back to article Class-action sueball over refurbed iThings will ask Apple what 'as good as new' means

A judge in California has OK'd a class-action lawsuit against Apple for alleged breaches of its AppleCare warranty schemes. The case (PDF) was brought by Vicky Maldonado and Justin Carter, who complained that remanufactured replacement iPhones or iPads "are not 'equivalent to new in performance and reliability' as promised …

  1. redpawn Silver badge

    Apple's twin slogans

    "Carpe diem!" and "Caveat emptor!"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple's twin slogans

      "Carpe cōleōs" more likely...

    2. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Apple's twin slogans

      And nothing at all like "Sod the users". Come to think of it Apple are fast approaching the "doing a Ratner"* moment.

      * Gerald Ratner managed to almost overnight bankrupt his nationwide chain of jewellery shops when he boasted at a public dinner that, "People say, "How can you sell this for such a low price?", I say, "because it's total crap.""

  2. DougS Silver badge

    That's ridiculous

    No one is going to replace devices that are a couple years old with brand new ones. When you have insurance on your car that's been in an accident they promise to use new or like new parts, but no one expects them to supply you with a whole new car!

    1. Kabukiwookie Silver badge

      Re: That's ridiculous

      The issue here is that apparently Apple promised to use new parts, charged a fee for users to have their devices repaired with new parts then repaired their kit with parts scrounged off of devices that have died previously to cut costs.

      If I went to a garage to have my car repaired pay for new parts and found out that they put in a refurbished parts, because 'it's just as good', I would have a serious chat with them as well.

      Actually I would never be their customer again, not sure why Apple cultists seem to be gluttons for punishment.

      1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: That's ridiculous

        Yep. I use and sometimes prefer used part. However, I prefer those doing the repairs to be truthful either way!

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: That's ridiculous

      I expect everything that wears out to be new, and everything else to be in perfect condition.

      So a new battery, new bearings, bushings, seals, hoses, fluids etc, and no other parts bent, buckled, folded, spindled or mutilated.

      If your garage replaced the oil with "previously enjoyed" oil, would that be ok?

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: That's ridiculous

      When you have insurance on your car that's been in an accident they promise to use new or like new parts, but no one expects them to supply you with a whole new car!

      Agree, however, you will note that the insurance policy doesn't say or imply that the car you get back will be 'as good as new', in fact they tend to emphasis "like for like" and of "equivalent age".

    4. Splurg The Barbarian

      Re: That's ridiculous

      No one is going to replace devices that are a couple years old with brand new ones. When you have insurance on your car that's been in an accident they promise to use new or like new parts, but no one expects them to supply you with a whole new car!

      And then your car, with its 8 year body work warranty that you have 6 years left on, has no warranty at all anymore.

      I bought a brand new car & I've told the insurance company when I took it out that I wanted to put it to manufacturer approved bodyshop so that it didn't get refurb parts and its bodywork warranty wiped out should the worst happen. If they said no, I went elsewhere.

      Wouldn't expect a brand new car, but would expect new parts, due to its age and value.

      HOWEVER a better example is my car BREAKS DOWN under warranty, I take it in and the dealership/manufacturer decide to repair it with 2nd user parts, then I am going to be very cheesed off.

      Maybe if Apple made the devices more serviceable the complainant, could have simply received a brand new battery allowing him to keep his ,only used by him & bought brand new, device.

      1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

        Re: That's ridiculous

        Actually, some companies do offer a new for old on 12 months products, including cars. Big ifs/buts, and additional cost/premiums.

        But if it can be checked for probability/risk/costs, there is an insurance company out there charging for it. ;)

  3. Any other name

    Good as new

    How does that old joke goes ... ah yes:

    - How many DEC engineers does it take to change a lightbulb?

    - That depends on how many broken bulbs they've brought with them.

    Some things will never change.

    1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

      Re: Good as new

      Lol yes. The internal shock sensors on DEC hardware weren't just there to protect the hardware, but also somewhat failingly designed to prevent heart failure at the size of the annual support bills.

  4. nematoad Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Control, control, control.

    "...he got someone to open his replacement devices to see if they contained reused parts without an Apple engineer being present."

    Which again begs the question: Who's 'phone is it anyway?

    The next thing will be having a spy process running on the 'phone just to make sure that you are using it in a way that Apple approves of. Step outside the limits of what Apple demands and the 'phone shuts off until you have to speak to a "Genius" and probably get bollocked for breaking the rules.

    Not for me.

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: The next thing will be having a spy process running on the 'phone

      The next thing ?

      Pound to a penny it's now a thing.

    2. teebie

      Re: Control, control, control.

      No, the problem is that the fact that an unauthorised person opened the device flies back in time, thus negating the warranty at the time the user first sent the device in for repair.

      Or a lawyer thought they should throw all available shit at the wall hoping some would stick, I dunno.

  5. Tim99 Silver badge
    Meh

    Irony?

    Not sure about replacement parts, but if the whole device is replaced with “refurbished” kit, it is often more reliable, as returns/repairs are usually soak tested and individually checked - Whereas much (even expensive) kit comes off the production line without checking. Some manufacturers discovered a long time ago that QA/QC was expensive and not always indicative of problems, so they just ship the kit and wait for the customer to complain.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Irony?

      >Not sure about replacement parts, but if the whole device is replaced with “refurbished” kit, it is often more reliable

      I've come across this, where the refurbished kit also benefited from the knowledge gained from the returns, a trival example of this is ink cartridges where third-parties discovered that OEMs weren't completely filling their cartridges. I've had similar on car parts where the third-party refurbished part used better quality bearings than the OEM part.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Irony?

        The set of ink cartridges that come with a new printer are often worth only a few pages of printing to get you started.

        1. Qumefox

          Re: Irony?

          Yep. make you spend $50 on a printer, then have to shell out another $50 on cartridges, when you could have just paid a little more for a laser printer in the first place. Providing you just need monochrome. Though even color laser's aren't that expensive anymore. I seriously don't know why people still buy inkjets.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No warranty, fix it yourself?

    I have got down and dirty with my Apple products. I have replaced drives, headphone jacks and batteries.

    Getting the suckers open is the toughest part.

    1. vtcodger Silver badge

      Re: No warranty, fix it yourself?

      ... headphone jacks ...

      You won't have to do THAT anymore.

  7. Povl H. Pedersen

    Apple lost in Denmark

    Apple lost court case in Denmark some years back. They can not repair with used parts, and can not use refurbished phones for warranty replacement.

    They will have to repair with new parts, or give you a replacement with only new parts aka new device.

    Not all companies are happy about this. But when my Polar watch had issues, I got factory new electronics, in my scratched case. My running watch before that was a Garmin, where 3 refurbished replacements all had issues.

    But in Denmark Apply supplies factory new replacement units.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Apple lost in Denmark

      "Not all companies are happy about this."

      Then they should stop making devices that fail in the first place, at least within the warrantied period.

      Apple have literally testified before an EU court that their iPhones are only designed to last "a year". They were trying to get out of providing just this - AppleCare / warranty replacements, by claiming their devices are so shoddy nobody would expect them to last more than a year.

      The argument that this should affect legally-required warranties was thrown out, but Apple have literally testified in court that your iPhone isn't built to last a year.

      Won't stop mugs buying them, though.

      1. gnasher729 Silver badge

        Re: Apple lost in Denmark

        "Apple have literally testified before an EU court that their iPhones are only designed to last "a year". "

        I'd like to see a quotation for that, containing _exactly_ what Apple said.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Apple lost in Denmark

          The Denmark case was about refurbished phones, David Lysgaard vs Apple.

          In Italy Apple were challenged about not providing an EU 2 year warrranty and selling care packs. Apple responded by saying that they do already provide the statutory warranty and they would now make it clearer in the documented.

          I have a 5S never been repaired works just fine after nearly 6 years. Lucky it's never been dropped though.

        2. Lee D Silver badge

          Re: Apple lost in Denmark

          https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/j5geby/the-iphone-is-guaranteed-to-last-only-one-year-apple-argues-in-court

  8. andy gibson

    TIME Computers

    TIME computers used to do this regularly at their service centre back in the late 90s.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: TIME Computers

      Very common practice. Device comes back with faulty motherboard, motherboard is replaced, old motherboard goes back to repair workshop and then goes into the queue for the next faulty motherboard replacement. Send your device back for repair with a V2.0 PCB, receive it back in a few weeks with a V1.6 PCB.

      I've seen it from within the manufacturers side.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: TIME Computers

        "Send your device back for repair with a V2.0 PCB, receive it back in a few weeks with a V1.6 PCB."

        Yes, the Beagleboard guys did that to me. I sent a revision C4 xM board back (kept on crashing, possibly faulty solder to the RAM?) and the board I got back had a sticker that said "C0". So I'm guessing that was somebody else's return that got fixed...

        1. vtcodger Silver badge

          Re: TIME Computers

          So I'm guessing that was somebody else's return that got fixed...

          That's maybe OK as long as they don't claim it's new. However, the replaced part may be a returned part whose fault they couldn't identify and which they are assuming is OK. Not so OK maybe. The thing was returned for a reason.

          BTW, We should keep in mind that production runs of parts are not infinite. It's perfectly possible that a manufacturer has no new parts in stock for some warranty repairs and that they no longer make the device and thus can't replace it with a new one. What are they expected to do other than use a refurbished/recycled part?

          None of which excuses misrepresenting what they are doing or charging a new product price for a reused part.

  9. TchmilFan

    I am cancelling my subscription forthwith

    The Registerbot forgot to insert "fanbois" at every opportunity.

    Shurely some mistake.

  10. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    battery problems

    Battery problems are the problem. Would I care if the rest of a device were new? Not really. Would I care if the battery was new? Given the high difficulty and cost of replacing them plus apparently short life, yes I would expect a new battery. Since apple made the battery so hard to replace of course they're probably shipping out refurbs with (if it's a few year old unit) few year old batteries in them. Apple created this problem for themselves by making such an important component so hard to replace.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Everyone does this

    I think a lot of companies do this. If during debug of a system you say replace 3 parts in order to get the customer up again, what happens to the three rejected parts ? - they're tested and if they pass, they are put back into stock as refurb stock. As another chap comments - these are often better quality than new as infant t mortality failures have been removed. So, I think it's more "- how good it the process used to separate the good from the iffy on the three parts .....

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