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Old Apr 19, 2012, 11:55 AM   #1
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Blogger Victorious over Apple in Small Claims Case on NVIDIA GPU Failures




Back in January, blogger Seattle Rex announced that he would be suing Apple over issues related to his 2008 MacBook Pro that appears to have suffered from an NVIDIA graphics card failure. According to Rex, the graphics chip on his top-of-the-line 17-inch MacBook Pro began to flake out late last year, two months after his AppleCare extended warranty expired, and a month later the machine died completely, refusing to boot.

Upon taking the machine to the Genius Bar at a local Apple retail store, Rex was informed that because the machine could not be booted to confirm that the graphics chip was indeed defective, he would have to pay for all repairs to the machine, up to $600.
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I proceeded to explain my displeasure with the "genius", firmly, but politely. I explained, calmly, that a $4,500 laptop that fails in 3 years and 3 months is defective. Period. I explained to him that a chip on the mainboard was known to be defective, and that Apple had admitted as much. I was calm, but at this point, I think my temper was starting to show, because I could feel that telltale flushness in my face.
Following an additional two months of speaking to various levels of Apple's support and executive relations teams and filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, all to no avail, Rex filed suit against Apple in small claims court seeking compensation for his dead MacBook Pro and associated expenses.




And finally, Rex earlier this week published a lengthy blog post outlining his experience facing off against two Apple lawyers last week and winning an unspecified sum sufficient to purchase a new computer. Among the interesting incidents from the proceedings:

- Apple's lawyers argued that Rex's MacBook Pro wasn't covered by the repair program because he had purchased a build-to-order machine with a faster processor, even though the machine carried the same GeForce 8600M GT graphics chip that was the subject of the repair program. Only after Rex presented this information to the court did Apple's lawyers admit the fact and concede that the machine should be covered for repair.

- Rex had refused to accept a replacement logic board for his MacBook Pro, arguing that he would simply receive yet another defective GeForce 8600M GT chip. Apple's lawyers conceded that the machine could only accept the GeForce 8600M GT chip, and the judge ruled that Rex's machine was not repairable.

- Apple fought the case even though a repair could have been made at no expense to Apple, as NVIDIA was covering the cost of repairs related to the defective chip.
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At one point, the judge asked Apple how much it would have cost them to have simply replaced my logic board when I had taken it in, and one of the Apple guys said "Oh, it wouldn't have cost us anything, Nvidia foots the bill for each board we replace."

The judge's face almost hit the floor as he shot me a quizzical look, to which I just shrugged. I knew that he, and everyone else in the courtroom was thinking the same thing:

If Apple could have replaced my logic board at no cost to themselves, then why in the hell did they drag this out for so long, and why did they send two people to court to try and make sure that I got absolutely nothing? Friends, this is a question I have been asking myself for three months, and it is a question that I do not have the answer to.
Rex still has to collect on the judgment, which covers the cost of a new computer and compensation for court costs and other minor expenses, and he remains concerned that Apple will try to avoid making the required payment.

Beyond his own case, Rex notes in an update to his post that the response from readers has been overwhelming, with numerous readers sharing similar tales of being unable to have suspected NVIDIA graphics chip failures covered by Apple's repair program. Consequently, he is now considering organizing a class action lawsuit to allow those affected by the issue to band together in seeking compensation.

Article Link: Blogger Victorious over Apple in Small Claims Case on NVIDIA GPU Failures
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Old Apr 19, 2012, 11:58 AM   #2
hexor
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Sounds like they have too many bored lawyers at Apple.
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Old Apr 19, 2012, 11:58 AM   #3
charlieegan3
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you shouldn't have to sue to get a repair
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Old Apr 19, 2012, 11:59 AM   #4
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More people suing Apple over silly things, what else is new???
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Old Apr 19, 2012, 11:59 AM   #5
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Apple can't always be the good guy, but why spend money fighting this ? Cheaper just to cover the repairs for what is an obvious defective product.
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Old Apr 19, 2012, 11:59 AM   #6
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This is why you don't buy some overpriced computer .
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Old Apr 19, 2012, 12:00 PM   #7
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About time America bought in consumer protection laws, like the UK's Sales of Goods Act and similar Acts in EU countries.
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Old Apr 19, 2012, 12:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hexor View Post
Sounds like they have too many bored lawyers at Apple.
chances are apple knew this would result in bad publicity, I doubt there was a lack of planning on apples part.

Also apples lawyers seem to do quite a lot of work (loads of ongoing cases), can't see why they would be board?
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Old Apr 19, 2012, 12:01 PM   #9
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- Apple's lawyers argued that Rex's MacBook Pro wasn't covered by the repair program because he had purchased a build-to-order machine with a faster processor, even though the machine carried the same GeForce 8600M GT graphics chip that was the subject of the repair program.
So a BTO system isn't covered? Um, I have a BTO Mac Pro, does that mean I'm not covered? Is this because he didn't have AppleCare, or that it ran out? What an odd thing to contest.


Quote:
- Apple fought the case even though a repair could have been made at no expense to Apple, as NVIDIA was covering the cost of repairs related to the defective chip.
This irks me the most. Apple has BILLIONS in cash, but they would rather spend more money on lawyers fighting a simple exchange for a known issue? I don't care if this sets a precedent against Apple, backup your products and stop bullying people. This is shameful.
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Old Apr 19, 2012, 12:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by besweeeet View Post
This is why you don't buy some overpriced computer .
cheap computers break too you know, and more often.

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Originally Posted by MetalMoon View Post
More people suing Apple over silly things, what else is new???
if you were this guy would you see $600 as a silly thing?
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Old Apr 19, 2012, 12:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charlieegan3 View Post
cheap computers break too you know, and more often.
Bah. My $1,500 MSI laptop has been flawless for 18 months (and counting). People I follow on Twitter have had far more issues with their Macs, but to each his own. Or her, I suppose.
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Old Apr 19, 2012, 12:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonTheSoundMa View Post
About time America bought in consumer protection laws, like the UK's Sales of Goods Act and similar Acts in EU countries.
more and more suing is going on here in the UK though...
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Old Apr 19, 2012, 12:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by besweeeet View Post
This is why you don't buy some overpriced computer .
This nVidia issue affected models across all vendors including lower end dell and HPs with the 8600m. Try again.
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Old Apr 19, 2012, 12:04 PM   #14
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I am so glad I unloaded my Macbook Pro after hearing the original news about the GPU. I figured Apple would do that.
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Old Apr 19, 2012, 12:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by besweeeet View Post
Bah. My $1,500 MSI laptop has been flawless for 18 months (and counting). People I follow on Twitter have had far more issues with their Macs, but to each his own. Or her, I suppose.
I can't believe you think that means anything.

One persons personal experience mean nothing, nothing at all.

You have to look at the stats. Personal opinion and experience never stand up in an argument.
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Old Apr 19, 2012, 12:05 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by besweeeet View Post
Bah. My $1,500 MSI laptop has been flawless for 18 months (and counting). People I follow on Twitter have had far more issues with their Macs, but to each his own. Or her, I suppose.
... his laptop was flawless for 3 years.
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Old Apr 19, 2012, 12:06 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddyisgreat View Post
This nVidia issue affected models across all vendors including lower end dell and HPs with the 8600m. Try again.
that guy clearly knows nothing, I don't think his 2nd attempt is going to be much better.
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Old Apr 19, 2012, 12:06 PM   #18
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Not for me

I had the same problem on my 4 years old 17-inch MacBook Pro with the NVIDIA card and without AppleCare. I went two times to the Apple Store in Carugate, Milan (Italy). The second time, after seeing the problem (it wasn't booting) the Genius checked if that was the problem (the card) and decided to repair. They gave it back to me the following day. Working perfectly (and without paying an euro ).
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Old Apr 19, 2012, 12:07 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by MetalMoon View Post
More people suing Apple over silly things, what else is new???
Hardly silly considering Apple wouldn't have had to pay anything to get it replaced in the first place. This is a case of corporate bullying (and bullheadedness) and I'm glad the blogger took it to court and won. The silly thing in all of this is Apple refusing to make the repair at no cost to the user from the beginning.
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Old Apr 19, 2012, 12:08 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by bedifferent View Post
So a BTO system isn't covered? Um, I have a BTO Mac Pro, does that mean I'm not covered? Is this because he didn't have AppleCare, or that it ran out? What an odd thing to contest.
The Apple support document specifically lists the "MacBook Pro (17-Inch, 2.4GHz)". Rex upgraded the processor to 2.6 GHz, and Apple argued that it wasn't covered because that specific model wasn't on the list. But it uses the same graphics chip.

My guess is that the support document was intended to cover the 2.4 GHz 17-inch MacBook Pro and build-to-order variations thereof. One of those variations is a bump to 2.6 GHz, but that's not a separate stock model. But Apple's lawyers were either ignorant or intentionally misleading in arguing that the 2.6 GHz wasn't covered.

The repair should have been covered regardless of whether he had AppleCare or not. His AppleCare had just run out, but the repair program covers machines for four years, so he was within that window.
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Old Apr 19, 2012, 12:09 PM   #21
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Something odd...

My BTO MacBook Pro was covered for exactly this problem when the 8600M died. They replaced the logic board in less than 24 hours IIRC.

What is really strange is the contradiction in this article. Either:

1. He was prepared to accept a logic board failure and Apple didn't wouldn't (hence the surprise by him and the judge when they found out Nvidia pick up the tab)

-or-

2. He was refusing to let them replace the logic board as stated earlier in the article. Which is short-sighted of him as only certain batches of the GeForce 8600M were bad, not the entire design.

Finally the only people who will do will be well compensated in the class action lawsuit are the lawyers.

[)amien
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Old Apr 19, 2012, 12:10 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by besweeeet View Post
Bah. My $1,500 MSI laptop has been flawless for 18 months (and counting). People I follow on Twitter have had far more issues with their Macs, but to each his own. Or her, I suppose.
The expected life of a Macbook Pro is six years. MSI is three. MSI is a B brand to begin with. I have owned several different types of Macs...no issues other then a hard drive going out after year 4...but that is to be expected. Out of millions of users you cannot base a products reliability over a few tweets.
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Old Apr 19, 2012, 12:10 PM   #23
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Very strange that Apple would do this considering how high they generally rate on customer service. I've had several products fully replaced, although to be fair my MBP that they replaced wasn't fully nonfunctional.

They could've easily saved themselves lawyer fees and this PR nightmare. Weird.
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Old Apr 19, 2012, 12:11 PM   #24
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he got slashdotted yesterday

Now with all the users who have had a similar experience sounding off to him, he thinks a class action suit can be arranged. I'm guessing is that Apple didn't take him seriously (maybe his laptop failed in some way that's not typical to the video card problem) and Apple didn't send techs to the trial, only lawyers. So he outgunned them with technical detail and won.

I think is case #125-00818 form March 1, 2012 in King County, WA (http://www.kingcounty.gov/courts/districtcourt.aspx) but I'm not sure, and I'm too cheap to pay the 25 cents per page to find out if my guesses are right.

If it gains class-action status, Apple will take it seriously. I'm surprised it went as far as it did though. Surely the negative press already outweighs a $4500 laptop.
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Old Apr 19, 2012, 12:11 PM   #25
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Much bigger than they admit to

I run a rather small Mac Repair business in Southern Scotland. From my experience, I am quite sure that this is a much bigger issue than Apple have ever admitted to. I have seen dozens of these MBP's with the NVIDIA problem.

I have the NVIDIA test suite that is used in Apple stores and find that it produces very inconsistent results.

During the short period between the expiry, and subsequent extension, of the Repair Programme, i came up with a fix that gives the user a few more months of use. However, when the programme was extended, i sent all of my customers to Apple along with a prepared bunch of supporting paperwork and clear instructions on how to gently, but firmly, escalate the issue until a suitable resolution was offered by Apple. Until very recently, every customer had been successful in getting the logic board replaced. However, Apple are now refusing service based on the age of the laptop.

I find it difficult to comprehend why Apple simply don't proceed with the repair without question, especially if NVIDIA are picking up the tab. Each case is an opportunity for Apple to show their dedication to their faithful customers and prove to them that their highly-rated Customer Satisfaction levels are justified.

Apple can exonerate themselves completely with regards to this problem. NVIDIA have acknowledged the issue publicly.

This defect must now be added to the list of others that Apple have handled pretty badly...

1. iBook G4 GPU issue
2. PowerMac G4 'wind tunnel' models
3. PowerBook G4 lower memory slot
4. PowerMac G5 liquid cooling system

Macs are premium products that should come with premium service/support. If i own a top-of-the-range BMW M5, and i have a major problem with it, i expect my dealership to jump through hoops to satisfy me.

Last edited by fixmymac; Apr 19, 2012 at 12:17 PM.
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