Class Action Lawsuit Against Apple for Offering Refurbished Replacement Devices Under AppleCare Moves Forward

A U.S. District Judge in San Jose today certified a class action lawsuit that accuses Apple of using "inferior" refurbished products as replacements for its AppleCare and ‌AppleCare‌+ protection plans despite promising consumers new or equivalent to new replacements. [PDF]

The class action lawsuit was first filed against Apple in July 2016 by customers in California who were unhappy that their iPhones and iPads were replaced by refurbished devices under Apple's ‌AppleCare‌ or ‌AppleCare‌+ plan.

AppleCare Apple Watch iPhone
The plaintiffs, Vicky Maldondo and Joanne McRight, claimed that Apple's decision to offer refurbished devices violate its own ‌AppleCare‌ Terms and Conditions and the Consumer Legal Remedies Act. From the original lawsuit:

The Apple Plans purport to provide consumers with Devices that are "equivalent to new in performance and reliability." What that phrase means is 'new' as refurbished devices can never be the equivalent to new in performance and reliability. Plaintiffs allege that it means refurbished. Refurbished is synonymous with the term "reconditioned," that is, a secondhand unit that has been modified to appear to be new for all purposes relevant to this litigation.

"New" means a Device that has never been utilized or previously sold and consists of all new parts. The word "refurbished" appears only once in the AppleCare+ terms and conditions even though the printed booklet is 33 pages long.

The lawsuit seeks compensation for iPhone, iPad, or iPod owners who purchased ‌AppleCare‌ or ‌AppleCare‌+ coverage.

The law firm behind the lawsuit says that Apple customers who paid for ‌AppleCare‌ should have received new Apple devices that Apple promised, and is aiming for the difference in value "between devices that work like new and the inferior devices Apple provided class members."

Top Rated Comments

MagMan1979 Avatar
24 months ago
"The law firm behind the lawsuit says that Apple customers who paid for AppleCare should have received new Apple devices that Apple promised, and is aiming for the difference in value "between devices that work like new and the inferior devices Apple provided class members."

Apple did NOT promise "new" devices, they state in their policy "equivalent to new in performance and reliability", NOT brand-new!

This, right here, is plain English as far as I can make out...

Now, here is what Wikipedia says about refurbished electronics...

"The main difference between "refurbished" and "used" products is that refurbished products have been tested and verified to function properly, and are thus free of defects, while "used" products may or may not be defective. Refurbished products may be unused customer returns that are essentially "new" items, or they may be defective products that were returned under warranty, and resold by the manufacturer after repairing the defects and ensuring proper function."

Thus, there is ZERO false marketing by Apple to customers, as their statement of "equivalent to new in performance and reliability" EXACTLY describes what a refurbished item is!

Another ****ing pointless lawsuit by scumbag lawyers! When are these a-hats going to face prison time??? Oh, and throw in the idiots who bring forward these types of claims because they're too stupid to read ENGLISH and just want a quick buck!
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ilikewhey Avatar
24 months ago
apple refurb might as well be brand new, same warranty period, only difference is the resale value since the refurb comes in a different box.

i mean i get where the plaintiff is coming from, but in the spirit of replacement, the refurb functions just as good as brand new.

edit. i don't think i can agree with the plaintiffs here, as much as i have criticism for apple, like cheaping out on storage for 1k phone, this isn't one of them. from a environmental perspective reusing components saves hundreds and thousands from going into the landfill.

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I thought Apple always gave an Apple Replacement unit under AppleCare, not a refurbished one. You can confirm whether it’s refurbished or an Apple Replacement by looking at the model number. Apple Replacements are brand new.
i have received refurb iphone replacements, and macs too, i think only under certain condition where the refurb is showing issues would apple give you a new replacement.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
uller6 Avatar
24 months ago
Product and component failures follow what's called a "bathtub curve." Over a large population of devices there are statistically the most failures at the beginning and at the end of life period - think a graph shaped like a bathtub. In between these periods of high failure rates, failures are at their lowest frequency and are mostly random.

Refurb units should be a bit further past their early bathtub curve failures, so one could make the argument that a refurbished product is actually more reliable than a new product.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macfacts Avatar
24 months ago
I'm not surprised apple is nickel and diming customers
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ellsworth Avatar
24 months ago
I believe the section of this lawsuit where the plaintiffs define "New" and "Refurbished" is what's going to eat them alive. Apple's wording of "equivalent to new replacements" is what will save them in this lawsuit. Apple's definition of "equivalent to new replacements" means Apple can take a refurbished product, change out all the parts that need replacing with "new parts" and use that product under their definition. This lawsuit is frivolous. The only way I can see this lawsuit carrying any weight is if the products they received as replacements exploded while they were taking selfies next to their Avocado Toast or if Apple refused to fix their replacement product if it was having problems.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AndrewR23 Avatar
24 months ago
I thought Apple always gave an Apple Replacement unit under AppleCare, not a refurbished one. You can confirm whether it’s refurbished or an Apple Replacement by looking at the model number. Apple Replacements are brand new.
No. Apple has been giving replacements that have new casings, battery etc, but the insides of the phone are reused.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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