Apple Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over 'Defective' Keyboards in Recent MacBook, MacBook Pro Models

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, May 14, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple has been hit with a class action lawsuit over "defective" keyboards in recent MacBook and MacBook Pro models.


    The lawsuit, filed in Northern California district court, alleges that the low-profile, butterfly-switch keyboards in 2015-and-later MacBook and 2016-and-later MacBook Pro models are "prone to fail," resulting in "non-responsive keys" and other issues, according to court documents obtained by MacRumors.

    The lawsuit was filed by law firm Girard Gibbs LLP on behalf of MacBook Pro owners Zixuan Rao and Kyle Barbaro, residents of San Diego, California and Melrose, Massachusetts respectively.

    The proposed class:
    The complaint notes that keys can become unresponsive when small amounts of dust or debris accumulate under or around them:
    The lawsuit alleges that "thousands of consumers have experienced this defect," and highlights over 20 complaints shared by users on the Apple Support Communities, MacRumors Forums, and Reddit. The complaint also cites a petition about this issue that currently has over 22,000 signatures.

    One of the comments included from a MacRumors reader in May 2015:
    The lawsuit alleges that Apple is "aware of" the keyboard issues, either through "pre-release testing," customer complaints, or a combination of the two, but has "failed and continues to fail to disclose" the defect to customers:
    Apple is said to "continuously monitor" complaints on websites like MacRumors:
    MacRumors first highlighted keyboard issues with the 2016 MacBook Pro over a year ago, including non-functional keys, strange high-pitched sounds on some keys, and keys with a non-uniform feel. The issues are back in the spotlight again after AppleInsider shared data on failure rates of the keyboards a few weeks ago.


    The lawsuit acknowledges that Apple provides a support document with instructions to clean the keyboard of a MacBook or MacBook Pro with "an unresponsive key or "a key that feels different than the other keys," but notes that the steps "do not fix the keyboard defect or prevent the keyboard from failing."

    When a customer takes their MacBook or MacBook Pro to a Genius Bar, the complaint alleges that Apple "routinely refuses to honor its warranty obligations," or is unable to permanently fix the problem when it does.

    In the United States, Apple charges an out-of-warranty fee of $700 to replace the keyboard on affected MacBook Pro models, as the process requires replacing the entire top case assembly, which also houses the trackpad and speaker grilles. The fee is less if the notebook is covered by an AppleCare+ plan.

    One of the two named plaintiffs in the lawsuit:
    Apple is accused of, among other things, violating California's Unfair Competition Law and Consumer Legal Remedies Act, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, and fraudulent concealment.

    The complaint requests that Apple pays punitive damages in an amount to be proven at trial, publicly discloses the defect, and reimburses customers for all costs attributable to remedying or replacing defective MacBook or MacBook Pro models. A jury trial has been demanded in Northern California district court.

    Our Take: Apple has yet to launch a repair program for MacBook Pro keyboard issues, either publicly or internally, suggesting that the number of customers affected might not meet its threshold for doing so. But, given the increased attention and lawsuit, Apple may feel obligated to take action soon enough.

    Article Link: Apple Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over 'Defective' Keyboards in Recent MacBook, MacBook Pro Models
  2. Glmnet1 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2017
    "a model year 2015 or later Apple MacBook" Wasn't the 2015 unaffected?
  3. otternonsense, May 14, 2018
    Last edited: May 22, 2018

    otternonsense macrumors 65816


    Jul 25, 2016
    Well deserved. The build quality of this new MBP is hot garbage soldered shut.

    In the period I've been using it I've also noticed dents on the inside of the unibody chassis (where I rest my hands), light leaks around the edges of the display, and the occasional hinge creak.
  4. smithrh macrumors 68020


    Feb 28, 2009
    I may have to investigate this, my H key is acting up (requires either unusual force or multiple strikes), my B key can spew out multiples per press and my left shift is nearly gone. Out of warrantee, of course.
  5. franzkfk macrumors regular


    Feb 14, 2011
    Czech Republic
  6. thaifood macrumors 6502

    Jun 8, 2011
    I fully support this class action and hope it is the catalyst for Apple to rectify the problems with the keyboard.

    The suggestion to use compressed air to maintain your keyboard on a 2k+ machine is unacceptable.
  7. tardman91 macrumors 65816


    Oct 21, 2009
    Tampa Area, FL
  8. BootsWalking macrumors 65816

    Feb 1, 2014
    Class action lawsuits, aka Apple's version of customer support.
  9. otternonsense macrumors 65816


    Jul 25, 2016
    Watever, aters gonna ate
  10. jjhny macrumors regular


    Sep 16, 2005
    "But it's so thin!"

    This is where choosing 'design over engineering' gets you eventually. Bad hardware.
  11. Rogifan macrumors Core


    Nov 14, 2011
    Of course. At the same time Apple has the data on how many are affected. And people who have issues are going to be vocal about it which could make it look like the problem is more wide spread than it really is.

    What’s the last class action lawsuit against Apple that went anywhere?
  12. Ted13 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 29, 2003
    From the article: "Apple has yet to launch a repair program for MacBook Pro keyboard issues"

    My concern would be a program not just for the Pro, but the 12" retina MacBook as well: we have the original that by now is out of Apple Care coverage but definitely continues to have keyboard problems (parts of space key not responding, etc). It has been fixed a couple of times under Apple Care, but I certainly don't want to spend $$ for more fixes.
  13. Rogifan macrumors Core


    Nov 14, 2011
    There are Windows laptops as thin or thinner than the MBP.
  14. CmdrLaForge macrumors 601


    Feb 26, 2003
    around the world
    I hope Apple Engineering is working on a fix for future generations.
  15. F. Funkman macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2018
    Absolutely! I wish I could join in on this lawsuit.

    1. I purchased the new MacBook immediately upon release as my other one was 6 years old and beyond the repair cycle.
    2. Purchased the new Touch Bar MBP only to watch Apple release the newer ones with the Kaby Lake processor update a year later
    3. Didn't buy "AppleCare" and when I went to do so the warranty time had expired
    4. Took it back because many of the keys were starting not to register strokes
    5. The space bar wasn't registering strokes. Took it to the Genius Bar who told me that there was "technically nothing wrong with the space bar because their system was saying that it worked"

    Apple should immediately remedy this, particularly by giving those of us who purchased the ability to have these models fixed at no charge, or create a replacement upgrade system. This includes people who did not purchase Apple care.

    This is a shameful period for Apple. Apple has the profits to do right by its customers.
  16. smithrh macrumors 68020


    Feb 28, 2009
    The time it now takes to type something out quickly... well, there is no "quickly" anymore.

    When this problem first started happening, the number of hilarious and not-so hilarious autocorrects was off the charts.

    I can get to fairly quick typing speed, that's all out the window at this point.
  17. TMRJIJ macrumors 68040


    Dec 12, 2011
    South Carolina, United States
    Don’t you miss the days when you could toss some of these electronics out of a third-story window and it would still work....?
  18. kahkityoong, May 14, 2018
    Last edited: May 14, 2018

    kahkityoong macrumors 6502


    Jan 31, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    I hope Apple gets punished for this. I’ve owned every redesign of the MacBook Pro over the past 12 years and my feeling is that I lose function over form with each iteration. My latest, a 2017 fully loaded 13in MBP is junk. I’ve had this issue with keys not responding intermittently.
  19. smithrh macrumors 68020


    Feb 28, 2009
    There is a link to join floating around.
  20. Naraxus macrumors 6502a


    Oct 13, 2016
    Good and I hope Apple gets taken to the cleaners over this.
  21. Princejb134 macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2012
    I’m actually happy for this lawsuit. I have a 2011 MacBook Pro ready for a upgrade but been hesitant because of the keyboard issue. Hopefully this lawsuit rings in alarms in Apple that the keyboard has to be fixed
  22. kingtj macrumors 68020

    Oct 23, 2003
    Brunswick, MD
    I have to think that if Steve Jobs was still alive, using one of these new Macbook Pros, and had this kind of keyboard issue himself? He'd be in a closed door meeting, screaming at all of the engineers and designers.

    The fact is, Apple arrogantly paraded this new, ultra-low profile keyboard around as the latest, greatest tech. In reality, it stinks. They had to do some small modifications between the original one used in the first "new Macbook" and present, just to give it a *bit* more key travel -- but the whole design is flawed.

    I own one of these and while so far, my keys still work? I just find it frustrating to type on it for any length of time. I make more mistakes than I do on any other keyboard I use, and I've had a few issues with "key bounce" where a letter is typed once but registers twice. Not able to duplicate it regularly when I try, but it has randomly happened.
  23. Ted13 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 29, 2003
    So honestly, that is why I got the original retina 12" MacBook to start with - because it was much lighter and thinner than a MacBook Air - closest Mac to an iPad, perfect for travel, using in bed, for my wife to cary in her purse.

    Being thin has benefits that go far beyond appearance.
  24. Mlrollin91 macrumors G5


    Nov 20, 2008
    Ventura County
    Entitled much?

    2) You could have waited for Kraby Lake, you chose not to.
    3) You didn't buy AppleCare, thus your fault. Apple warrants for 12 months. All that is required.
    4) If you took it back before AppleCare had expired, they would have been more than happy to replace the keyboard for you. Two friends have had their keyboards replaced under warranty, and the issue has never returned.
  25. bsolar macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2011
    I think it’s a mistake: the problem is relevant to the 2nd generation butterfly keyboard, which was introduced in 2016 with the 4th MacBook Pro generation.

    I never had nor heard about this keyboard issue before the 4th generation introduction, but on my 2016 MacBook Pro had the TopCase replaced twice due to the “b” key registering multiple spurious keypresses. Last time it got replaced with the latest model’s TopCase and didn’t have the issue anymore until a few weeks ago, when I noticed it very sporadically still happens.

    If the problem gets worse and persists I will request a repair free of charge again since it’s very clearly a manufacturing defect.

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