Apple REVOKED my AppleCare because I swapped Hard Drives on my MacBook Pro

Pablopersona

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 12, 2018
3
3

I recently had my logic board go out on my MacBook Pro 2015 15”. It would not turn on anymore no matter what I tried. I set up a repair at my local Apple store and before I left I swapped my hard drive. I had a 2015 MacBook Air SSD that was reformatted with no data. I did not want to risk losing my personal and sensitive data on my 1tb and I had no way of backing up since the computer was not responsive. I had countless edited videos, pictures, and software, etc.

So I go to the Apple store and they tried to make it turn on with no success. They then proceeded to take the laptop to the back to open it up. After a few minutes the Apple representative came out and said everything looks good inside but they cannot make it turn on so it will be going out for repair.

About a week goes by and I get a problematic email stating that there is an “non-authorized part” in my MacBook and my repair cost for a logic board replacement is $1475. Wait, what? I have AppleCare until March 2019. Why am I being charge full price for a logic board replacement?

I called Apple to figure out what’s going on. I explained that I did not want to have the possibility of losing my data so I removed the drive and replaced it with another. I had no idea this would cause such a big issue. I was put on hold while the level 1 advisor tried to get a hold of someone at the store. After about 10-15 min on hold the advisor gets back to me and says the repair cannot be completed due to the non-original hard drive. He then said the employee at the store recommended putting the old drive back in and sending it out again. I confirmed one more time with the advisor that if I put my old drive back in that all will be good with the next repair and he said yes.

Fast forward to yesterday- my laptop arrived at the store. Awesome! Now instead of making 2 trips to the store to change the drive out I call the store to try to see if that can happen in store and ship out the Macbook on the same day. I talk to a manager at the store who tells me my warranty has been voided and any new repair will be at your cost. I rightfully disagree with him because I have AppleCare. Or so I thought! *cue mysterious music*

After the phone call I check my warranty coverage and..huh? My AppleCare is expired? This isn’t right.. My AppleCare was good until March, 2019. I call Apple again and get a level 2 advisor that tried to do everything he could to help but here are the facts- my AppleCare is no longer active because I swapped hard drives.

I am honestly in shock and disbelief. I’ve been a huge Mac fan and user and always thought these horror stories I’ve seen would never happen to me but now I’m in a starring role. It really makes me sick to my stomach. How can something as common as a hard drive trigger this type of penalty? I had no way of protecting or backing up my data.

After today, I honestly can’t say I will buy another MacBook. I will be picking up the dead one today at the Apple Store.



TLDR; Don’t touch your Mac before repair or you’ll pay dearly.

 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • Like
Reactions: Eason85

Stephen.R

macrumors 68000
Nov 2, 2018
1,561
1,132
Thailand
TLDR: if you don't backup regularly and then try to Frankenstein your Mac before a repair, it may bite you in the ass.

Why didn't you just take it to them and explain "hey I can't get an up to date backup because it won't turn on, can you make sure you don't wipe the hard drive, or that it gets backed up before wiping".
 

Audit13

macrumors 601
Apr 19, 2017
4,416
1,112
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I had to take in my Air for service of a faulty battery and/or charging circuit. I did not want to give them a reason to deny a warranty repair so I asked the tech to remove the existing drive and use one of their test drives to ensure my data remains intact. The tech had no problem with removing the drive and letting me hang onto it while I waited in the store for the battery service.

It's unfortunate they voided the warranty.
 
Last edited:

Mr_Brightside_@

macrumors 68040
Sep 23, 2005
3,130
1,174
Toronto
TLDR: if you don't backup regularly and then try to Frankenstein your Mac before a repair, it may bite you in the ass.

Why didn't you just take it to them and explain "hey I can't get an up to date backup because it won't turn on, can you make sure you don't wipe the hard drive, or that it gets backed up before wiping".
They won’t back it up for you and even if they say they won’t wipe it, they reserve the right to.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Painter2002

Stephen.R

macrumors 68000
Nov 2, 2018
1,561
1,132
Thailand
They won’t back it up for you and even if they say they won’t wipe it, they reserve the right to.
And if you tell them the situation they’ll try to accomodate you <somehow> as evidenced by @Audit13’s post.

The point is to explain the situation to them not just start swapping bits yourself and wonder why they think you’re trying to pull a fast one.
 
  • Like
Reactions: chabig and Audit13

Painter2002

macrumors 65816
May 9, 2017
1,086
760
Austin, TX
I am sorry you’ve had a bad experience, but you do have to look at this from a business perspective. Apple can only guarantee the functionality of the computer from whatever parts it used when the machine was put together in the factory. The addition or modification or a computer would void that warranty because the manufacturer won’t be able to tell if there is a faulty part from their end, or damaged incurred during the user repair, or damage caused by the replacement part itself.

Besides, is that not the point of having AppleCare? That if there are any issues you take it in and Apple will resolve the issue. Not trying to place the blame, but reality is if you have an issue with a computer that is still under warranty (especially extended warranty you paid for), you should take it in to have it fixed under warranty rather than attempting the repair yourself. Most all manufacturers (computers, cars, electronics, etc) consider attempts to self-repair as voiding any warranty for that product.
 

SDColorado

Contributor
Nov 6, 2011
4,275
4,222
Highlands Ranch, CO
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act actually prohibits the voiding for warranty for the reason of self-repair. For example, If an aftermarket or recycled part caused a problem, the dealership would have the right to deny a warranty repair, but only if they can prove that the part was directly responsible for the issue. They also cannot force you to use select parts or facilities unless those parts and services at the facility are provided for free.

"Enacted in 1975, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act prohibits product manufacturers from conditioning consumer warranties on the use of any original equipment part or service. Furthermore, a manufacturer can only deny warranty coverage if it can demonstrate that a non-original equipment part or related service caused a defect to occur in the original product."

However, Apple (and other) gets away with it, likely because nobody wants to bother bringing suit again a major company like Apple over a $1500 repair.
https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/gv5ddm/warranty-void-if-removed-stickers-are-illegal

Although BWW Mini Division and Mazda have recently gotten in trouble with the FTC over violations.
https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2015/03/bmw-settles-ftc-charges-its-mini-division-illegally-conditioned

TLDR: Just because Apple says you violated your warranty and canceled the balance, doesn't mean you actually did. It depends on how much effort you want to make to fight them over it.
 

csurfr

macrumors 68020
Dec 7, 2016
2,300
1,681
Seattle, WA
I absolutely see where you are coming from, but as stated above you have to look at it from the other side as well.

You can’t show that the drive swap didn’t cause a problem, and therefore Apple doesn’t want to honor the repair.

As a company it makes sense, but (as SD pointed out) they should say specifically why they believe the drive swap caused it and why they won’t honor it.

Keep escalating the issue.
 

SDColorado

Contributor
Nov 6, 2011
4,275
4,222
Highlands Ranch, CO
I absolutely see where you are coming from, but as stated above you have to look at it from the other side as well.

You can’t show that the drive swap didn’t cause a problem, and therefore Apple doesn’t want to honor the repair.

As a company it makes sense, but (as SD pointed out) they should say specifically why they believe the drive swap caused it and why they won’t honor it.

Keep escalating the issue.
The burden of proof is actually on the manufacturer (in this case Apple) to demonstrate that the drive swap was responsible for the problem, not the other way around. But Apple actually tries to just blanket "void warranty" due to an unauthorized repair.

A consumer has the right to patronize independent retail stores and repair shops for parts and service without fear of voiding the new car warranty. The manufacturer has the right to deny a warranty repair but they must demonstrate that the aftermarket part caused the problem. The warranty remains in effect for all other covered parts.

So even if they do show the drive replacement caused the logic board to fail and deny warranty service on that repair, they can't just blanket void the balance of Apple Care on other parts such as the display, etc.

While the MMWA is best known for the "Lemon Law" and rights to repair on cars, but any consumer device over the price of $15 is actually covered.
 

csurfr

macrumors 68020
Dec 7, 2016
2,300
1,681
Seattle, WA
The burden of proof is actually on Apple to demonstrate that the drive swap was responsible for the problem, not the other way around. But Apple actually tries to just blanket "void warranty" due to an unauthorized repair.

he alert notes that a consumer has the right to patronize independent retail stores and repair shops for parts and service without fear of voiding the new car warranty. The manufacturer has the right to deny a warranty repair but they must demonstrate that the aftermarket part caused the problem. The warranty remains in effect for all other covered parts.

So even if they do show the drive replacement caused the logic board to fail and deny warranty service on that repair, they can't just blanket void the balance of Apple Care on other parts such as the display, etc.
Exactly. That’s what they need to provide. Will they? Probably not.
 

SDColorado

Contributor
Nov 6, 2011
4,275
4,222
Highlands Ranch, CO
Exactly. That’s what they need to provide. Will they? Probably not.
Probably not. Because most people don't even know MMWA exists, let alone the provisions of it and because it is generally not worth the time and effort to battle over it. Though you will recover legal expenses and attorneys fees if successful.

I have been successful in 2 MMWA cases. Both were resolved/settled in my favor without going to court. But they were also worth much more than $1500, so I stuck with it.
 

Ploki

macrumors 601
Jan 21, 2008
4,056
1,275
I had replaced the drive in a 2012 i had myself, it was apple branded but it was a 750GB not 250gb machine shipped with (and the serial was associated with) and didn't have any issues getting repairs under extended consumer protection laws, and apple exchange programs.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SDColorado

Maxx Power

macrumors 6502a
Apr 29, 2003
863
331
That is asinine. I sent in my MbP with a custom SSD and RAM three times for various repairs, and the tech even told me that Apple is fine with you replacing modules, but they do not provide warranties on your own modules. Each time, they repaired it without a fuss.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SDColorado

BLUEDOG314

macrumors 6502
Dec 12, 2015
349
86
As was said above, just ask to hold onto the drive. Just lie and say you work for a defense contractor and you need to maintain physical possession of storage. Is taking the machine to another store an option? I used to work in one and to my knowledge there is no way they can actually void applecare, they can however change coverage to out of warranty for a specific repair. Usually if you go to another store they don't even look at the notes from the previous repair.
 

hallux

macrumors 68030
Apr 25, 2012
2,774
485
That is asinine. I sent in my MbP with a custom SSD and RAM three times for various repairs, and the tech even told me that Apple is fine with you replacing modules, but they do not provide warranties on your own modules. Each time, they repaired it without a fuss.
The difference between your situation and the OP's is that in the case of your computer those were considered user-replaceable parts Shoot - Apple even PROVIDED THE INSTRUCTIONS! In the case of the OP's computer, the swapped part is NOT considered user-replaceable. NOTHING in the mid-2012 MBP Retina and newer computers is considered user-replaceable.
 

User_E

macrumors newbie
Jan 3, 2019
12
15
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act actually prohibits the voiding for warranty for the reason of self-repair. For example, If an aftermarket or recycled part caused a problem, the dealership would have the right to deny a warranty repair, but only if they can prove that the part was directly responsible for the issue. They also cannot force you to use select parts or facilities unless those parts and services at the facility are provided for free.
I'm glad someone pointed this out.

My suggestion to the OP is to send a letter (Certified Mail with return receipt is best for documentation purposes, but you could also send a copy via email) to Apple's general counsel explaining the issue and demanding that they reactivate your warranty and cover any repairs that they don't have a legal basis to deny. Be clear that you are not asking them to cover any damages caused by the aftermarket part(s) or the installation thereof, but if they are going to deny coverage on that basis, you expect them to support their position with proof. Tell them that if the issue isn't resolved within, say, 10 days (I think that is reasonable), you will file suit in your local small claims court. (And if it gets to that, please follow up by actually doing filing suit. Small claims court procedures vary by jurisdiction, but are generally designed for non-lawyers to resolve disputes like this and are easier and cheaper than you think.)

The difference between your situation and the OP's is that in the case of your computer those were considered user-replaceable parts Shoot - Apple even PROVIDED THE INSTRUCTIONS! In the case of the OP's computer, the swapped part is NOT considered user-replaceable. NOTHING in the mid-2012 MBP Retina and newer computers is considered user-replaceable.
Assuming the OP is in the US, Apple's designation of user-replaceable and non-user-replaceable is irrelevant under Magnuson-Moss.
 

Ploki

macrumors 601
Jan 21, 2008
4,056
1,275
The difference between your situation and the OP's is that in the case of your computer those were considered user-replaceable parts Shoot - Apple even PROVIDED THE INSTRUCTIONS! In the case of the OP's computer, the swapped part is NOT considered user-replaceable. NOTHING in the mid-2012 MBP Retina and newer computers is considered user-replaceable.
Yeah, but mine was repaired by apple... And i swapped the drive myself, and it was obvious because the computer shipped with 250gb and i put a 750gb inside.
 

jerryk

macrumors 603
Nov 3, 2011
5,052
2,484
SF Bay Area
I am not surprised at all. Read the AppleCare Terms and Condition. Here is the clause they may be using to void your coverage (my bolding)

ii) The Plan does not apply to damage caused by (a) a product that is not the Covered Equipment, (b) abuse, misuse, or reckless, willful or intentional conduct, (c) flood, fire, earthquake or other similar external causes, (d) operating the Covered Equipment outside the permitted or intended uses described by the manufacturer, or (e) service (including upgrades and expansions) performed by anyone who is not a representative of Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider (“AASP”).

And this (bolded in Applecare agreement):

Important: Do not open the Covered Equipment, as damage caused as a result of opening the equipment is not covered by this Plan. Only Apple or an AASP should perform service on the Covered Equipment.

To some degree they are helping you out by changing out your logic board and covering the $1450 cost. As a trade off you are only losing a few weeks worth of Applecare coverage. This is like a cop letting you off with a warning instead of a ticket. I would take the machine and run.
 

hallux

macrumors 68030
Apr 25, 2012
2,774
485
Yeah, but mine was repaired by apple... And i swapped the drive myself, and it was obvious because the computer shipped with 250gb and i put a 750gb inside.
As I said - Apple considered those parts user-replaceable in your system, they really didn't care since they even provided instructions for replacing those parts. In the newer machines they DON'T consider those parts (well, part since only the drive can be removed as the memory is soldered) user-replaceable and even caution that service of the system by unauthorized people can result in voiding of the warranty. Apple even went so far as to use non-standard screws to secure the case in an attempt to keep people out. Of course, the bits for those are available in many PC repair toolkits (my iFixit kit has them, but I'm also a certified Apple tech).
 

SDColorado

Contributor
Nov 6, 2011
4,275
4,222
Highlands Ranch, CO
I am not surprised at all. Read the AppleCare Terms and Condition. Here is the clause they may be using to void your coverage (my bolding)

ii) The Plan does not apply to damage caused by (a) a product that is not the Covered Equipment, (b) abuse, misuse, or reckless, willful or intentional conduct, (c) flood, fire, earthquake or other similar external causes, (d) operating the Covered Equipment outside the permitted or intended uses described by the manufacturer, or (e) service (including upgrades and expansions) performed by anyone who is not a representative of Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider (“AASP”).

And this (bolded in Applecare agreement):

Important: Do not open the Covered Equipment, as damage caused as a result of opening the equipment is not covered by this Plan. Only Apple or an AASP should perform service on the Covered Equipment.

To some degree they are helping you out by changing out your logic board and covering the $1450 cost. As a trade off you are only losing a few weeks worth of Applecare coverage. This is like a cop letting you off with a warning instead of a ticket. I would take the machine and run.
I don't think they are covering the $1475 cost. OP said "About a week goes by and I get a problematic email stating that there is an “non-authorized part” in my MacBook and my repair cost for a logic board replacement is $1475. Wait, what? I have AppleCare until March 2019. Why am I being charge full price for a logic board replacement?

Aside from that, it doesn't matter if Apple bolds "Looking at your Covered Equipment sideways may void your warranty" It is still in violation of the MMWA that prohibits product manufacturers from conditioning consumer warranties on the use of any original equipment part or service. Furthermore, a manufacturer can only deny warranty coverage if it can demonstrate that a non-original equipment part or related service caused a defect to occur in the original product.
 
  • Like
Reactions: User_E and Queen6

Ploki

macrumors 601
Jan 21, 2008
4,056
1,275
As I said - Apple considered those parts user-replaceable in your system, they really didn't care since they even provided instructions for replacing those parts. In the newer machines they DON'T consider those parts (well, part since only the drive can be removed as the memory is soldered) user-replaceable and even caution that service of the system by unauthorized people can result in voiding of the warranty. Apple even went so far as to use non-standard screws to secure the case in an attempt to keep people out. Of course, the bits for those are available in many PC repair toolkits (my iFixit kit has them, but I'm also a certified Apple tech).
mid retina 2012, they didn't consider them user replaceable.