macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

A judge in Amsterdam has ruled in favor of a Dutch woman [Google Translate] who sued Apple for refusing to replace her broken iPhone 6 Plus with a new model, and instead offering her a refurbished model as per its standard policy.

The court nullified the purchase agreement and ordered Apple to refund the woman the full EUR799 that she paid for the iPhone, which was purchased in December 2014 and stopped functioning nine months later in August 2015.

Apple being ordered to refund the purchase price plus interest and pay all of the woman's legal fees was specific to this case, but it is the precedent that could be set in the Netherlands and possibly elsewhere that is more important.

Apple's standard one-year limited warranty and extended AppleCare+ policies for iPhone in both the Netherlands and the U.S., and most other countries, explicitly state that repairs or exchanges may involve devices or parts that are either new or "equivalent to new in performance and reliability," otherwise known as refurbished.

It is common practice for Apple to replace defective iPhones with a refurbished model consisting of both new and recycled parts, and only rarely does the company provide a brand new replacement on a case-by-case situation. The court's decision in Amsterdam, however, could force Apple to change its policies.

The court filing in the Netherlands does not indicate if Apple plans to appeal the decision, but it would not be unprecedented for the company to exhaust all avenues in an effort to overturn the ruling. Apple has not publicly commented on the matter.

In 2011, facing pressure from regulators, Apple revised its warranty replacement policy for iPhones sold in South Korea, offering customers returning their defective phones within the first month of ownership the option of receiving a brand new replacement rather than refurbished units as had been standard policy.

(Thanks, Coen and Jasper!)

Article Link: Dutch Court Orders Apple to Replace Customer's Broken iPhone With New, Not Refurbished, Model
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macrumors member
Sep 12, 2012
I really can't tell if this is a good thing or a bad thing...
Bad Thing: Whiner Woman doesn't like ToS, giving other whiners a way to change Other ToS's out there, perhaps.
Good Thing: New iPhones! (Oh wait...what's the point of Apple's recycling program again?)


macrumors 6502
Apr 8, 2006
I had my 3Gs and 5s replaced under warranty and I got a refurb. I didn't care one bit about getting a refurb. From everything I've heard, Apple refurb stuff is as good as new. They were definitely better than the phones they replaced. :)


macrumors regular
Jan 8, 2003
New Jersey
That's extremely incorrect. But nice try.

My experience with Apple returns is that Apple is REALLY INSISTENT on not making a mistake twice on the same item. I have NEVER had any issue with refurb iPhone, Mac Mini, Powerbook Pro, or MacBook Pro machines from Apple. I have probably had HUNDREDS of Apple Products over the past decades. I have an extremely low rate of issues (most issues have been clear User Fault -- yet some Apple still takes care of) -- BUT -- within that low rate of issues I have had a lower rate of issues on Apple refurb than on Apple NEW.


macrumors 6502
Mar 2, 2010
Is there any evidence to show that refurb iPhones are in any objective way inferior to 'new' iPhones?
Function? Appearance? Lifespan?

Or is it all in the perception?

It is 99% perception.

It makes sense. The refurbs should be more extensively tested.

Exactly. As someone who has had a phone replaced during the first year, and one who buys day one iPhones, (meaning I get mine on launch day), typically the refurbished models have not only been extensively tested, but are no longer the initial batch of parts, which can sometimes have slight tweaks to them


macrumors 603
Sep 23, 2008
Is there any evidence to show that refurb iPhones are in any objective way inferior to 'new' iPhones?
Function? Appearance? Lifespan?

Or is it all in the perception?

It seems that the judge did not care either way. They relied on ECJ precedent and decided that because the phone itself broke within the warranty period and because Apple did not rebut the pursuer’s assertions about the cause of the defect (after 6 months the burden of proof is upon the consumer to prove that the defect was there), that this should be deemed a non-conformance that warrants a rescission. They did not decide on the question whether a refurbished or repaired device is sufficient.

Personally, I think this is really unfortunate. Technology is composed of lots and lots of parts and very often only a tiny piece needs to break to cause a defect. Apple can fix this easily or replace the broken parts. To do this more efficiently, they offer refurbished devices that were already examined and tested thoroughly, while replacing those parts that wear and tear more quickly (battery, case, glass front). It really should not matter to the consumer, they receive a perfectly good device for this and the warranty begins anew. I think this is a waste of resources (that includes material costs and emissions) to force Apple to give people brand-new devices (which may also have defects).
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macrumors 6502
Mar 2, 2010
Both refurbs I've received in my Apple iPhone life have been excellent - lasted years and I resold them for max resale value (to Apple). Both had new batteries and perfect screens/bodies. I think I'd rather take a white/black box iPhone than a brand new one (having had problems with brand new iPhones).

Same here. Just got paid from gazelle for the 5 I had that was a refurb on repair. Refurb was in better shape than my day one 5, no scratches on the slate chamfered edges like the original had. HA


macrumors 65816
Apr 25, 2008
Little do they realize that Apple refurbs are generally better than new...

I wish that was the case for me. I had my iPhone 5 replaced for a defective sleep button, thankfully AppleCare+ sent me the replacement by mail as there were no Apple Stores nearby.

It took 4 tries before I got one that was without very-noticeable dents and scratches. Granted they were all cosmetic defects but the Apple rep asked me for pictures and even he was shocked at the state of the refurbs I was being sent. One particular unit I got was so bad it actually looked like someone had dropped kicked it on concrete before neatly placing it inside a white iPhone box.

Apple was great to deal with and totally took care of me but the refurbs were a huge hit or miss, at least in my experience.


macrumors newbie
Jul 12, 2016
Is there any evidence to show that refurb iPhones are in any objective way inferior to 'new' iPhones?
Function? Appearance? Lifespan?

Or is it all in the perception?

That's not the point. European warranty laws are put in place to protect the consumer and push manufacturers to engineer and produce products that will upkeep their expected lifespan. It expects companies to think in cost control and shareholders maximizing vs. what people need.

With this, apple might go for a lower fail rate, since it was:

"cost of less precise productions + repairs" is cheaper than "cost of less precise productions + new"
Will be
Cost of more precise productions with less warranty claims + new" is cheaper "cost of less precise productions with high fail rate+new"


macrumors 68040
Mar 28, 2005
I say give the choice to the customer, explaining why a refurb might be a better choice, if it is. If it breaks again, they should still be covered anyway. If the argument for a refurb being a good choice is strong, make it to the customer and stand by the power of the argument. This same principle could apply to many things Apple do...

I don't see the logic of doing anything other than the customer's wishes when the item is defective - they should be due a refund if the item is not fit for sale, in which case they could buy new anyway. And better give them a new iPhone if they want it than a refund they can decide to go and use on an android phone instead.

If it's broken due to the user dropping it or something then that's another story, but I don't think that is the case here from what I can understand(?).


macrumors G5
Aug 10, 2007
I'm a rolling stone.
FYI When a device breaks down (In the Netherlands) within 2 years and the manufacturer/seller can't repair the device the manufacturer/seller must provide a new device by law, not a refurb one.

That's what you get for selling in a nanny state.

WTF is this about, the manufacturer/seller of a product SHOULD make it so that what they sell does not break down within a set period of time, an iPhone should last for a minimum of 2 years, if that is not the case Apple can try to fix it and if that is not possible they should provide a NEW one, not a refurb.


Mar 7, 2007
Midwest America.
Lol. I've had two replacement iPhones from Apple, both refurbs, that were in perfect condition.

My brand new 4s was shipped with a broken haptic motor and my 5s shipped with dirt under the screen. The refurbs of both were flawless.

I received a replacement 6+ that developed a screen crash within a month of getting it. I also had a refurb iMac that had a spectacular meltdown. The 6+ was replaced by another refurb. The iMac was swapped for a brand new unit because the symptoms led them to believe that it was 'really bad' and required 'major surgery' that would take weeks.

I think the agreement should be that you get new within 3 or six months, and then refurbs after that time frame. But ask Dell about sticking people with refurbished junk. They were sued because they were caught selling used and refurbished goods as new, and sending untested boards out for parts replacement. I got a little of that from Dell, in that one client's system board had to be reshipped three times before we finally received a working board.

There's 'cutting corners', and then there's 'cutting your own neck'. Dell lost a customer that day. HP got their next company wide replacement order. And got them to the client quicker, and at lower cost too...
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