is the case here -- should be replaced with a new iPad. The Amsterdam court goes into more detail in a briefing posted online recently, translated from Dutch:

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

A similar case passed through the Dutch courts last summer, wherein another Dutch woman sued Apple for refusing to replace her broken iPhone 6 Plus with a brand new model. The victory nullified the purchase agreement that the woman made with Apple, and ordered the company to refund the woman the full €799 that she paid for the iPhone. In short order, that case set a precedent for the future of similar cases in the country, placing a stain on "refurbished" devices sold by Apple, leading the company to use "remanufactured" ones instead.

Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, refurbished refers to the redistribution of used products to consumers at a slightly reduced cost, after they first go through a process that ensures their quality is ready for the market. Remanufacturing is generally a more rigorous and expensive process for companies to go through -- which is one of Apple's arguments in the Dutch case -- as it requires a level of specifications to be met that are as high-standard as they were for the original product.

The argument hasn't worked for Apple, and the judge has now ruled that Apple has to pay the woman in question €100 for every day that she was left without the new replacement iPad.

Top Rated Comments

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41 months ago
I agree with this. I didn't buy a refurb device. I bought a new device and it didn't work properly, it should be replaced with a new device.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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41 months ago
I hope this doesn't become standard practice. Quality refurbishing is fine and helps minimize e-waste.
I would be surprised if she could even detect a refurb vs a new device without being told.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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41 months ago
This is actually bad news for consumers because it will unnecessarily drive up prices of new goods. Unless the iPad was DOA, it was a used product when it went in for repair, and expecting a brand new replacement is unrealistic.

The inability to make repairs down at the individual component level is what led manufactures to have replacement, refurbished sub assemblies or entire replacement units. I first started seeing refurbished subassemblies in the 1960's. Prior to that circuits were simpler, there were more qualified repair technicians, and labor costs were relatively lower, and repairs were made at the component level. Nobody with a 1950's TV set going in for repair would get back a new TV, it would be 99% their old one and 1% the replacement part.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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41 months ago

I imagine they'll also rule the same for, oh I don't know, every other OEM? A Samsung device, or an HP laptop: no refurb parts or no refurb devices allowed and it has to be brand-new? Reckon that ruling will extend to all others?

Yeah, I didn't think so.



Now this is absolutely ludicrous. The cost for that would easily exceed the price of a new iPad in the first place. What kind of toilet brush judge was ruling this? Did the claimant have emotional distress for the duration of their working-fine-but-it's-not-brand-new-so-therefore-I'm-dissatisfied device?

Unbelievable.

She bought a new device, not a remanufactured one. Apple are getting a slap because they took the piss. Let it go.
If the remanufactured ones are as good as new, (or better than that according to some), then why don’t Apple sell remanufactured devices alongside new ones in the shop? In fact the 'better than new thoroughly tested second hand ones' could even have a longer warranty as they’ve been tested more rigorously?

Strangely I wonder how Apple would react if Samsung told Timmy that he was to get remanufactured screens intermixed with new ones.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
41 months ago
Seems easy enough for Apple to deal with this. No more replacements in store. You bring them the iPad they ship if out for repair. Nothing says they *have* to replace it, right? AppleCare states "replace or repair".

So much for your convenience.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
41 months ago

I agree with this. I didn't buy a refurb device. I bought a new device and it didn't work properly, it should be replaced with a new device.

What is going on in your head that enables you to look at two subjectively identical devices that only differ in the box which they were shipped and judge one as inferior because parts in it may have been around the block in the past.
I would understand your point if we were taking about a store return that was shrink wrapped and stuck back on the shelf, but that is not what Apple is doing.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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