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

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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.


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."

Article Link: Class Action Lawsuit Against Apple for Offering Refurbished Replacement Devices Under AppleCare Moves Forward
 
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ilikewhey

macrumors 65816
May 14, 2014
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nyc upper east
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.
 
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AndrewR23

macrumors 68040
Jun 24, 2010
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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.
No. Apple has been giving replacements that have new casings, battery etc, but the insides of the phone are reused.
 

MagMan1979

macrumors member
May 4, 2015
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706
"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!
 

AndrewR23

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Jun 24, 2010
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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.
[doublepost=1568766384][/doublepost]
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.
Not all the time. Ive received replacements with scratched screens, former iCloud still logged in bc they never wiped the old phone.
 

uller6

macrumors regular
May 14, 2010
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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.
 

sbailey4

macrumors 68040
Dec 5, 2011
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"The word "refurbished" appears only once in the AppleCare+ terms and conditions even though the printed booklet is 33 pages long."
Hmm, so refurb is only listed once? So how many times is it required to be listed for it to be legit? Twice? Three times? Also if one has a phone and after some period of time its broken and is in need for an AppleCare replacement, that device is no longer new either so an equivalent to new would be a direct replacement for that device not a brand new one. People are off their rockers any more with everything. SMH
 

ellsworth

macrumors 6502a
Jun 13, 2007
726
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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.
 

SteveW928

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May 28, 2010
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Victoria, B.C. Canada
... 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. ...
Probably better, at least in my experience (as limited as it is).

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.
I've heard that too, and it makes sense. As mentioned above, in my rather limited experience of maybe dozens of devices now across our family, that has held true. I've had zero issues with refurbs, but a couple issues with new devices out of the bunch.

If they are available, I go for the refurb... with the added benefit of saving some $.
 
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JPack

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Mar 27, 2017
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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.
They're not. Apple's own warranty policy tells you're not.


"If a defect arises during the Warranty Period, Apple, at its option will (1) repair the Product at no charge using new parts or parts that are equivalent to new in performance and reliability, (2) exchange the Product with a product with equivalent functionality formed from new and/or previously used parts that are equivalent to new in performance and reliability or with your consent, a product that is at least functionally equivalent to the product it replaces, or (3) refund the original purchase price."

https://www.apple.com/legal/warranty/products/accessory-warranty-english.html
 

niji

Contributor
Feb 9, 2003
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They're not. Apple's own warranty policy tells you're not.


"If a defect arises during the Warranty Period, Apple, at its option will (1) repair the Product at no charge using new parts or parts that are equivalent to new in performance and reliability, (2) exchange the Product with a product with equivalent functionality formed from new and/or previously used parts that are equivalent to new in performance and reliability or with your consent, a product that is at least functionally equivalent to the product it replaces, or (3) refund the original purchase price."

https://www.apple.com/legal/warranty/products/accessory-warranty-english.html
this.
this class action lawsuit is headed nowhere except for some kind of marketing strategy for the law firm leading this ridiculous claim.
i wonder if we can make a class action lawsuit against law firms that engage in frivolous class action lawsuits.
 

RumorConsumer

macrumors 6502a
Jun 16, 2016
838
484
This is so disgusting. From an environmental perspective forcing a company to use all new parts is simply unconscionable. Second, they have a vested interest in making sure my second experience is better than the first if the first resulted in a failure. I believe Apple tests the crap out of those replacement units. I will endure a second failure to make sure perfectly good reconditioned parts or whatever stay in use. Disgusting.
 

ilikewhey

macrumors 65816
May 14, 2014
1,055
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nyc upper east
Interesting, considering refurbished products sold via the Apple store on line come at a steep discount.

Logic stands to reason that if refurbished were truly equivalent to new they wouldn’t be discounted...

...and that concludes this session of armchair lawyering.
lol from one armchair lawyering to another, legally speaking apple can't pass it off as new, that would be fraud.
 

mi7chy

macrumors 603
Oct 24, 2014
5,926
6,885
I treat phones like toothbrush or underwear. Always new and never used/refurb. You never know if a phone has taken a dive in a fully loaded crapper and I don't expect hazmat level cleaning from Apple after watching repair videos and condition of Apple refurbs inside or any company for that fact.
 
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TrowaNY

macrumors newbie
Aug 21, 2014
26
14
I agree with this. If you're paying an extra, you should get a new phone, not a used one. How much is the phone + AppleCare? $1500 just to get a used device is a rip off in my opinion.
Not usually how insurance works. The fact people do get new phones or "certified new" is better than other industries like say the auto industry. Apple is just eating the labor costs, and parts costs of repair so we can have a phone replacement up and running within an hour (unless you have a busy store or not near a store).
 

yojason

macrumors newbie
Aug 16, 2011
18
30
SoCal



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.


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 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."

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

I think that poor Vicky and Joanne don’t know Apple’s definition of refurbished. They’re just assuming that it means whatever they’re used to it meaning.

Also, improper use of the word “utilize” should immediately cause the case to be thrown out. That and “all of the sudden.”
 

SteveW928

macrumors 68000
May 28, 2010
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Victoria, B.C. Canada
... I believe Apple tests the crap out of those replacement units. ...
I'm guessing this might be the difference. I sure haven't been able to tell any of my refurbs apart from a brand new one aside from the box. But, I think the more thorough testing means you're more likely to get a failure that 'fell through the cracks' on the new ones, whereas it would probably be caught on the refurb.

Interesting, considering refurbished products sold via the Apple store on line come at a steep discount.

Logic stands to reason that if refurbished were truly equivalent to new they wouldn’t be discounted...
I'm not sure I'd call the discount steep, but there is a bit of a discount, which is a nice bonus. I think they discount them to move them out, as a lot of people seem to think new is somehow better. I suppose one could say the discount is more a marketing thing.

I'm not sure if you've ever bought one (I'm guessing not), but could you explain how they aren't equivalent? As I said above, I sure can't tell any difference.