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Seattle Rex vs. Apple: The Verdict Is In

Apple Logo

A few years ago, Apple sold me a $4,000 computer with a defective graphics chip/logic board. The defective part was the Nvidia 8600M GT GPU, and when it was discovered that the machine was defective, Apple refused to take it back and issue me a refund. Instead, they promised to replace the 8600M GT boards when they failed, up to 4 years from the date of purchase.

Three years later, the board failed, and predictably, Apple refused to replace it. Instead, they used the fact that the machine wouldn’t boot (due to the failed logic board) to deny the repair. Not only that, but in addition, they tried to charge me a hefty sum of money to have it replaced, knowing full well that Nvidia pays for the full repair cost.

Three and a half months ago, after having my repair denied, I announced on this very site that I was going to sue Apple. Reading these lawsuit threats often, many people assumed that I was bluffing or blowing off steam, but true to my word, I did exactly what I said I was going to do. I sued Apple.

I did not take this step lightly, however. In the months following the announcement, I did everything in my power to keep my dispute with Apple out of the court system.

First, I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. In their rebuttal to the BBB, Apple blatantly lied about the diagnostics they had run on my computer, and the BBB promptly closed the case, leaving Apple’s “A+” rating intact.

Next, I spoke with Apple Executive Services … three separate times. Each time, I was told that “We value each customer and hope that they have a positive experience with Apple, and are sorry that you did not have this experience, but you will get nothing.” … or something to this effect.

After that, I sent a demand letter to Apple via certified mail. I informed them that if I did not have my issue resolved within 10 days, I would sue.

Only then, after Apple failed to reply, did I file a Small Claims lawsuit.

Last week, the trial was held.

I arrived at the King County Courthouse shortly after 8am, and about forty five minutes later, the clerk performed roll call. Imagine my surprise when I learned that Apple had sent not one, but two people to represent the company. When Apple told me that I would get nothing, they really meant it.

After calling roll, and before calling the docket, the clerk went down the case list and asked each litigant if they would be willing to try mediation. Mediation keeps cases out of the court system, and keeps the outcomes confidential. This is especially beneficial to companies, as having judgements issued against them by customers is bad PR.

Always one to exhaust all good-faith remedies before resorting to more drastic measures (really, nobody can say I didn’t try my hardest to stay out of court), I agreed to try mediation, and to my surprise, so did Apple.

Since everything said in the mediation room is confidential, I cannot go into details about what happened there, but I will tell you that it failed, and the case was sent back to the courtroom.

In retrospect, I am glad that mediation did fail. After seeing that Apple sent two guys … two guys who were in continuous contact with Apple legal via text and cell … I knew that I was outgunned, outspent, and out-everything elsed. $500,000,000,000 vs. $37 and a pack of chewing gum is not a fair fight. Because of this, I offered settlements that were ridiculously favorable to Apple and unfavorable to myself, but even these were rejected. Thank goodness that they were.

After failing mediation, shortly after 11am, we were called before the judge, sworn in, and I read my opening statement. I said basically everything I’ve been saying on this blog for the last several months. I stuck to the facts, handed my exhibits to the clerk (several printed pages), and was as professional as possible.

When it was Apple’s turn, their representatives opened by throwing a hail mary pass. While holding up the press release outlining the 8600GT replacement program, they claimed that, because the CPU in my MacBook Pro was clocked at 2.6Ghz, and not 2.4Ghz, or 2.5Ghz as stated in the release, that I had a completely different computer … one that was not subject to the 4 year replacement program.

You see, when I ordered my MacBook Pro, I paid about $300 extra for them to up-clock the chip from 2.5Ghz to 2.6Ghz. Yes, it was a classic Apple ripoff, and yes, I was dumb to order it, but I did it, mea culpa.

I had absolutely no idea that it would be used against me in a court of law to explain to a judge why I should not be covered by an extended warranty, and it caught me off-guard. Perhaps, despite everything, I am still a bit naive, because not even I expected Apple to just … lie. At least not in such a silly manner.

Remember, I was not going up against the owner of some taco stand, I was up against the most profitable company in the USA. I honestly expected more than a silly fib.

After listening to Apple, the judge turned to me and asked for my response, and I explained to him, in detail, that the chips, logic boards, and GPUs in all of the MacBook Pro models were the same, regardless of the speed at which the CPUs had been clocked.

Confused, the judge turned to Apple and asked, “Is this true?”

There was some awkward silence as the Apple guys exchanged uncomfortable looks between each other, before one of them finally said “Yes, it is.”

“So, this machine IS covered by the 8600GT repair program?”, asked the judge.

“Yes it is, your honor”, replied Apple.

So, there we were. Not more than 2 minutes into the trial, and Apple conceded to trying to hoodwink the judge.

This is more or less the way the rest of the trial played out. I made a point, Apple rebutted it with something completely off-the-wall and irrelevant, and I explained to the judge why Apple’s rebuttal was nonsense. I took the time to explain everything clearly, I answered all of the judge’s technical questions in detail, and at one point, the judge even declared that he would accept my testimony as that of an “expert witness”.

Apple, well, they didn’t really have a defense. They just kept repeating things like “It’s Apple’s policy to do this”, and “It’s Apple’s position that we do that”. The Apple guys seemed genuinely surprised that I knew as much as I did about computer hardware. I’m not trying to insult iPeople, at least not in this article, but during both mediation and the trial, I realized that Apple has a strong expectation that their users not be tech-savvy and, as such, Apple seems used to infantilizing and bamboozling their customers with silly and nonsensical explanations of highly technical matters.

Years ago, I remember debating the Mac vs. Everything Else issue with a friend of mine, and every time I would bring up the relative attributes of a particular component, he would always respond with “Specs don’t matter!”

I thought he was just being stubborn, but after this experience, I realize that this type of “I don’t care about gigahertz and whatchamajiggers, I just know that Macs use pixie dust and purple elephant dung to make magic!” mentality is a part of the Apple culture from the top down. From the lowest-level sales rep all the way up to the corporate guys.

As the trial went on, I showed the judge evidence that the 8600M graphics cards were known to be defective, I showed him that I had an 8600M in my machine, and I explained to him that, despite their promise to do so, Apple refused to replace my board because it would not boot, and it would not boot because the 8600M had failed.

The judge accepted these explanations, and when he asked Apple what it would cost to replace my logic board if I paid in cash, I interjected and explained to the judge that if Apple replaced only the logic board, it would simply be another logic board with a defective GPU, therefore, such a solution would not be acceptable.

The judge responded by asking Apple if my machine could be fitted with a different GPU, and when they replied “No, that machine will only accept an 8600M GT”, the judge declared my make & model of MacBook Pro to be defective and unrepairable by any means.

Eventually, over the continued objections of the Apple folks (one of the guys kept arguing that I should give Apple one last chance to fix it), I was awarded a cash amount. The amount I was awarded is enough to replace the computer, which means that I should once again have a 17″ laptop. Assuming Apple actually pays me.

Now, I didn’t get everything I asked for. When I filed the suit, I was pissed off, so I asked for the kitchen sink … a refund of Apple Care (which I only purchased when I learned the machine was defective), compensation for loss of use, and even some punitive damages.

Had I been able to show loss-of-use damages, I probably would have gotten them, but the judge awarded what would “make me whole” … essentially, putting me back in the same place that I was before Apple wronged me. This being the case, I received compensation for the machine itself, plus court costs, costs of service, etc.

It was a fair ruling, a little more than I expected actually, and I thanked the judge.

The Apple guys, well, they were none too happy. By the time I stood up, they had already beat a hasty path to the courtroom door. I was going to offer my hand, thank them for their time, and explain that it was nothing personal, but they weren’t interested in any of it.

And that was that.

I guess what they say is true. The sun even shines on a dog’s butthole every now and then, and on this day, I got myself a nice tan.

David faced Goliath, and not unlike the AT&T case a couple of months ago, David somehow, someway, came out on top.

Even though I’m glad it turned out the way it did, one question still nags me:

Why?

Why did it have to come to this?

At one point, the judge asked Apple how much it would have cost them to have simply replaced my logic board when I had taken it in, and one of the Apple guys said “Oh, it wouldn’t have cost us anything, Nvidia foots the bill for each board we replace.”

The judge’s face almost hit the floor as he shot me a quizzical look, to which I just shrugged. I knew that he, and everyone else in the courtroom was thinking the same thing:

If Apple could have replaced my logic board at no cost to themselves, then why in the hell did they drag this out for so long, and why did they send two people to court to try and make sure that I got absolutely nothing? Friends, this is a question I have been asking myself for three months, and it is a question that I do not have the answer to.

You know, I fully respect a person or a company that stands up for himself/itself when they are in the right. It’s the correct thing to do.

What I don’t understand, however, is why Apple fought so hard against me when they were clearly in the wrong. It wasn’t even a judgement call. I knew they were wrong, the judge knew they were wrong, the clerk knew it, the audience knew it, and you could tell … you could just tell that Apple knew it as well.

And what of the shareholders? What should they make of this? Apple’s stock has been an E-ticket ride lately, but this incident should really give shareholders pause. I mean, what kind of judgement are the current leaders of Apple using?

Think about it … instead of repairing my computer under the repair program that they, themselves, announced … at absolutely no cost to themselves … Apple paid two guys to come to Downtown Seattle, and … well … lie, so that I would not have a non-defective computer. When you factor in the time it took them to get here, the time spent in court, and the time to get home, Apple paid two guys a day’s wages to defend this suit.

In addition, instead of paying nothing for the repair, they paid a legal team to oversee the case, and, oh yeah … you guys, the shareholders, are buying me a new computer too. Thanks.

As far as I can tell, Apple spent all of this time and money, solely to be a bully. Was that really money well-spent? I mean, you can almost excuse the holy wars against Adobe, Samsung, Android, and the prototype guys … but a local blogger?

The obsessiveness of crushing all perceived enemies, no matter how big or small, regardless of whether they are wrong or right, should be of concern to all iFans and financiers. It’s getting to the point where it’s really, really just sick.

Gone are the days of the scrappy underdog, throwing a hammer through the window of conformity, and what has emerged is … well, it’s far worse than what it was rebelling against.

Apple has become the Orwellian nightmare that it warned us about some 30 years ago. A huge vehicle of sameness backed by legions of newthink practitioners, gleefully cheering as Big Bully annihilates one thoughtcriminal after another.

Apple may be profitable, but it’s not well. Something is wrong at the highest levels, and if I was strongly tied to the company financially, I might be worried. Although blinded by Apple’s success in the near-term, I don’t think history will judge the company favorably.

Anyway, now comes the hard part.

Collecting the money. A judgement is only a piece of paper. It’s worth nothing if you can’t collect.

If what I have seen from Apple is any guide, they will spend $50 Million to get out of paying my four-figure judgement, simply out of spite. Just how much of the shareholder’s money will Apple end up spending because they tried to screw Seattle Rex remains to be seen.

I’ll fight on, though. No matter how many obstacles Apple throws in my way, I’ll keep going. After all, it’s what I do. I guess you can say I …

Think Different.

Update: Wow, this article really set off a firestorm. I’ve received scores of emails from people who were given the same “it won’t boot so we won’t repair it” explanation that I was, and were forced to pay for the repair out of their own pocket.

This really is a larger suit, perhaps a class-action suit in the making (as much as I detest class-actions for their unfairness toward the class), and I am exploring the possibilities of bringing a second suit against the company for fraud, misrepresentation, etc.

I’m simply astounded by how many people received the same treatment as myself over the 8600M issue.

Update 4/28/12: Apple has satisfied my judgement. http://www.seattlerex.com/update-apple-satisfies-my-judgement/

488 comments to Seattle Rex vs. Apple: The Verdict Is In

  • Jake

    This made me smile, literally. Bravo

    • John

      Well done, and glad you stood your ground. I agree that something is not right inside Apple. I’ve recently had a run around on a MBA that has been in for *7* replacement logic boards – it’s only 11 months old.

      The last Genius was actually downright pissed when I said “Listen, you’ve replaced the same thing 7 times now and it keeps failing within days/weeks. It’s obviously got some other issue causing the board to fail.”

      It is now pretty clear they are hell bent on swapping logic boards until my AppleCare is up – at the current rate that’s only 15 more to go – until they can start to charge me to do so and make the cost of the 22 failed logic boards up in the first repair.

      Sorry Apple, it’s time to move to one of those mass market bland and dull Windows 7 laptops. You know the ones that have real warranty’s and customer service people who honestly want to make their customers happy.

    • Curt Spanburgh

      And thus, I have never owned an Apple, MAC, iPad or iPhone. I’ve had to work with their stuff from time to time as a consultant.
      Purple Elephant Dung. Perfect description.

      Great Job.

      It all LOOKS pretty. Once the “Toy” breaks, the “Childern” are told to just buy another one.

    • Chrus

      Huh. A literal smile. As opposed to….?

  • ed

    well done rex.
    u have a lot of bottle fella.

  • Drew

    It took me three visits to the Apple Store to get a similarly affected MBP repaired… and I thought *I* had to jump through hoops. Congratulations!

  • Marco

    Great result, please keep us informed on if Apple pays. What happens if they don’t? Do you get to sue them again, do they (someone) goes to prison!

    I love Apple, and have lots of apple products, but lately they look more like the Microsoft of the 80’s/90’s than a truly great company. I feel sad that they can’t see this… but they simply don’t.

    Good job!

    Marco

    • Matt

      Likely the court would attach any of Apples assets in their jurisdiction. This happened recently at a local Bank of America branch when the bank failed to pay on a small claims case.

  • robert

    I’m sure that your judge is pro-Microsoft – because he lives in Microsoftland.

    Time to switch to Windows – it’s a great computer.

    • theDooode

      Windows nor Microsoft make computers.

      • Seattle Rex Seattle Rex

        Windows nor Microsoft make computers.

        Colloquialism: A colloquialism is a word, phrase, or paralanguage that is employed in conversational or informal language.

        • Ryan

          ^ This. Enough of the online language police.

        • Simon

          It’s a reasonable point, though. This is a hardware issue, and as such, nothing to do with Microsoft (or Apple either, seeing as they just offload the problem to NVidia). The problem might easily affect Windows too, if run on the same machine.

          • Kodie

            It is a problem for windows too. I had a HP DV9700cto with the same graphics card which took out my motherboard due to its’ overheating problem. My brother didn’t have the same graphics card but another invidia chip which did the same thing. There was a class action lawsuit against invidia that won but it was not announced to me so I missed the deadline to apply and ended up with nothing and HP gave me the same run around that Apple gave Seattle Rex.

  • Steve

    If they don’t pay up, do what a couple did to Bank of America when they won a judgement and BOA ignored payment – foreclose on a local branch. That’s right, get a court order and the local Sheriff and “foreclose” on a local Apple Store to seize assets for payment. That will get their attention and a lot of bad press for them too.

  • howard lim

    Customer service should be number one in any company, whichever company do not understand this would eventually have a fail business, No Exception. not even apple , believe it or not now that steve is no longer around, I see an entirely different landscape in tech company in the next 10 year, apple would probably be today AOL.

  • Me

    Here is a thread by me on Apple’s Discussions site regarding a bizarre realization I made about Apple’s policy while getting a hard drive repaired. Read the entire thread.

    Now after reading this, I’m very disheartened and convinced Apple is not a ethical company.

    https://discussions.apple.com/message/16858602#16858602

  • Jeff Stills

    You don’t mention it, but are you going to buy an Apple laptop, or are you switching to Windows?

    • moose

      Option 1: Dual boot Linux and Windows
      Option 2: Replace Windows and install Windows in a virtual machine (VirtualBox).

      I prefer the latter, unless i need to run some processor-heavy applications.

      • AVee

        A while back I did a mix of those two options at my job where I needed both Windows and Linux. Virtual Box is actually able to boot Windows from a physical partition, so you can install a dual boot system and run your Windows in Virtual Box under Linux (and probably the other way around as well) while keeping the option to boot actually into Windows. It might take some fiddling to get it to work (you’ll likely need two hardware profiles in Windows), but once setup properly it gives you the best of both worlds.

  • Daniel

    I had the same issue occur with my MPB from mid-2008. It’s a 2.4 Core 2 DUO, and after failing to display anything, it stopped powering on. Before doing all of the research, I took it to a Genius at the Apple Store – I received a $600 estimate for the replacement of the Logic Board.

    Nervously, I searched the internet for more information, and found similar stories to yours. Apple’s shaky determinations of when they will or won’t foot the bill for this issue – which is obviously a symptom of the failed GPU, are shared by many bloggers such as yourself. Thankfully, I made another appointment at another Apple Store. This time, it took not more than 5 minutes for the Genius to look at my computer – listen to my explanation, and completely offer coverage for the repair.

    Apple needs to redefine its coverage so as to avoid this kind of situation. They need to recognize the various symptoms which are associated with the faulty chip, and prepare their representatives properly to deal with their customers on the matter. It should not be up to the customer who has spent thousands of dollars to go through any kind of hassle when it comes to faulty chips – especially when that company is Apple, who pride themselves on their customer support.

  • Guy

    Well, what do you know? This is perhaps the most prominent third-party Apple-related site going, run by a very cool and extremely well-connected guy by the name of Jim Dalrymple. It’ll likely be picked up by a bunch of Apple sites. Prepare your servers. Very cool, and congratulations on the win.

    http://www.loopinsight.com/2012/04/17/taking-on-apple-in-court-the-little-guy-can-win/

  • Seattle Rex

    Note: Comments are running 2-3 hours behind. If you post a comment, please be patient, as it will appear.

    Eventually.

  • Tom

    Edge case at best and very poorly handled. I’ve had 2 MacBook Pros replaced by Apple, both were just over a year old with new currently selling units after 3 times in service for various issues. This was 3 years ago.

    • paul theodoropoulos

      i have to agree with Tom here. this is an edge case, by any rational measure. apple is pretty well known for making-good with customers. are there failures? obviously, case in point right here.

      but i think it’s irrational to not replace the Pro with another one. you’ll be cutting off your nose to spite your face.

      full disclosure: my main PC at home is windows 7. my work laptop is a 2010 macbook air. my ‘phone’ is an android galaxy SII. and, as a sysadmin, all the servers i manage are linux.

      to say i’m agnostic is putting it mildly. the Pro is an awesome machine, and the next release, due soon, should be full of even more awesome, as allegedly they’ll be ‘air-ified’.

      • Mark Yarbrough

        This is not by any means an edge case. And sadly this is SOP for Apple as best as I can tell.

        Make a long story short, I am an IT service provider and I primarily handle cross-platform environments, Apple (creative people) + Windows PC (Accounting and Account Services) + Linux (Debian for file and web servers) + windows server (AD and Remote desktop for Apple users to use proprietary MSSql stuff).

        I had 6 MacBook Pros go out within a month. I had extras so we just swapped out HDD’s and away they went. Finally the stack was of MBP’s was getting big enough that it was embarrassing. I went to the Apple Store with all 6 of them.

        I walked in with a stack of 6 17” MBP’s. You can imagine the looks that I got as I walked to the genius bar. When it was my turn to receive help they stated that I could only turn one in per day. And when I started to get grumpy they were going to send me on my way. I then (major jerk move I admit) shouted I will then take my six nine month old $3000.00 computers and throw them in the dumpster. Suddenly I got all 6 taken in. – Side note I had customers ask me after I was done if they should by an Apple. I gave them the truthful answer… What are you doing with it? All three that approached ended up buying Apples due to the conversations.

        A week later I was informed that all of them were system boards and they were all subject for repair costs. I argued but to no avail. They stuck to their guns.

        2 months pass

        An owner of the company comes in to the IT office and sees the stack of sad MBP’s. Asks what is going on with those. I then tell him the whole story. He asked if he could try in his home city at the Apple Store there. I stated that he could try, and if they didn’t I needed them back.

        The other store confirms that they are all video card issues and all 6 were repaired at no cost to us.

        I avoid the Apple Store in my local city at all costs due to the fact I know I will be treated like an inferior dolt. This is not the only experience that I have had at this store. I have colleagues have similar stories.

        From all that I have seen – this is Standard Operating Procedure not an edge case. Either you guys have been lucky or have put your head in the sand. I pray that luck has been on your side.
        In Closing this is not a flame war, this is just another account of how terrible/inconsistent Apple’s customer service is.

  • Stobene

    I’m glad there are people like you willing to go to these measures! Thank you and congratulations.

  • Josh

    Good job, I congratulate you, sir. It takes one hell of a guy to sue a company like Apple.

  • Kurt Griffith

    Not unsurprisingly, it’s this sort of high handed corporate nastiness that costs Apple fans and sends users back to Windows or other OS’s.

    While I still enjoy the Apple machines in My studio, Apple’s relentless use of words like “Magical” in it’s marketing annoy the living poop out of me. The iPad is a piece of technology, not a magic box powered by pixie dust and ground unicorn hooves.

    I’m a Graphic and Web Designer and Art Director A technical professional. I’m a proper power user and not afraid to open the frankkin’ case to do my own basic maintenance. The so-called geniuses at the local Apple store FEAR me, anything easy or simple, I’d have taken care of myself. If I show up, they can’t send me off with technobabble. It’s weird or hard or BOTH.

    On that basis I’d prefer a little more professional credit and respect from the suppliers of my most mission critical and costly of professional tools.

  • Ivan

    Different story here : My Macbook pro 17 inches circa 2010 was shutting down when disconnected from my Apple Display. After eight month, I took it back to the Genius Bar and they suggested me to make a clean install of Lion, with I did. After a couple of weeks, the problem was still occurring regularly. Another trip to the Genius Bar and they offered me to change the motherboard. It went better for a couple of months and the problem reappeared. It was as month after the first year warranty had expired. I brought back the Macbook again at the Genius Bar, they looked at it five minutes and proposed me a brand new 17 inches completely free. Different story here. And I have witnessed many story like mine with Apple, never with other companies.

    I’m happy that you won your case against Apple since it is obviously a wrong thing to not correct their mistake of issuing a faulty Macbook. Hope this bad corporate behavior is less frequent than the good behavior I have witnessed.

    • Dave

      I will second this, and at the same time agree with everyone else who have had similar bad experiences. I believe that it varies between Apple stores and resellers. I had my iMac swapped no questions asked after it didn’t power up. Took it in, plugged it in and next thing I know a NIB iMac was before me. However my friend, who’s Macbook Pro’s display started showing strange artifacts, was not so lucky; he had to dish out some cash for repairs. Same city, different stores.

      It is utterly mind boggling though, how Apple can be your best friend, willing to do whatever it takes to retain you as a loyal consumer, yet try to crush the little guy when he is, by their own admittance, not at fault. Not to mention being hypocritical of their own replacement program and sending out the Monte Burns lawyers, all to save on a replacement that costs them, nothing?

  • Fredco

    > I guess what they say is true. The sun even shines on a dog’s butthole every now and then, and on this day, I got myself a nice tan.

    This made me giggle.

  • James Benet

    Wow you are the man. I also got the same chip set on my ASUS but I was out of warranty so I have a doorstop now. Well done!

  • Eugene

    I’m pretty sure they went to these lengths to make sure a class action lawsuit didn’t follow, little did they know they would be beat single-handedly. I love their iOS products, but there seems to be a lot of meanness within the company at certain levels. Best of luck on collecting from Apple!

  • David O.

    In 2010 the screen of my 2008 MacBook Pro went blank. Took it to local Apple store in Pasadena, CA. Genius did quick diagnostic test, said it was a graphics card failure, that Apple knew about this problem, and that repair would be free. Plus, the machine was still covered under the extended Applecare I’d purchased. Then the genius took a very close look, found two tiny dents in the top and bottom casings, said that these would require repair, costing over $500.00, and that I could only get the free graphics card repair if I paid for the repair of the dents. I complained loudly, but he consulted his “team leader” and wouldn’t compromise. Fortunately, I found a local Apple Authorized store who honored Apple’s commitment and did the repair at no charge. At that store they later told me that they’d run into the same situation many times, with Apple finding flimsy excuses for not replacing the defective graphics cards for free.

  • James

    Reminds me when my boss’s 6 month old mac mini had a defective usb, which Apple initially said would require a motherboard replacement, but after 10 days when he went to pick it up they said they did not fix it and his warranty was void for having too much dust inside the machine. 6 months in a smoke/cat free house. I told him that the manufacturer controls whether dust can get into a machine (all the PC’s I assemble have air filters to avoid that) so Apple is responsible on whether dust can get inside and also that dust can’t cause a problem like that unless we are talking about years worth of accumulation and in the end IT IS NOT IN THEIR WARRANTY TERMS, but he said “apple said so, so there’s nothing to be done”. That’s what Apple expects from their users.

  • par88

    Sounds like Steve Jobs’ personality still pervades the company.

  • Steve

    I would love to see Apple’s response to this incident. Everyone should email Tim Cook directly and demand an explanation.

  • Derek

    Well, if they don’t pay, do the next best thing: Take the judgement to the Sheriff in Cupertino. They’ll take you to the Apple headquarters where you will be able to legally take anything equal to the value of your judgement. You may be able to land yourself some valuable Apple memorabilia to sell on eBay! (or at least that’s the advice my Dad gave me once)

  • Foo

    One word: Lien. Watch Apple fold like a book.

  • Ian

    If you do find an Apple Store that has crappy service like this, the easiest thing to do is just go to another Apple Store. I have never had any issues with the service at any of the stores in the Portland area. I dropped my iPod when it was out of warranty and it refused to turn on. They gave me a new one. My MBP battery stopped charging properly well over a year out of warranty. They gave me a new battery for free. Sometimes you do find a genius bar rep who is a tool. Just go to another genius bar. Most of the reps are good folks, in my experience.

  • SeymourB

    I’m not entirely surprised by both your treatment at the hands of, and the wasteful spending done by, Apple.

    See, a couple years ago I was out of work and interviewed at the local Apple Store for a Genius position. I could answer every technical question they threw at me, since I had nearly 20 years of Mac experience including time spent performing both component-level hardware repair (when their machines broke they gave them to me to fix, and most of the time I got them working again – including4 prototypes that used some mighty odd parts) & software technical support for a Mac developer. I’ve dealt with people who are literally so angry they’re swearing and cursing and calmed them down in short order, found the cause of their problem, turned them around into repeat customers. I think it’s because I genuinely listen and care about everyone I talk to, and that comes across in the course of the conversation, so they know they’re talking to someone who’s in their corner. But apparently all of this wasn’t enough, since I didn’t get the job.

    Friends who subsequently went to that same store discovered the Geniuses they had hired on were complete idiots who simply parroted whatever Apple told them to parrot and couldn’t troubleshoot their way out of a wet paper bag. Which is how I know it’s better to toe the company line than actually be good at your job if you want to work at Apple.

    Since that day I have taken great delight in helping others who went to the Genius bar, only to be told that what they want is impossible. Yet within a few minutes the two of us try something simple that magically makes the “impossible” possible. Apple could have had me in their corner… now I just make them look like idiots.

    • Bret

      You’ve been doing Mac computer repair for over 20 years and you wanted to work at the Genius bar? You may have been overqualified, but I’m guessing you’re just too old. You’d have to be about the same age as myself and as much as I love macs, I don’t aspire to work at a genius bar any more than Taco Mac. It’s a job for a new college graduate looking for a real job at best. It’s retail. In high school and college I worked at a record store giving advice on everything from classical to rap, but I knew little about music other than Motley Crue or maybe Led Zeppelin. But I’m pretty sure if a guy who had been a disc jockey or even a music history professor for the last 20 years had wanted a job there, I would’ve beaten him out of it because I was 18 and had hair past my shoulders and said “dude” way too much.

      In other new this whole court story is great. But the bigger a company gets the more ridiculously inefficient it gets and is forced to make stupid “that’s the way it is” rules. Yeah, they may have wasted money on a group of lawyers (probably under contract anyway) but overall they just can’t judge each case on it’s merits until brought to their attention in a big way as he rightfully did. Unless an issue can fight it’s way through the cracks to Tim Cook (or other powerful person) ‘s deck, then it just isn’t a big enough deal. I’m sure this case will gather steam and some sort of release will be made like the exploding iPod battery replacements, etc.

      Over all, they are continually ranked top amongst consumer satisfaction and build quality. Pick any company on the net and do a search for horror stories. So, while a great story, it’s pretty much par for the course. A smaller company might be easier to deal with, or they might not. Mom and Pop shops do all they can to not give you a dime back. Big box stores are so inefficient they’ll take nearly anything back without a receipt years after you bought it for no reason whatsoever. That’s why I’ll shop there all I can. They barely ask why you’re bringing something back.

      FWIW I don’t buy extended or applecare warranties of any kind. There’s a reason they sell them. They make money for the company, not you. Yes, someday I’ll wish I had bought one because something will break and it’ll cost me a grand. But I’ve saved thousands more not buying them all these years.

  • matt

    Sounds like you had the same model & cpu upgrade I paid extra for. MIne also failed & wouldnt boot due to the problem & so the “geniuses” told me similar: can’t boot so cant run the test, so can’t verify the GPU was at fault, and anyway I had the 2.6GHz upgrade so I wasn’t covered anyway. Needing the computer I had them replace the motherboard at my cost of ~$350. But I agree with you, it’s likely just a matter of time before it fails again.
    Glad it worked out for you after being willing to stand up to them.

  • Willem

    You did the right thing. I love Apple products but I can’t be blinded by it. A lot of sweat from a lot of people goes into each product and it doesn’t matter how much it shines, if the apple is rotten at the core it’s going to show in the end.

  • It’s cute that you didn’t expect a big company to lie.

    • Jay Marm

      “It’s cute that you didn’t expect a big company to lie.”

      ROFL!!

      Apple way beyond being too big to care.

      My theory is that once the customer-to-employee ratio is greater than 100:1 the company little by little stops giving a shit about the individual customer. Once they get to Apple’s scale individual customers just become a complete pain-in-the-ass.

  • katie

    literally read every word.

    well said

    makes me want to learn as much as I can about hardware, that’s for sure :/

  • Jason

    I would like to congratulate you on the decision. Most people would have given up but its people like you who take a stand, are the ones that make things happen. If more people did the right thing like yourself, this would be a much better nation. Nice work!

  • Dan

    I can’t help but wonder if Apple’s OTT reaction was because if it’s proven in court that that particular make & model of Macbook is defective then that opens the door to a lot more lawsuits?

  • N

    I feel dumb. I have an Early 2008 15″ Macbook Pro with the defective Nvidia 8600M GT GPU, out of warranty. My MBP died last week (black screen, startup drive noise but no chime). After a cursory Google search, I suspected it might be the Nvidia issue. So I took my MBP to the Apple Store, where I was informed that it was actually my logic board that had failed, not the GPU–but that Apple would replace the logic board for just $310+tax. It was only when I further researched the issue (after declining the $310 offer–had to mull it over) that I learned about the connection between the GPU and the logic board. To make a long story short, over the last week, I’ve been to the Apple Store three times and have called AppleCare twice. As in your case, they informed me that since my computer won’t boot, they couldn’t run the Nvidia test and therefore couldn’t cover the repair. After each meeting/call, I continued to research the issue (its magnitude is truly astonishing). This morning, I took my MBP for a third appointment at the Genius Bar, armed with new information and the mindset that I would not leave until they had acknowledged the defective GPU-logic board link and agreed to repair my MBP under the extended Nvidia warranty. I ended up speaking with a manager who (nicely) informed me that since my MBP has a 2.5GHz processor, the logic board failure could not possibly be due to the Nvidia issue. I responded that my MBP contains the Nvidia 8600M GT graphics card. He explained that the Nvidia issue was caused by the packaging, not the card itself, and my 2.5GHz MBP has a completely different logic board than the 2.2 or 2.4GHz MBPs–even though it’s an Early 2008 (non-Unibody) model. At first I was doubtful (why hadn’t the AppleCare reps mentioned this? at least three Apple employees had acknowledged that my MBP could have been covered by the Nvidia warranty had it been able to boot)–but eventually, I mostly believed him. So I resigned myself to probably having to pony up $310 for the logic board repair and was glad to have reached some kind of conclusion. I wasn’t happy that my $2000 “pro” computer had failed within 3.5 years, but at least it wasn’t due to a known defect that Apple refused to acknowledge was almost certainly the cause. Then my friend sent me the link to this post… and now I’m ANGRY. Angry that Apple is choosing to deny this clearly pervasive issue, angry that likely thousands of people have been made to pay for repairs that should have been covered, and angry that I was (apparently) flat-out lied to by an Apple Store manager. And I almost–would have–accepted his “explanation” had it not been for this timely post. I’m calling Apple tomorrow.

  • Tomás

    I have had a similar run-around with Apple. Or rather my wife has.

    Years ago she bought one of the first white macbooks. Within a week it had started to fail. A component would fail, she would contact Apple, they would take it in for repair. 13 times this happened, sometimes she would have no computer for a month at a time. The DVD drive, the screen, the keyboard, the casing, everything broke. I was mortified because I had been pushing her so strongly to go for a mac.

    They were so difficult to deal with. We dealt with an intermediary company that acted as an Apple wholesaler, and the guy who worked there was very upset about how shitty Apple were being.

    In the end, the machine failed again, and Apple said the warranty was out. Despite my wife having had the laptop in repair almost as much as she had it herself, Apple refused point blank to take it in for repair without billing us. Finally the guy who worked for the wholesaler fudged some paperwork and gave my wife one of the newer models free of charge. The whole thing left me feeling very upset with Apple. They make great gear but the company attitude is bullshit.

  • barry

    i hope you don’t use the money (if you get it) to buy another apple device…

  • Jeff

    You, one incident, is not the problem. It is the admission of liability for everyone else who bought the same system.

  • driftwoodlizard

    I imagine there are thousands of people out there with the same faulty board as yours, and with a negative ruling, it could open the door to a possible deluge of returns. That is why they spent so much to try and shut yours down.

    • frank

      But even if there was a deluge of returns, it would still cost Apple nothing, as NVIDIA would foot the bill.

      • Peter

        I doubt it is free.
        The local store owner or franchisee probably has to wear the postage both ways, plus the paperwork, and risk of new complaints and time taken to do the warranty.
        Now if it was the store you purchased it at, fair enough, or next door to the real repair place, it may be more doable.

        But if the store owner is charged for ‘repairs’ – once bitten they would be shy, especially if the service centre pulled the same techno bamboozle on the store owner.

  • jesse

    For what it’s worth, a friend of mine had a MBP that was starting to glitch out. The monitor would flicker and go dead, and it would overheat and shut down. It would refuse to boot about 70% of the time as well. It was a good year or two out of warranty, so I told her I’d take it to the apple store for her to see how much it would cost to have it repaired, assuming it’d be ~$600. If it was too expensive, then she was just going to buy a new one. (Nearest Apple store is 2 hours away, and I was headed up there that week anyway)

    I took it into the genius bar, and after looking at the serial number, the genius said “Ahh, I think I know the problem…this model had a bad nvidia graphics chip. Can you leave it here for a couple days so we can order the part and repair it?” I told them it wasn’t mine, so I gave them her number, they called her, and it was sorted out.

    And that was it. They fixed it, free of charge. Runs fine a year later, but she gave it to her husband and bought a new iMac. Apple didn’t even question why the chassis was dented and banged up (one of her kids dropped it on the hardwood floor)

    Not sure why they made it so difficult for you. That’s a real bummer. I’ve owned ~$20k in Apple gear, and I’ve always received great service when I needed it. Even when I was out of warranty, they often hooked me up…so I can’t relate to this, but I’m glad you followed through and won.

    Good luck with the rest.

  • Rowane

    Did the judge stipulate the terms of the payment from Apple…. when, where, how ? Cash, check, money order…….

    If it were my case, I would give them 30 days, then get my lawyer to send a certified demand letter, directly to Tim Cook, along with an interest calculation and a bill for your lawyer’s time also…

    If that doesnt get you paid, contact the judge and request he impose additional penalties against them….

    When it comes to MY money, homey don’t play dat !

  • jesse

    For what it’s worth, a friend of mine had a MBP that was starting to glitch out. The monitor would flicker and go dead, and it would overheat and shut down. It would refuse to boot about 70% of the time as well. It was a good year or two out of warranty, so I told her I’d take it to the apple store for her to see how much it would cost to have it repaired, assuming it’d be ~$600. If it was too expensive, then she was just going to buy a new one. (Nearest Apple store is 2 hours away, and I was headed up there that week anyway)

    I took it into the genius bar, and after looking at the serial number, the genius said “Ahh, I think I know the problem…this model had a bad nvidia graphics chip. Can you leave it here for a couple days so we can order the part and repair it?” I told them it wasn’t mine, so I gave them her number, they called her, and it was sorted out.

    And that was it. They fixed it, free of charge. Runs fine a year later, but she gave it to her husband and bought a new iMac. They didn’t even question why the chassis was dented and banged up (one of her kids dropped it on the hardwood floor)

    Not sure why they made it so difficult for you. That’s a real bummer. I’ve owned ~$20k in Apple gear, and I’ve always received great service when I needed it. Even when I was out of warranty, they often hooked me up…so I can’t relate to this, but I’m glad you followed through and won.

    Good luck with the rest.

  • Zav

    I STRONGLY agree that this is not the Apple we used to know and love. Simply trying to USE Lion when it first came out made me realize that Apple’s gone the “it’s my way or the highway” route and completely ignored the precedents that they defined over the PAST 12 YEARS with OS X and how it should be used.

    Add to that that there were no switches to turn off the new stuff if you found it not to your liking. The auto locking of files you haven’t used in 2 weeks, the auto quitting of applications if they have no docs open and you click away (Preview, TextEdit), all the new ridiculous animations, the hardcoded blocking of saving into the Library folder, the INSIPID bouncing scrollbar views, the desaturated icons that you can’t tell if they items they represent are enabled or disabled, the skinny gray scroll bars that on my 17 inch Mac are actually thinner than the side of a quarter.

    It completely boggles my mind why Apple fought to the end against you. It’s like there is some unspoken legal and sales principle that they must stick to above all logic, to prevent some (poorly thought out) precedent that no one will ever care about.

    I know a few people who used to be at Apple and they (and I) are pretty concerned that Apple’s lost its soul.

    I, for one, don’t want my Mac to be an iDevice. I want it to be a continuation of the Mac OS X experience I’ve grown to love over the past 12 years. Lion feels like a dumbed down and poorly mashed up version of iOS and Vista thrown onto what used to be a Mac interface, and it’s distressing.

    – Alex Zavatone

  • Joey

    That’s great ! You have done an excellent job, Slowly claps…

  • vwtick

    funny, I had the exact opposite experience. My 15″MBP stopped booting and I took it to my local Applecare place and they shipped it off to Apple. I had purchased Applecare with the MBP but that was 3.5 years ago so it was out of warranty. I fully expected my work to pay $400 for the repair (it’s a work laptop), but both the apple place and I were surprised when it came back with a new logic board, and a new LCD display and bezel and several new keys all for free.

    • mateu

      I would suspect that your model or problem was not on an APPL ‘watch list’ of problematic or complained about hardware?

      I still have a 27″ iMac with a weird yellow haze of pixels in the lower right hand corner that APPL techs and ‘genius’ bartenders were warned about.. to spin the story.. The firmware updates I got fixed plenty of stuff and diminished the urine-sque hue a tad.

      But I could care less.. I never look at that corner anyway… so my Trash can is a bit yellow.. meh.

      Abject disregard of a customer that gave you 4K bucks and made then go to court to settle it…. I’m not shocked a company would do that, even APPL, but it tarnishes the mission and vision set in 1984.

  • Alex

    BRA-FREAKING-VO

    I have found Apple to be like this also, spending more money to deny you recompense for their error than to simply say;

    ‘Crap, how bout a new model and we never make eye contact at the bar?’

    Instead, a ‘small’ Blogger has generated mass awareness of their failings and made a public error. I heard about this on Google+ but have seen it linked on Facebook, Empire Avenue and many forums.

    All stemming from one error they made?

  • skywalk

    im a apple technician, i repair mac all day all year, and i did that nvidia repair alot of times and yes everything in this articles is true even the part where if the motherboard fail to boot i cant replaced the logic board due to gpu fail. that is normal procedure, i refused tons of repair just for that. and its true that the board can fail but not the gpu. its easy to difference both case… if the board fail it wont boot, if the gpu fail, it will boot but no image or distorted image. what apple did was common. but to me something you pay 4000$ and fail after 1 year is innacceptable. thats why i use PC, if a hardware fail i replace it but if i would have amac and a hardware part would fail, im screwed the part is like x5 more pricy then a normal pc part. a macbook air cost 1000$ but to replaced the mother board its 1100$ lol? to replaced the ssd its 900$? shit is totally overpriced. but its apple

    • Genius

      At the technical side, i can agree with u. There are different issues when a MacBook Pro with NVIDIA 8600GT fails to boot.
      Like u said, there were normaly no video or dissorted video when it’s the GPU. But when nothing happens, then the defekt is
      some other component on the Logicboard. And NVIDIA isn’t paying for everything but only verified Boards with defektive GPU, so it does cost Apple, when they replace a Logicboard which is failing because of other issues. Therefore there is no coverage when these happens and u have to pay for repair. The Job of the Genius at the Bar is too verify exact these point
      in the moment, u gave him ur machine to check. So when Ur machine doesn’t start with a boot chime at least, than ur Mac is dead, but not because of the GPU.

      Second is that U can’t compare standard Desktop components with Mobile or integrated Systems like iMac. Parts for these machines aren’t standardized and cost u as PC the very much same price like Apple replacements. And they aren’t available for free buying either, except u are a Dealer or a technical support business. So these comparison is nonsense.

  • Robert Loomans

    Huh.

    This surreal: I recently took my wife’s similarly disabled, out of warranty MacBook Pro in to Apple to get a quote for repair… and they replaced the logic board for free.

    Why the difference in treatment?

  • blueboar

    Well done, Rex.

    But wow, 52 comments on this post already? Geeze, I think there were only 4-5 on the one with the pic of the naked chick walking in Seattle.

    This tells me 2 things:

    1) You struck a real chord and people have strong feelings about the evil of Apple and other big corporations.

    2) That Apple fanboi’s care more about their magical machines than naked women.

  • Dustin

    This is such a great read. I would love to hear a logical explanation from just about anyone as to why a company would rather go to court instead of standing behind their product. You would think Apple would have drawn the line a lot sooner.

    • Neil

      This post has been very helpful already. I am at the stage where I have instructed solicitors and I’m preparing my case for court in advance of them contacting Apple. My problems are the same as seemingly thousands of other folk. I have an early 2007 iMac 24″ with a NVIDIA 7600GT … diagnosed as having a fault in the logic board by Apple engineers. My task now is to build a body of evidence and since I’m not a technician find technicians willing to write ‘expert opinions’ on the likely hood that this results from a manufacturing flaw. My issues began three months after extended warranty (age of machine then 3.25 years). Although outside warranty we have a law in Scotland that allows us to pursue a manufacturer up to five years after discovering the fault; irrespective of the age of the machine – the key question is ‘was the fault there when the machine was bought?.’ Apple technicians of course run and hide, even telling me that if I ask them ‘ yes it’s a fault’, if Apple ask them ‘it’s the age of the machine’. There is a vast array of blogs, and commentaries, and editorials about the issue but what would be very helpful is to have statements of opinion from technicians.

  • Brad

    If I had to guess the answer to the “Why?” question, it’s because (ironically) they don’t like the bad publicity that dissenting bloggers can cause. They wanted to punish you. They knew you’d write about it whether you won or not, and they probably wanted you to be an example, talking about how you didn’t stand a chance in that courtroom because of their legal might. They don’t want anyone else to try.

  • muyuu

    Fair play, mate. Congratulations and thanks for taking the effort.

    I wish other companies made proper laptops running *nix at a decent standard.

  • BigOldGeek

    If they don’t pay, foreclose on the local Apple Store like this Florida homeowner did to BoA – http://www.digtriad.com/news/watercooler/article/178031/176/Florida-Homeowner-Forecloses-On-Bank-Of-America

  • Nemanja Cosovic

    Congratulations on the win. I’m disappointed in Apple and the way they were treating you.

  • Zach

    Once a court rules on something, even a small claims court, it creates what’s called a judicial precedent. This is important because judges look at how other judges have ruled in past cases for guidance, and although in this case it isn’t a binding precedent, it’s still a precedent. What judges do before a case, even a small claims case, is they often will look at their docket, see what cases they have, then look for similar cases in Lexis Nexus (a legal database). If they find one that’s almost exactly the same, they now have an easy answer for what to do… It takes less time to look this up than to hear the case, that’s more time they could be playing golf.

    Apple doesn’t want this to happen because it means that thousands of people who were screwed, just like you, can now take their cases to small claims court, and even submit into evidence a copy of YOUR ruling for the judge to consider. It was actually really stupid of them not to settle for the full amount plus a non-disclosure agreement on your part because that only costs them $4000 (although you may have rejected that as the non-disclosure would have surly been a condition).

  • Nuno Cruz

    Great post and congratulations for your victory.

  • yesow

    Pixie dust and purple elephant dung, pretty much sums it up. Bravo David son of Jesse, bravo.

  • Chris Gamble

    So sorry you had to waste so much time fighting for your rights as a consumer. That really sucks, even though it makes a great story.

  • ryan

    Way to stick it to ‘em! My question to Seattle Rex, if you know so much about computers, why did you buy an Apple computer in the first place? It’s just an overpriced good looking PC for suckers. My custom PC’s are 1/3 the cost of a mac and outlast any of my wife’s macs. I hope you did not buy another apple and go with a home made linux box that will blow the doors off any apple product.

  • Tom

    I’ve had two incidents with apple and in both cases I got everything for free. One time they sent me a new 17″ MBP and the other time it was a free repair of the logic board. I’ve had two batteries bulge to the point where the trackpad does not work but I haven’t called them about it.

    I’m sort of surprised by this story.

  • Levi Figueira

    This is so sad… My experience with Apple support has been nothing short of stellar. Like you, I have a 17” MBP with the 8600M GT. One Friday long ago, while still in warranty, I put the laptop to sleep at work and when I got home and opened the lid, the fans would come on but it wouldn’t boot. I called Apple and they set an appointment with a “Genie” at the closest Apple Store (still 1h away from where I’m at). Since this happened Friday at the end of the day, I went in on Saturday afternoon. They looked at it, asked me if I had backups (which I did) and told me the machine had to be shipped to Texas, for repair, since they don’t keep those logic boards around at the Store. They also told me that it wouldn’t ship out until Monday (no pickups on weekends). Long story short, by Wednesday at 8am, when I got to the office, I had my fixed laptop dropped at the office by a Fedex truck: it had been overnighted to the warehouse on Monday, got there Tuesday morning, and then fixed and shipped out within hours. As you can think, I was blown away by the quality of their support. Having worked in IT for many years, including worked at a computer hardware shop for some time, I had dealt with many manufactures. “2 weeks” was the standard timeframe which, more often than not, turned into “Several weeks”, with little to no explanation.

    On the iPhone front, my wife’s iPhone 4 had a defective power button (worked randomly). We took it in and they replaced it for a new one on the spot. A few months later, she dropped it and cracked it. We went in and the guy said that they “don’t have to do this” but they’d replace it anyway. He saw that it had been replaced before but quickly noticed it had nothing to do with user error so he proceeded with the replacement.

    I could go on and on about great stories of Apple Support that I experienced personally. What happen to you makes me angry and mad because I know that Apple, as a company, is better than that. In your case, this has gone to the courtroom but, I’d encourage other people to email Tim Cook. I know it sounds silly but I’m pretty sure your story would make things be carried out a little different…

    Happy for you but not for the “victory”: it’s sad that you had to go that far, especially when I have been treated differently for the same problem. Here’s to a better luck in your future purchases… :)

    Cheers.

  • Tim

    Fair play! Shame it has to come to this, but well done for sticking with it.

  • John Gordon

    Thank you. You did every American consumer a favor. If you’re ever in MSP send me a note and I’ll buy you a beverage.

  • Will

    nice write-up.

    AAPL probably didn’t want a class-action lawsuit. people who are more devious than you would have claimed damages due to the hardware failing at a critical time for their work.

    you should repost this on another site – yours seems to not load due to high traffic!

    probably will get something out of this esp. now that it’s viral…

  • Tom T

    Congrats on getting justice. But, don’t ignore that most people get great service from Apple. It isn’t just a myth that blinds the faithful. If most people had the problems you did, there wouldn’t be a customer base. Both my wife and I have had great service from them and a number of comments here reveal the same. (Note: I’m a long time PC user who turned to Mac for the family 4 years ago because I was tired of maintaining the PCs). I wish my parents had Macs, because I spend a lot of time trying to keep their stuff running.

    Yet, Apple is just another huge corporation and putting them in their place when necessary is a good thing. I’m glad you had the commitment to take them to task. It’s similar to car manufacturers that weigh the risk of lawsuits verses a cheap part. When they make bad choices, make them pay. And, if they really do start screwing their customer base, then they will fall. (Unless deemed too big to fail :) )

  • Sawyer Pangborn

    I had a similar experience with Apple rejecting my repair claim for my Macbook Pro with the same graphics card in it. I had decided to take the machine to Simply Mac, an Apple-authorized repair and sales place. The only Apple Store in Utah at the time was always busy, and Genius Bar appointments could only be made 3 days in advance and weren’t usually kept on time. Simply Mac took the machine, ran some tests, and confirmed that the problem was in fact the faulty GPU and said they’d do the repair for free. They did all of this within maybe 45 minutes. I was delighted, as I had read how costly the repair could be to pay out of your own pocket.

    An hour or so later, Simply Mac called me and informed me that Apple had rejected my repair claim. Simply Mac runs their repairs through the same system Apple does, as they’re authorized and certified by Apple. They told me to call the AppleCare number to fight it, knowing very well that Apple was going to fight this every step of the way.

    The first representative I reached on the AppleCare line didn’t have any idea what I was talking about, in regards to the lawsuit and promised repair, so she escalated it to her manager. I informed him that I knew about the lawsuit (from some friends who also had their machines repaired) and that I had read about it on the Apple site (http://support.apple.com/kb/TS2377). He told me they had no knowledge of any kind of replacement/repair program for the affected machines. I attempted to read the URL to him over the phone and he must have made a mistake typing it in (or I spoke it incorrectly) and he denied again that Apple was repairing those machines. He pointed out that my MacBook Pro was out of warranty and out of AppleCare, and informed me that I would have to pay for it myself. On top of that, he insinuated that I was lying about the lawsuit and repair promises made by Apple. After passionately disagreeing with his statement and explaining to him how to get to the Apple knowledge article, he quickly changed his story. He approved the repair case, and gave me his personal contact information. I’ve since lost his info, but wish I had retained it. I contacted SimplyMac and they went ahead with the repair, now that I had Apple’s approval. They called me a few days later and I picked up my MacBook Pro – functioning perfectly.

    While I did manage to get my machine repaired, the whole experience has left a nasty taste in my mouth. I don’t trust Apple’s customer support, and especially not AppleCare – having been accused of trying to trick Apple into repairing a machine that was out of warranty (but still covered by the lawsuit). I’m also disappointed in Apple’s retail customer support experience. I’ve had my MacBook Pro repaired several times by the Genius Bar, a few times a fault of my own, but some of design or manufacturing problems. With the popularity of Apple products continuing to grow, their Genius Bar has quickly become overwhelmed. Appointments have to be made days in advance – leaving you with a dead or useless machine for almost a week, and are rarely kept on time. I usually showed up 15 minutes before my appointment and checked in. Despite my efforts to be on time and follow procedure, there always seemed to be people who would end up throwing a fit and getting pushed ahead of me in the queue – even without an appointment.

    Until Apple revamps their retail and phone customer support, I’ll be avoiding them as much as possible and sticking to authorized third-party centers like SimplyMac, who truly care about their customers. I’ll also happily pay a little more for my Apple products at SimplyMac to support the local stores who continue to impress me with their exceptional level of customer support.

  • Someone

    Don’t get me wrong here. Apple was a bunch of asshats in this case, but you had a few things flat-out wrong. This leapt out at me:

    “I interjected and explained to the judge that if Apple replaced only the logic board, it would simply be another logic board with a defective GPU, therefore, such a solution would not be acceptable.”

    Pure, 100% BS. Why the hell would Apple be sticking defective GPUs BACK into the machines? By the time Nvidia and manufacturers had figured out bumpgate and this whole mess got started, you’d better believe that Apple stocked up on replacement boards that had GPUs with the problem solved. Replacing defective parts with defective parts only gets even more customers pissed off at you. Not even remotely true. At worst, you get a refurbished board with a completely replaced GPU that does not have the bumpgate fault.

    Also, Apple runs that diagnostic to determine if a Macbook Pro is affected by a failed GPU. In these cases, the machines still boot, but you’ll never get any video out of them. If your Macbook Pro wasn’t booting AT ALL, then there’s really no way to determine if your logic board failed due to the GPU or another issue. Yeah, it probably was the GPU, but there was no way to really know, and you especially could not outright claim that it was 100% the GPU in a court of law if the Macbook Pro was not even making it past the POST in the first place. There would be no way of knowing for sure without a very detailed inspection of that board (and probably disassembly of it) and testing of individual components with specialized hardware. THAT is why Apple has the “no boot, no repair” policy. There is simply no way to be sure without a very extensive procedure, one that they definitely cannot perform in store. Nvidia only covers the board if it turns out that they indeed failed due to the faulty GPU. If not, then Apple foots the bill.

  • U. Zombie

    I am glad to read this and glad you got your justice. I am ashamed to admit I work on the very 2007-early 2008 MacbookPro models (15-17″) that had the nvidia issue. We are instructed to run a test (GPT) that validates the gpu failure, then gives a code to allow warranty (Quality program) coverage.
    If we don’t have that code, we can’t do the repair (and trust me, there are times when we are 100% sure that the issue is nVidia gpu but if the LED lights solid, but fans don’t come up…we can’t help. Seen this ALOT on the 2008 models… observed fan spin then stop. But sorry, past 3 year warranty and no code to validate).
    Now I do know that Apple has been generous in the past (if you, the user were to call support and escalate up to get a Customer Satisfaction code). And as long as there is no sign of damage (it could be mailed in and covered) it usually is a win-win for both Apple and customer.
    Your case sounds like someone, somewhere just didn’t want to help. Thanks for details and sticking with it!

  • Charles

    Rex appears I have the same MacBook Pro with 2.6GHz as you (2008). I’ve had 2 logic board/gpu replacements and a few other repairs via appplecare with no problem.

    Just trying to understand, if Apple would have repaired would you have agreed or was it always a point that you wanted your money back?

  • mofo

    Congrats on your win, although your computer does technically fall outside the scope of the repair extension program. Logic board failure is a different issue from video card failure. Like another poster said, if it doesn’t boot at all, it’s the logic board; if it boots and has no video or distorted video, it’s the video card. It seems the two guys Apple hired weren’t able to make that distinction. It’s also true that in http://support.apple.com/kb/TS2377, it only names the 15″ 2.4/2.2GHz models, the 15″ Early 2008 model, and the 17″ 2.4GHz model. No other models were found by Apple to be affected by the NVIDIA packaging defect which resulted in abnormally high failure rates. Yes, the 2.6GHz model is considered a different model by Apple, such that if they found it to be defective, they would have mentioned it.

    The key point of the REP is that the failure rates were abnormally high. Any piece of hardware is going to fail eventually. That doesn’t make the hardware design or the whole computer defective. Now, you have every right to question why the 2.6GHz model wasn’t also covered by the recall, and to ask Apple to show what kind of evidence it found to determine which models had high failure rates and which didn’t. If they can’t or won’t share that information, then you fully deserve to win.

    It’s also true that many people have had different treatment (free repairs) for the same issue. Sometimes you get a sympathetic Genius or AppleCare agent. Not everybody at Apple is heartless.

    Congrats again. I admire your courage. It’s good to see the consumer beat the big corporation.

  • StanFlouride

    I still love my Mac PowerBook but I have no illusions about the company being anything but just another evil corporation.

  • Elisabeth

    They must have known this was a class action lawsuit in the making. That is the only explanation why they fought so hard to make sure you did not win your case. Because now you’ve established precedent. Good for you! (I write this on my MacBook, of course….)

  • Rob

    Good man. I would’ve done exactly the same thing had it’d been me.

    I’m not a fan of Apple at all and am not surprised by their behavior in this case. Many of their principles as a company are in complete opposition to my own and it’s unbelievable how many are duped into paying for their overpriced toys.

  • John DeWees

    Good luck to you. You are right. They are wrong. Actually their behavior is a form of evil- (but nobody died)- yet soul killing. Imagine you are one of the lawyers and your wife asks you what you did that day. How do you respond without showering after?

  • Jonathan Bayer

    Thank you for letting us know.

    My experience with Apple service was a bit different. I had purchased a Macbook Pro (the one before the all aluminum case), and within a year and a half had the keyboard go bad, and then three major failures (the keyboard didn’t count as a major failure). The first failure was the bluetooth not working. The second failure was a totally dead system, took the local store 3 1/2 weeks to fix. They kept replacing little bits, obviously didn’t have any idea what to do. Luckily I had Applecare so it didn’t cost me anything, but the list of things replaced included the hard disk. Yet I was able to tell that the original hard disk was still in the computer (same serial number, etc). The third failure was in the video, and after that they replaced it with a new system, this one with the aluminum case. Knock on wood, this system is still working after 3+ years.

  • Prufrock

    Tragic. So sorry you had to fight through this.

    It is in sharp contrast to my experience with the exact same issue, where the replacement was handled expeditiously and without hassle. That and similar experiences (motherboards replaced out of warranty, etc) have made me more inclined to buy Apple machines.

    Way back when at the beginning of Jobs 2.0, I had a DOA iMac (Bondi blue) that took some effort to get repaired/replaced. It was a combination of awkward policy programming and intransigent support staff that caused the problem.

    So to me this looks like particularly asinine support staff who blocked things because they didn’t want to look wrong, and were relieved when Legal took over. And Legal — well, lawyers are paid to represent the client, and tell the lies that the client asks them to tell.

    So yeah… legal ethics.

  • Peter Erskine

    Well done, guy. Apple won’t make any sales to my household, that’s for sure.

  • marvin

    apple, has become (or are we just realizing) a very evil corporation.
    the arrogance, greed, attitude of “being better” demonstrated is despicable.

    professionally,
    i formally told people that apple was a stable platform,
    the primary issue is that apple will dictate how you use your computer
    (sadly,for many, that is needed)
    and that you can not use an apple for anything unique or not “apple” approved.

    currently, as a result of many support (or should i say non-support?) issues,
    i still state the former with the additional comment
    that support is unpredictable and unreliable at best.

    from my perspective,
    this is a definite degradation of a company and product;
    having worked with and on the predecessors of apple (& ibm) pc’s,
    watching these products enter the market,
    and their evolution / de-evolution (we are devo!)

    for instance:
    the bell & howell phillipsburg division did some pretty incredible stuff,
    especially for the late 70’s early 80′ with the apple 2e:
    performed a sort which could control the “chutes” for letters presorted by zip code,
    the codes were input from a “optical” input arrangement (albeit primitive),
    and could pre-sort up to fifty thousand letters a day (yup 50,000!)

    now apple (as have others) follow the model
    doctors and north american corporations have been using for years:
    they hold the “quarter” is so close they can not see the dollar!

  • Stephen

    Class action is not the best answer. As plaintiffs in a class-action, you aren’t going to get close to what you can win in Small Claims court.

    It’s just that the average Apple user may not be technically savvy enough to present a case like this, which is why a lot of people go the class-action route.

  • Rob

    I have a meeting with Apple on Saturday over the exact same issue. My MBP’s 8600M has failed. I’m hoping for the best but expecting the worst. You excellent blog confirms that I’m probably in for a disappointing meeting.

  • Dave Stokes

    Please let us know WHEN Apple does pay you. I know of other who have sued manufacturers, won the case, and then had to go back to court trying to get liens or payment.

    Congrats BTW!

  • John Levy

    I wonder how Steve Jobs will deal with this? I’ll bet he would fire those 2 idiots + whoever denied your claim. It’s a wast of Apple’s time and money considering how much those 2 guys get paid by the hour + the company’s general counsel’s time.

  • Warren Rust

    Congratulations on your victory & wish you the best in collecting. I have the opposite experience, fortunate for me. Apple replaced the logic board in my MBP 15″ when the OEM one rendered it unbootable. Diagnostics and replacement was free to me and without hassle. Sorry that yours was inexplicably messy.

  • Micah

    Great entry here! Thanks for sharing. The Apple mentality has really, I mean REALLY changed over the years and they should be ashamed of themselves. Woz has got to be so disappointed in the company he help start and pioneer this industry.
    We have such a shortage of American companies who are still respected and have great products to offer. And while Apple on the whole has great products, it would be nice to see them stand behind them and supports what they sell to the consumer. I know so many non-American companies that have such great support. For Apple to sell what they do at the prices they charge, they should be bending over backwards for their customers.
    I really hope this changes for the better but I fear it may not. I think I heard that Apple’s stocke fell 10% in just the last week. hmmm…

  • Bruce Boretsky

    I say squeeze the rotten apple until the worm finally sticks his well fed head out to see what all the ruckus is about. Looking at the disturbed development of Apple culture, it is no wonder they have a bully mindset. The place was run by a bully for years and the playground is strewn with corporate PTSD.

  • ManekiNeko

    A quick Google search shows the following on how to enforce a Small Claims judgment:

    “Obtain a Writ of Execution (sometimes called Writ of Attachment or Writ of Garnishment) from the court in order to start the collection process. Simply take the document sent by the court that grants your judgment to the county clerk’s office and fill out the proper form for your state.

    Head to the sheriff’s or marshal’s office with your writ and ask for a seizure of assets form. You must know as many details as possible about the assets you wish to be seized. For bank accounts, you only need to know which bank the debtor uses. To garnish wages, you must know his or her employer”

    Since there are Apple Stores all over, I would think that finding assets for the Sheriff to seize would be trivial. It was also suggested in the same online article to wait until the appeal period is over, as trying to enforce the judgment can trigger the other party to file an appeal. In fact, I am surprised that Apple hasn’t done so already given their reported attitude.

    Read more: How to Enforce a Small Claims Judgment | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_2040751_enforce-small-claims-judgment.html#ixzz1sQ6EqaaI

  • Asten R

    While this is pretty atrocious treatment, certainly, it’s also par for the course for Apple.

    Apple lies and cheats about all kinds of things

    * Claims that they invented things that clearly they didn’t
    * Patents things that have ample prior art, then sues over it
    * Working conditions at their subcontractors
    * Knowingly infringing IP, and shipping infringing product, THEN seeking a solution.

    Apple doesn’t give a crap about its customers. I’m not sure there’s any evidence to suggest otherwise. It’s a marketing and legal company.

    I’m glad you can replace your machine. I’d hope you chose not to deal with this company again when doing it.

  • jack r

    Good for you and thanks for sharing this. Too bad many will not be reading it because their apple eyes are blinded by smugness but at least I know people like you still exist that won’t take it up the ass from big corporations like apple or at&t. Yeah I don’t capitalize companies I do not respect.
    Steve Jobs was a sham and yes, I’ll concede he was brilliant at it.

  • Paul E. Jones

    Wow, Apple is becoming “evil”. I had a very similar issue with Allstate (insurance company). My wife was hit in the side by an Allstate driver, causing a couple thousand dollars in damage. The officer ticketed the other driver for making an improper turn. At first Allstate was willing to pay and offered a rental car. However, a day or two after we had the rental, we got a call from the rental company saying Allstate has refused to continue paying for it. I knew this was going to be a problem.

    I could have handed the problem to my insurance company, but since I knew this was a clear “open and shut” case, I did not. I worked directly with Allstate and it was clear that court was the only solution. They would not budge from their position, going to great length to paint my wife as the person at fault. I had never been to court before, so I viewed that as an educational opportunity.

    We went to court. Allstate forced its client to go to court. She was a young lady who did not earn much money, but was nonetheless forced to take off from work at the demand of Allstate. They needed a witness, you see. Allstate appeared in court through its lawyer. The lawyer, like the ones from Apple, lied to the court. I was stunned. As one example, the Allstate lawyer said my wife would not talk to Allstate’s claims people about the details of what happened and that she refused to provide a statement, etc. Well, she actually did (even against the wishes of my own insurance company), but it did not stop him from telling that lie. More importantly, whether we did or did not provide a statement to Allstate does not matter to a court of law. The law does not require that we say a word to Allstate before appearing in court.

    Anyway, he argued from every angle he could, even suggesting my wife had less driving experience than his very young client. The number of pointless, baseless, false, and irrelevant statements that spewed from his mouth was astounding to me.

    In the end, we won. I expected we would, as the other driver was clearly at fault. What I learned, though, was that Allstate would spend more than $2,000 to fight for $2,000. And all we were asking for was actual damages, not an award for anything more than the costs out of our pocket. I think most companies will do this, because most people will back down. I am guessing that the law of averages is in Allstate’s favor, as is Apple’s. Based on the feedback you got that most people paid for the repairs, that seems to be the case.

    So, yeah.. I think we can now lump Allstate and Apple into the same bucket. They should be very proud of themselves, huh?

  • kamakazi

    That is interesting. I had a MacBook Pro on my last job, same story, except mine actually would boot. I had to remotely control it, because not only was the display black, but the machine no longer even knew it had a graphic controller in it. I sent it back just before the extended warrranty period expired (Don’t ask about my similar Dell story).

    It shipped on their dime from NY to Texas, left on Tuesday, was back on Thursday, and while they had it the replaced the top skin because it was scratched.

    I am not an Apple fanboi, but I was really and truly amazed at the quick turnaround, and the above and beyond service.

    I read stories like this one and I can only conclude that Apple is now large enough that it has regional differences.

    Now in my case it was a laptop purchased by a K-12 school, so it may have been processed through an entirely different warranty chain, but my experiences with Apple service have all been positive.

    However, to offset that, my experiences with HP and Dell in business support situations have also been good. My experiences with Dell and HP in individual support have not been so good, sometimes horrible. I have never dealt with Apple support as an individual so I don’t have a valid reference for comparison there.

  • Joseph Murphy

    Man you gave either to dump that background image or put the text in a color other then black. Putting black text on a black and gray background is less then brilliant. The article is good but the web layout sucks. One always should use contrasting colors to make the information stand out. I suggest using a yellow text. But blue would also work well. Read a couple books on web design and you will see what I am talking about. When I went to read your blog post I had to highlight the text to make it readable. And it’s very easy to change the color of the text.

    And it’s a surprise to you that Apple is a bunch of scum bags?

  • Proxy Comment

    Same here, I paid 800$ CAD to replace the motherboard of my Santa Rosa 2.2Ghz Macbook Pro which itself was a full replacement issued by Apple because the previous one had failed 3 months after purchase.

    AND I paid for extended Apple Care, the second motherboard failed 3 months after that warranty ended.

    I totally want my 800$ CAD back.

    david.

  • Proxy Comment

    Seems to me that the cost of a $4000 laptop is significantly less than the $500 an hour for each of those lawyers and the time in court. (Never mind all the other secondary expenses like travel, per diem, customer service hours, postage, filing fees, spiffy ties, shoe shines and half-melty ice cream before court).

    • Knows a Lawyer

      Nope. When lawyers go to court, they usually charge for the WHOLE day, including travel and wait time. I’m married to a lawyer, and this is very common practice.

  • Proxy Comment

    BTW, I think they have 30 days to pay.

    Contact the local sheriff, and arrange to close down one of their stores on the 31st day for collections. Make sure to have the media on hand.

    I’ll be watching your blog to see what happens.

    Good luck!

    Jonathan B***

  • Proxy Comment

    I read this with interest. The attorney – did they come from Seattle? Usually when I crash into this, I talk with Customer Relations at Apple. I am also aware if they know something is wrong and receive 3 complaints, they usually replace the defective computer with a new one. I was surprised that Apple would charge you for something that Nivia pays for and costs Apple nothing. I just had a unique experience where Subaru dealer claimed I had a Serpentine cable failing at a cost of $160. When I went to my local car repair, they called me over and told me that this cable does not exist in my car. So for doing absolutely nothing, I would have paid $160. So congrats on your win.

    David Krafchick

  • Proxy Comment

    Not sure if this went in:

    “Thank you for letting us know.

    My experience with Apple service was a bit different. I had purchased a Macbook Pro (the one before the all aluminum case), and within a year and a half had the keyboard go bad, and then three major failures (the keyboard didn’t count as a major failure). The first failure was the bluetooth not working. The second failure was a totally dead system, took the local store 3 1/2 weeks to fix. They kept replacing little bits, obviously didn’t have any idea what to do. Luckily I had Applecare so it didn’t cost me anything, but the list of things replaced included the hard disk. Yet I was able to tell that the original hard disk was still in the computer (same serial number, etc). The third failure was in the video, and after that they replaced it with a new system, this one with the aluminum case. Knock on wood, this system is still working after 3+ years.”

    Jonathan B***

  • Proxy Comment

    Rex,

    I know you have been getting a flood of these emails so I will keep
    this short and to the point.

    A while ago I was faced with the EXACT same claim from apple after the
    logic board had been replaced under apple care once, upon the MacBook
    doing the same kernel panic and not booting I was all too familiar
    with the problem so I immediately contacted apple. I was told to pack
    up and send the MacBook off, no problem, so off it went and only 2
    days later I get a call, this is when the fun begins. I was first told
    I was one day out of apple care, after reviewing my history with appl
    they decided to honor it(probably due to shipping time and such) I
    thanked them and hung up. 2 hours later I get a phone call from a
    nervous sounding tech. “it’s on it’s way back to you mr Peluso” is
    what he says. “great!” I replied thank you for the unbelievably fast
    service!! He than chimes in with “we could not complete the repair due
    to accidental damage” puzzled I replied “did someone drop it or
    something? Is it a new one coming?” “no mr Peluso there was water
    damage to the MacBook which is not covered” long story short I asked
    for any pictures or period the MacBook was ever in fact wet, since I
    rarely find myself out in the rain surfing the Internet…with no
    proof the MacBook arrived back at my house with a note simply stating
    if I wanted it fixed it would be $1,400…I politely declined, sat the
    MacBook in a corner and have since watched as it collects dust.

    Thank you for being someone who did not sit back like myself and give
    up. Thank you for at least showing a dent in the impeccable armor they
    call apple. I do not dislike apple as a product but was appalled by
    their lack of customer care. I wish you the best and I hope you see
    your compensation prior to the collapse of skynet, aka apple.

    ~Daniel P.

  • Proxy Comment

    I have a 2008 17 inch MacBook Pro – no AppleCare – spent about $3K for it.

    It started having screen issues intermittently in late 2011 so it was way out of warranty. I brought it in, said it had a screen issue and they said that they’d replace the motherboard. They didn’t even look at the machine. This has the 2.4 Ghz CPU – I didn’t know that there was a restriction for CPU upgrades. My kids had a total of three motherboard replacements for this issues and it appears that they received good GPUs as 2009 GPUs seem to not fail after a year, even with intensive gaming.

    Apple has nVidia problems again on the 330M (2010 MacBook Pros). Genius bar performance is all over the place. There is a support article and a diagnostic but your quality of service is dependent on the Genius Bar person that you talk to.

    BTW, I have 900 shares of Apple stock.

    I hope you get your cash.

    regards,
    michael

  • Proxy Comment

    I tried adding this comment, but it’s not clear it went through:

    Wow, Apple is becoming “evil”. I had a very similar issue with Allstate (insurance company). My wife was hit in the side by an Allstate driver, causing a couple thousand dollars in damage. The officer ticketed the other driver for making an improper turn. At first Allstate was willing to pay and offered a rental car. However, a day or two after we had the rental, we got a call from the rental company saying Allstate has refused to continue paying for it. I knew this was going to be a problem.

    I could have handed the problem to my insurance company, but since I knew this was a clear “open and shut” case, I did not. I worked directly with Allstate and it was clear that court was the only solution. They would not budge from their position, going to great length to paint my wife as the person at fault. I had never been to court before, so I viewed that as an educational opportunity.

    We went to court. Allstate forced its client to go to court. She was a young lady who did not earn much money, but was nonetheless forced to take off from work at the demand of Allstate. They needed a witness, you see. Allstate appeared in court through its lawyer. The lawyer, like the ones from Apple, lied to the court. I was stunned. As one example, the Allstate lawyer said my wife would not talk to Allstate’s claims people about the details of what happened and that she refused to provide a statement, etc. Well, she actually did (even against the wishes of my own insurance company), but it did not stop him from telling that lie. More importantly, whether we did or did not provide a statement to Allstate does not matter to a court of law. The law does not require that we say a word to Allstate before appearing in court.

    Anyway, he argued from every angle he could, even suggesting my wife had less driving experience than his very young client. The number of pointless, baseless, false, and irrelevant statements that spewed from his mouth was astounding to me.

    In the end, we won. I expected we would, as the other driver was clearly at fault. What I learned, though, was that Allstate would spend more than $2,000 to fight for $2,000. And all we were asking for was actual damages, not an award for anything more than the costs out of our pocket. I think most companies will do this, because most people will back down. I am guessing that the law of averages is in Allstate’s favor, as is Apple’s. Based on the feedback you got that most people paid for the repairs, that seems to be the case.

    So, yeah.. I think we can now lump Allstate and Apple into the same bucket. They should be very proud of themselves, huh?

    Paul

  • Joe

    I’ve been saying it for years. And I hate to say I told you so – Apple is and always will be an evil company. It’s not an android thing. It’s not a windows/mac thing. Apple wants you to think that, but that’s because they’re evil. End of story.

  • Gary Levin MD

    Question Did they pay ? If they didn’t pay your claim, you can take your judgment to the court and file a Lien against Apple’s Property. They also might be held in contempt of court. As far as a class action suit you will need a class and they will more vigorously defend themselves since a judgement against him and class action suit will take precedent.

    • Laird

      Thanks for sharing the story, and so sorry you had to go through that hell and you are still not back to par yet.

      My stepson had a 2007 MBP with the same issue described. And in 2010, after AppleCare had ended, the nVidia chip failed. My stepson was ready to buy a new on on eBay, but I said it was worth the drive to the Genius Bar. The Apple Store he went to in Maryland took the machine and had it repaired in a week. It continues to run to this day, and while it is not in active service, it is my stepson’s media streaming device for Netflix etc. (He got my 2010 MBP.) The cost was $0.

      Also, Apple replaced the battery on that machine too because it didn’t show it was holding enough charge.

      I wonder how much of the experiences discussed on this thread are related to which Apple Store and which Genius Bar employee you get and how much is being mandated by Cupertino.

      Again thanks for sharing, and I’m sorry you had to go through so much time and effort for what was an easy solution for Apple to do.

      • Kiljoy

        Well said, It would seem that as much as Apple store are made to be the same, they are not. Where I go even after my iPad been out of warranty they took a look at it went in the back and fixed what seem to be a stuck button it really just depends who you get. Some people want to help and others just don’t. I wonder if this has something to do with how busy a store is or when you actually take things, I tend to take stuff early in the morning soon after they open if I can when I have a problem and that seems to have the more cheerful people who will talk with you as well as work in getting a resolution.

        That said it reminds me of a friend who is an attorney that likes to say lawyers get bored sitting around big Corp.

    • Robert DeSaeger

      This is very sad that Apple would go to such length to one of its own customers. It would have cost far less to giving you a new computer. And take the other one and sell it as a refurbished computer.
      Why would Apple do this, with its vast amount of cash on hand.
      SHAMEFUL of Apple.
      I am a devote Apple customer, and sadly I do not have any other choices, except to to go another god awful OS, which I have no intention of doing.
      Wake up Apple, step up to the plate.
      robert

  • Alan Browne

    Good story, love “underdog over titan” stories – esp. when the underdog wins.

    I suggest that you print up your web page and mail it, signature-reply-receipt, to Mr. Cook. (Note, the mail room will sign it, not Mr. Cook).

    Not that he or his coterie will do anything about it (buy they may), but so that they’ll know what idiots they look like in court trying to weasel out of something inconsequential – and something that you had full rights to. I’d guess the dynamic duo that showed up their cost Apple in excess of $25K (costs, preparation, travel and hotel, etc.) before even getting to the judgement. But your posting will cost Apple much, much more.

    Note: I am a big fan of Apple since I decided that Vista was a dog’s breakfast and I wasn’t going there. We have 3 Macs here now. No complaints – other that when my HD died during the ext. warranty period, Apple here said they’d take up to a week to fix it. So I just bought a disk and did it myself. Took less than an hour (the iMac takes time to get in and out of). Suffice it to say that Apple support, here at least, is crap.

    I ordered a widget from them at one point (a ‘refurbished’ Airport Express). It did not work well with my WiFi router so I returned it. Apple picked up the shipping cost for the return and their was no re-stocking fee. Pretty good, I think.

    Apple is an arrogant company. This shows in their marketing. And somehow Apple fanbois are nuts about them and find all manner of excuses for them.

    I doubt I’ll ever get anything else other than Macs though. The experience is smooth. It’s really how an OS ought to be designed instead of the shifting, complex hodgepodge of Windows. Other than the HD dying on the model above, I’ve had no issues.

    Also, the cost of upgrading the OS was a mere $35 last time – for all three machines. (With Windows it would have been many hundreds).

    I also have an iPhone 4. Great device, should go for many years.

    Good luck and thanks for a good report.

  • Steve

    The WORST thing you can do is file a class action lawsuit against them.

    The BEST Thing you can do is equip those scores of people with the correct information to beat Apple in court, legally, the exact way that you did.

    And them have them all file civil suits. exactly like you did. It is clear that your issue required NO legal advice to win. Why hand this over to a law firm that will win millions of dollars, while the people who actually got lied to will get 1/10th what the computer is worth.

  • Proxy Comment

    Hey there,

    I had the same problem with my Macbook Pro, but it was within the 3 year time period so they did wind up replacing it. However, the AppleCare rep suggested I bring it down to the new Apple store just down the block; okay, fine, that makes sense. So I drop it off on a Friday morning with the people there saying it should only be a few days to repair; I have no reason to suspect it would take any longer, as in the past I’ve used the overnight FedEx method to their depot and it comes back in 4 days all told.

    I give them a call on Monday asking for any updates: they don’t have the part in stock, so they order the part and will repair it when the part comes in. Uh oh, I know how this song goes. I call back the day after: still no part, they will “call me when it’s fixed”. Right. Friday I call “the repair hasn’t been completed, we’ll call you”. Next Tuesday “the part came in, so we’ll call you when it’s done”. Wednesday: “not fixed yet”. Thursday: “let me check. I’ll have to call you back”. Friday: “The repair person isn’t in right now, but we’ll call you when it’s done”. I drop in the Monday afternoon the next week and it’s been fixed, but no calls to let me know.

    10 business days for a business (IT department) laptop, oh hell no. I sold the repaired laptop on eBay, and bought myself a Lenovo laptop with next day on-site repair.

    -Paul B.

  • Ron

    Awesome – No offense but I hope they continue to fight you and spend millions with the same results. Apple definitely needs to focus on their customers as much as their products.

  • Ray

    Wow, just wow. I’m not really shocked, it’s as you said they’ve been litigating everyone. It just amazes me that they’d show up in court and flat out lie (and not even accept the mediation). This is why I’m on a life long ban of every buying a product from Apple or a subsidiary of Apple. I’m also surprised after all of this that you are willing to buy yet another Mac Book Pro. Please don’t give them anymore money, it’s as you said before they’re product isn’t really any better than anyone else and you can get a computer at half the price.

    Good luck going forward, you have my support 100%. This makes me think I should do something similar with my Sony Vaio (which has an M8600GT) but I’d have to do some research because my extended warranty is expired.

  • Justin

    I had a very similar issue with an iBook (one of the G3 snow-white plastic ones with the 13″ screen). In this case, the processor got too hot and the logic board needed replacing.

    They unveiled a similar replacement program but declined to replace mine because they said it was my fault the LED for the display didn’t work. This particular model suffered from two display problems:

    1. The wire used was very thin.
    2. The edges of the hinges, which the wire ran through, were sharp and abraded the wire every time the display was opened or closed.

    I was told that I would have to pay for a display fix in order to get the logic board fixed. I was perfectly happy using an external monitor, as I mainly used the computer as a desktop replacement… no dice. I either chose to spend the money to fix the display (which IMO was a manufacturing defect) or I couldn’t take advantage of the program.

    I bought an Intel-based machine for $100 more than it would’ve cost me to fix the display ($500 to fix the display). I didn’t think to sue them at the time, but bravo!

  • Doug

    I think the whole issue is that Apple don’t want to replace every defective Mac Book Pro, therefore Apple will fight every case, on the basis that each customer win means a magnitude of other replacement cases…

  • Claire

    It’s interesting, because I think my best friend and I had the exact same issue. We both got a “this is a very rare thing and doesn’t happen often” spiel despite both of us having the exact same problem (and we do not live near each other). Luckily they fixed both of our computers with no issue, but I think that was at the beginning of the larger problem coming to light.

    Of course, my main beef with fruit computing is the way they are treating the professional market. The reason we have an Apple is because we work in professional video and 99% of our clients work(ed) in FinalCut. The professional art market is what kept Apple going before the ipod. Everyone thought you had to have an Apple to use Adobe programs. Maybe in the 90s. We ran homebuilt PCs until we started editing in FCP. And now with iMoviePro aka FCX, we have Apple flipping a huge bird to their most devoted market. Everyone I know in the industry is furious. Luckily Adobe and Avid have stepped up with some great deals to switch from FCP. I’m sure Apple isn’t going to miss the minuscule market percentage of pro software sales, but the whole reason to get Apple electronics is because they all work together. If you have to run a PC to do your work, why pay extra for the Apple mp3 player or phone?

    I really hope their hubris bites them in the butt. And rock on taking them to court! I’m glad you won!

  • Mal

    I’m not sure if this has been mentioned before (I apologize if it has, I haven’t trolled through all 100 comments :)), but when an MBP does not boot, it is not necessarily caused by a defective GPU. There could be any number of failure on the logic board that would cause it to fail. Hence why Apple does usually not cover them.

    I guess what I’m saying is, can you *prove* its not booting because of a defective GPU or are you guessing. I know from experience that the only reason Apple so not cover boards that are not booting under the program is because you cannot *prove* that it is the GPU that is defective. On system that do boot, diagnostics can prove or disprove this.

    That being said, they seem to have taken this case to the extreme, and good on you for persevering. I am perplexed about the original rebuttal by the Apple reps though, as the public page for the program clearly states that it covers certain *generations* of machines, and makes no mention of clock speed, as well as specifically mentioning the 8600M GPU.

    Congrats on your win.

    • Seattle Rex Seattle Rex

      The death of the machine was preceded by artifacts and distorted video that got progressively worse until the machine failed. The GPU was bad.

      Furthermore, when you stick someone with a GPU that is known to be bad, the recipient must enjoy some benefit of the doubt . You can’t say “here is a bad chip, we’ll replace it if it goes bad, but only if you can 100%, unequivocally, beyond absolutely any doubt prove that it was the GPU, and only the GPU that had a problem.”

      Were that the case, you would preclude 99% of users from ever being able to take advantage of the warranty.

      Had Apple not wanted to deal with these “trust issues”, then the boards should have been recalled to remove all doubt. Sticking the consumer with a defective product, as well as an impossible burden of proof, is not an acceptable solution.

      Apple avoided the pain of a recall with this program by convincing users that they would make good on the chips if they failed. The customers who were good enough to accept this are entitled to a reasonably generous benefit of the doubt when those machines fail, especially since they were entitled to non-defective GPU’s at the time of purchase.

  • Mark

    Apple’s thoughts: Why repair a 3 year old $4000 computer, for free? Tell the customer it is outdated anyway, the magic elephant dung has run out and it needs replacement. Result is selling another $4000 computer. They just failed to factor in actual technical users not falling for it.

  • jsd

    This is so bizarre. I purchased a 15″ MBP, same vintage as yours, off ebay a few years ago. A year after purchase it failed due to the Nvidia card issue. I took it to the local Apple Store, the Genius plugged a special test drive into it, it told him that the Nvidia card was the problem. He printed out a service invoice for me on the spot. $1750 for logic board replacement, -$1750 because it was nvidia’s fault. I had it back the next day. It still works fine.

    I’m sorry you had a bad experience. Apple has been very good to me on this and other issues.

    • Jeff

      Yea, same here, with a friend of mine who moved down to Costa Rica from Arizona. Stopped by the local Apple distributor’s service center and they had one look at the serial # and replaced the logic board for free. Took a couple weeks to get the logic board brought down to Central America. Could be different with international distributors who want to get paid to do the replacement work.

  • Sam P

    You’ll be displeased to know this policy has stretched as far away as New Zealand. I too was refused service or replacement on my faulty unit.

  • John

    Really, job well done!! Sounds like you respectfully, intelligently, and solidly stood your ground AND have told your story for many of us to hear and share with each other.

    If more people did what you’ve done, there would be a lot less screwing over and the market would be better for all honest customers.

    Thank you for what you’ve done, and I hope that people reading here will do their part and also respectfully, intelligently, and solidly stand their ground, and also speak up for others.

  • Steveo031986

    Even though I’m sorry for your frustration, I loved the article. It was very well written and am glad you had your day in court. If you were leaning to the side of linux, I might suggest giving System76 a look. Windows finally put me over the edge and I bought a laptop from them and have been completely satisfied. http://www.System76.com

  • Henry

    Wow i read this post, and i loved it, Glad finally someone had the guts to sue the company suing others for patents. I just hope when your new Mac comes in, it wont have a defective chip, Windows still rules and SPECS DO MATTER, but MACS DONT MATTER IN SPECS

  • Dee

    Way to go! Someone truly stood up against this injustice! very proud of your achievement!

  • James

    To collect, first you ask Apple to send a check. If they refuse, then you hire the sheriff to seize their property, which you then are able to sell. Seize on the closest Apple Store. You will get a check within the hour.

  • Dashawn

    Wow! keep on pushing!! This article made me smile!!

  • Nick

    I suspect the reason for the “refuse at all costs” is the magic word “refund”. They don’t mind sucking it up and replacing parts – that’s a small cost compared to refunding everyone who has one of those machines. And once a precedent is set…

  • Ben

    Interestingly, my early 2008 MBP was cursed by the same issue two weeks ago. I took it to an Apple store here in Australia and although it wasn’t booting the replaced the logicboard including 8600M GT and had the laptop back to me a couple of days later. It really depends on who you go to in the store and whether they are nice or not. Apple needs to have a more uniform service policy. However, I must say that although my laptop wasn’t booting I knew it to be the nvidia issue and I was willing to take the matter further if they wouldn’t fix the problem.

    One question, Will you be using the money from Apple to buy another Apple MBP?

  • William M

    If Apple refuses to pay, one common solution is something called a writ of execution. This is a fun little procedure by which the court authorizes the sheriff to go to the debtor’s place of business and just start taking stuff until they have enough to satisfy the debt. In most places, all this requires is a certified copy of the judgement – the local court’s self-help desk (if they have one) would be able to clue you in to your local procedures.

  • MaureenC

    Rex is my hero…but he already knows that :)

    Outstanding article Rex. It’s no surprise to me that the judge knew who was more qualified. Congrats again.

  • Nick Lowe

    I had the same issue with my 2007 vintage Santa Rosa MacBook Pro. The 8600M GPU failed on it just after 3 years. It first exhibited artefacts to the screen, then quickly became unbootable.

    Thankfully, I had some forethought at the time and had extensively documented the artefacts photographically in a way that clearly identified it as being my machine.

    Apple initially tried declined the repair at the Genius Bar as they were unable to run their test software. But, after strongly pleading my case to the manager of the store with evidence, he exercised, in his own words, ‘discretion’ and it was taken away and the logic board was replaced.

    It was completely non-customer friendly; had I not been technically inclined, I strongly suspect I would have got nowhere and would have had to pay for a repair or have a non-functional machine.

    I was not impressed.

  • Diane

    Count me in the class action :) When my macbook first died, they quoted me 900 – wtf? I am a developer and so I bought a new laptop while it was being repaired. I dug up the info on the Nvideo – they knocked the fee down to 300. So true about Apple turning into the very thing it claims its not. And what the the heck has iTunes turned into? I hope someone comes along with a better mouse trap and knocks them off the post. And I have been a loyal fan since the 90s. Sheesh.

  • Bill T

    I’ve never understood the attraction of Apple, especially now. The high-end Android devices are just as sleek (and you can change the battery). I have a Nexus.

    I also have a slim Thinkpad running Windows 8. I have a 3 year-old Ipod which I no longer use, with the advent of Smartphones.

  • Giovanni

    Your case only went that further because otherwise lawyers wouldn’t have the need to exist. Apple sucks big time but it probably is outsourcing it all to a law agency and those guys are going to milk all they can.

  • PlunderBunny

    I have the same model MacBook Pro, and my GPU has been replaced twice. On both occasions, there was no charge and no hassle. My computer is now just-over four years old – outside the extended warranty for that part. The New Zealand consumer guarantees act (seriously, one of the best pieces of legislation ever) says that a product sold should be fit for it’s intended purpose, and in the case of computers, this has been shown to be 5 years. If my MacBook Pro’s GPU fails in the next year, I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to still claim a free repair. Outside 5 years, I’m sure I’ve got no hope.

  • Chris

    I hope that when you get your settlement you do the smart thing and buy a Windows based laptop, a docking station, 2 external monitors and then take the extra $2500+ dollars on go on a nice long vacation!

    Outside of my iPod I proudly own ZERO Apple product. They are monopolistic, anti-competitive, arrogant and bullies. I tried once to by an airport express but it would not work in my home. I was told the only tech support I could access was to bring it to a store with a ‘Genius Bar’. I took it to the store and got my money back. I mean really, how does making something work in a store on different hardware make it work in my home on my hardware.

    I hope they don’t pay so you can use the foreclosure option…that was “Genius”!

    Glad your hard word paid off.

  • Lynn Curry

    I had 3 days left, on my Apple Care, when my Logic Board went, the tech on the phone told me to get it to the Apple store immediately, which I did, they also cleaned the fan, and some more maintenance on a Desktop. I was more than happy with the way I was treated.

  • Tang

    Good for you dude. As to why they went through all that trouble? They do it because they can.

    I’ve learned it also depends on who you ask for help. Some jerks (I refuse to use the term genius) are intent on sending you packing with zilch. Others are intent on making you happy.

  • Leanne

    I’m someone who used to be an Apple fan, but have since moved back to Windows and don’t regret it, mainly because of the quasi-religious (not even sure if “quasi” is appropriate) fanaticism surrounding their products. I can’t see myself buying any overpriced Apple items in the immediate future.

    Something is very, very rotten in the state of Denmark,and I refuse to support a company with their bad “kill all competition/anti-democratic attitude.

    Congratulations on your success, and yes, I think a class action is called for.

  • Jake

    I have to say it this has given me a renewed faith in our legal system, but I am more thrilled that you won than anything else. I have been watching Apple for the past several years; keeping an eye on the data about their computers, and I feel that their computers have advanced very little when compared to other companies. Sure the parts are newer and more advanced but they aren’t as cutting edge as Apple wants its customers to think they are. Also I have to agree it seems like Apple is attacking anything it sees as a threat to the company. I hate to say it but when I heard about the recent malware release for Macs I was kinda thrilled, I felt that it was a good step towards breaking the false image the Apple has created of its self.

    Oh and not to be picky but its Big Brother not Big Bully, I’m not saying you didn’t know that, just pointing that out. Very good reference though.

  • anonymous

    I am having a similar, yet larger problem, as I have received Cochlear Implants from a company with a 10 year warranty. I had my first failure in 2006 or 7, when that was failing it started Trigeminal neuralgia (TGN)if anyone had told me then that was a possibility from getting a CI, I would have perhaps picked a different company.

    My right side causes TGN, which is also called Suicide disease for the pain is so unrelenting and there is no cure. This wouldn’t be so bad, if the left CI was functional without pain.

    The company says their CI magnets are removable and replaceable, but ever since I have had mine taken out for an MRI I cannot wear the left side without pain. The magnet isn’t in the little pocket it belongs in, or at least that is what it feels like. The new doctor I have wants to remove the left CI, let it heal and put it back in, except insurance will not pay for the surgery, leaving me with 2 CI’s that cause unrelenting pain and malfunction.

    I wish I could stand and scream to others to pick a company that stands behind their product. I would never had a second AB CI put in, if I had known then, what I know now.

    Their 10 year warranty isn’t worth a thing, when a single mom cannot afford to pay the surgeon fees to repair what they have done wrong.

    I think of all the little children being implanted today and want to warn their parents, to pick very carefully, choose a company that follows the FDA and doesn’t lie to their customers.

    Kudos to you for your taking Apple to court, it isn’t fun to do any lawsuit, especially one against a large company. Where is accountability? What can a person do when left with no other options?

    I have lost years in surgery, had unnecessary surgery due to this goof up. To want to live and hear without pain, isn’t asking too much? What good is a warranty if it doesn’t cover the whole thing?

    Kudos to you-

  • Rob

    You aren’t wrong that they seem to be spending a much greater sum of money for the smaller ‘win’.

    Many corporate lawyers are in the “hundreds of dollars per hour” billable range. Even if these were in-house legal council, their time isn’t cheap. At least as expensive as a new computer.

    Good for you, sticking to your guns.

  • Nicholas

    I just saw this article shared by one of my friends on G+ and I wanted to let you know that I had the same, and I mean the exact same problem happen to my MBP. And I ended up paying the 310 to get it sent off and repaired, which I did after my attempts to get it fixed for free after I too found the same material pertaining to the faulty logic boards. I hope you’ll keep updating this blog, because I want to get back at them for wasting my time and money to fix a problem that cost them nothing.

  • Cam

    When it was time to buy a laptop i bought a dell Xps.

    When i bought a tablet it was microsoft

    when i bought a desktop i built it myself (clone)

    i just bought the best MP3/video player in the the world yes its a Cowon J3

    Will i ever buy Apple or anything related to Apple???

    NEVER! Apple dosent care for the little people but i do and if we little people stand togheter we will always prevail.

    Gas companies – Your NEXT!!! We the people who pay pay pay and pay are tired of getting robbed.

    Rex way to go! I will never ever buy CRapple ever!

  • Ken

    Well done, sir. Well done.

  • shrek

    Huh, I wonder why I’ve been rolling my own computers for over 20 years…

  • Richard

    Nicely played sir, nice to see justice prevailing :)

    Would you be willing to expand on the exact settlement, doing so would be more educational – and perhaps inspirational – for those looking to understand the legal system and how it may be used to achieve justice against corporate malfeasance and bullying.

  • Tom W

    I, too, can attest to Apple’s completely random responses to warranty claims in their retail stores!

    I’ve experienced both the very WORST and very BEST with my Apple purchases over the years.

    The WORST had to be when I pre-ordered one of the first aluminum Macbook Pros (original Core Duo 15″ model). I had to wait about a month for its arrival (mailed direct from China!), only to open the box and find it was completely dead on arrival! I called Apple’s 800 number and to their credit, they did get a postage paid return box to my doorstep by the next morning to ship it back in — but I had to wait 3 more weeks for the replacement unit to arrive. After that, it was fine for a while — but the bluetooth suddenly went out on it and the case hinges became loose for some reason (with only light and careful use!). Again, I had to ship it back for warranty repair and all was well again when I got it back. BUT, not long after that? I was notified by mail of a voluntary battery recall, since some of the batteries were exploding or failing to charge. I took advantage of the program, which required I mail back my (seemingly good) battery. The new replacement battery they sent me? DOA!! “Well, this stinks — but I’m sure I can just swap it at my local Apple store for a good one.” I thought. Nope! The Apple store flat out refused to even discuss it with me, since I hadn’t first scheduled a “Genius bar appointment” for it! (Seriously?! You were going to make me waste my gas and time to come back again, just to ask you if you have an extra battery you can swap me!!??) So, grudgingly, I scheduled the appointment (for later that same evening), and came back later. As soon as I asked the Genius, I was told, “Oh, no… sorry. We don’t have any of those batteries in stock. You’ll need to call the toll free number to get one from Apple direct.” (Argh!! Nobody could have just TOLD me that the first time!?)

    That whole fiasco nearly made me swear off Apple products, but I really did like OS X and my previous Apple gear … so I gave them the benefit of the doubt.

    That leads up to a more recent example of them doing the RIGHT thing. I purchased a 13″ Macbook Air at the local Micro Center store as a gift for my wife — but upon bringing it home, found the on-board video was defective. It kept booting to a solid orange or blue (or black) screen, or only worked for 5 minutes or so before it froze up. I knew Micro Center had sold me their last one in stock, so I tried my local Apple store rather than going back to them. Despite not even having bought it from their store, they handed me a brand new replacement unit, as soon as I was able to duplicate the issue for them.

  • chakkerz

    I agree, something in Apple’s thinking is wrong, and the whole guided cage approach to OS X that they are currently on is upsetting me, yet compared to windows it is still superior. …and Linux, as much as it pains me, is no picnic especially on a laptop. Sure it works, but if I’m spending the money a high end laptop costs then I want it to work 100%.

    My experience with my non booting 8600M GT afflicted MBP was much more positive. I had my computer returned to me in working order in under five days at no cost to me. Sure, using a Dell with XP probably aged me more than 5 days, and I was still in my extended warranty period, but any repair for my wife or myself has always been positive, but then I’ve not dealt with Apple directly, but a reseller.

    Irrespective, I hope Apple re embrace their older ways and support their historically loyal customers.

  • moldor

    Bravo Rex. I just hope you can collect. It wouldn’t surprise me if they appealed.

    While the consumer laws are different here in Australia I have had my fair share of run-ins with Apple over the years, and it does take some desk banking and threats of public legal action to get things done.

    Example: Any cellphone that is supplied as part of a contract of 24 months is legally deemed to be under warranty for the entire period. I’m on iPhone #4 now, the Mrs is on #2. Apple fight us every time. The local Apple store knows me so well now the techs just throw their hands up and say “Hell, give him what he wants”.

    Wish I could get my 17″ Powerbook fixed though – well-known screen line problem, 2.5 years out of warranty (so 3.5 years old) I had to go to the news media to force them to fix it, and now it';s gone again.

  • Carlos

    I’m an Apple guy (former tech support, so not a usual bamboozled Apple user), and I still think it’s sick that Apple did this. Good on you for not putting up with that nonsense.

    Funny thing though: despite not having AppleCare, Apple recently did a $300 repair on my out of warranty MacBook for free. I wonder if it was just that store or it had something to do with this case…

  • Mr. D

    Rex, I tip my hat to you sir. If you shatter this illusion of apple as a perfect company, then there’s a chance to take back computer literacy.

  • StockHolder

    I must congratulate you on your victory. You are a very brave (or foolish man) to stand up against Apple. I hope you get paid soon.

    As a stock holder please do not repeat this.

  • Steve B

    Apple make computers for idiots, everyone knows that, that’s why they are called idiots.

    You pay for what you get. You get what you pay for.

  • David Juliano

    I can tell you why this all came about. Apple is the devil. Apple and their products are the devil incarnate. I hope you take your money and never buy another apple product again. This is exactly why their marketshare is faltering and they will die a miserable death.

  • zfactor

    Bravo!
    Experienced same issue. 2 weeks ago. Mac Book Pro – 2007 Dec dop. System would not boot up. Apple Authorised Service Center said logic board must be replaced.

    Called up Apple Care. They initially resisted. Out of warranty… blah, blah, blah. I told them that there is a lot on the internet about this issue and persisted. Finally got a call yesterday that Apple would make an exception in this case and replace the board foc.

    Still uneasy. What if it fails again?

  • Dave

    I’m just going to throw a couple of hints your way. I don’t know the law in your state … and what I’m saying is based on my experience with Canadian law, so take it all with a few grains of salt, but I’d be surprised if some of these avenues weren’t available to you.

    Once they don’t pay for some time, you can normally get the court to do a few things for you. Interestingly, you normally get your “costs” for doing these things paid by them as well. One easy one: if you can find out where the corporate bank accounts are held, the court should be able to give you an order that you can file with their bank — which basically gives you the money.

    Also, again, I don’t know U.S. law, but I don’t believe that a publicly traded corporation can defer paying a judgement. You may be able to file your claim with the S.E.C. or it’s ilk.

    Also, and this is an amusing one, if you can find 2 or 3 other debtors … especially those with judgements, you can petition the corporation into bankruptcy. In some jurisdictions, this can be accomplished by a single debtor with a judgement (vs. several debtors with normal debts). One obvious way for the company to avoid being bankrupt is to pay. I seem to recall that you’d have to guarantee the fees of the receiver, but as long as apple isn’t really bankrupt, that chip shouldn’t be called in.

    A more complex way to get your money is to have the court to issue a writ to the sheriff to seize property totaling the value of your claim (again, you get your claim + costs of the sheriff) … if the mac stores are corporately owned, you may be able to get the sheriff to seize you a new computer. Just a thought.

    Another amusing method is “garnishment” … whereby you get the court to order someone who owes Apple money to pay you instead.

    In many jurisdictions, you also have a right to a debtor examination … where you get to ask them to list their bank accounts and assets and people who owe them money.

    Really, your courthouse should have a guide to collecting. The rule about not being able to collect from recalcitrant debtor is mainly to do with persons or fly-by-night companies.

  • Ian

    This happened to me too – on the other hand, after the fourth logic board, they needed only a little prodding to offer me a new laptop, model year 2009. I wish I could have held out until the first of the Core i5 machines, but it died when it died.

    They even volunteered to give me a prorated refund of my AppleCare.

    There was one bad apple, (if you’ll pardon the pun) the obstructionist manager of the Millennia apple store. At that point I escalated my tech support call (continued in store) from the officially-does-not-exist third tier, Customer Care, to that person’s boss, who (judging by behavior) was empowered to give orders to the manager of Apple’s flagship store.

    What I’m burning to know right now is what exactly you did different.

    For others experiencing similar problems, I recommend the steps outlined by the Consumerist here: http://consumerist.com/2006/10/get-applecare-executive-customer-service.html

  • Adam

    Wow, this was a great read. I have two of these machines sitting in my closet right now waiting for some justice.

  • mateu

    I’m glad you are going to fight this as far as you can. I wish more people would. APPL is no different than any other corporation, but for some reason gets a ‘PASS’. No one should treat their customers like this.

    There are brilliant and passionate people at Apple, Microsoft, Google, IBM, etc.. But when their projects finally reach a loyal customer, trickling through so many levels of utter bullshit the true spirit, intention of the product is destroyed.

    Hardware / software is difficult stuff to do right. If a company makes a promise, they have to honour it. But I don’t expect any corporation to legitimately do that.. Their bean counters get paid more than their product managers and their engineers, and hold more sway.

    Those two lawyers probably work for a middle management layer of legal counsel (or even contracted on a retainer with no other ties) at APPL who report to the Customer dis-Satsifaction Mitigation Department that has quarterly meetings with the COO who sets arbitrary crappe quotas using their unlimited budget…. Meaning.. NO ONE CARES

    No real person who should have cared even heard about this. Certainly not an engineer, as your story aptly proves.

    Best of luck.. Keep up the good fight. Maybe set up a donation site if people want to help.. Find a lawyer with balls to do a class action suit

  • mateu

    I’m glad you are going to fight this as far as you can. I wish more people would. APPL is no different than any other corporation, but for some reason gets a ‘PASS’. No one should treat their customers like this.

    There are brilliant and passionate people at Apple, Microsoft, Google, IBM, etc.. But when their projects finally reach a loyal customer, trickling through so many levels of utter bullshit the true spirit, intention of the product is destroyed.

    Hardware / software is difficult stuff to do right. If a company makes a promise, they have to honour it. But I don’t expect any corporation to legitimately do that.. Their bean counters get paid more than their product managers and their engineers, and hold more sway.

    Those two lawyers probably work for a middle management layer of legal counsel (or even contracted on a retainer with no other ties) at APPL who report to the Customer dis-Satsifaction Mitigation Department that has quarterly meetings with the COO who sets arbitrary crappe quotas using their unlimited budget…. Meaning.. NO ONE CARES

    No real person who should have cared even heard about this. Certainly not an engineer, as your story aptly proves.

    Best of luck.. Keep up the good fight. Maybe set up a donation site if people want to help.. Find a lawyer with balls to do a class action suit.

    ps.. I apologise if I’m posting twice.. I got a blank response page after clicking submit

  • Adam

    Wow, this was a great read! I have two of these machines with the same problem, sitting in my closet waiting for justice. Hopefully something can be done.

  • Varghese

    great work Rex…you shd be part of the legal team :)

  • Allie

    I used to be an Apple. Now I’m a PC.

    If Apple tries to avoid paying out, do what that nice couple in Florida did to Bank of America: foreclose.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/06/06/137002727/sweet-justice-a-florida-couple-forecloses-on-bank-of-america

  • ue

    Finally somebody that did something about the Apple “we have no customers, only enemies, and we are always right” policy. Hopefully this will cost Apple a lot more than the cost of their lawyers and a new laptop for this guy.

  • Ben

    If I were wearing my hat, I would take it off to you, sir. Good job!

  • Eblu

    Have you heard about MBPs’ hard drives failing/clicking just after one year? I got an early 2011 one and the hard drive failed…went to Apple (said they could only swap out the drive with charge of course as I was 1 month overdue on my 1-year warranty; but can’t recover the data)…so I went to a data recovery company for a quote and of course it costs more to pay for recovering the data than the actual MBP itself. Ridiculous! How is the quality so bad for a 4 figured laptop?

    Mind you I’ve had a 2006 MBP that was used for 5 years without any problems. So I’m wondering if other people have been experiencing the same thing (i.e. defective drives?)

  • Robin

    Why would a company go to court rather than replace this product at very little or no cost to the company?

    It’s very simple. For every Rex who goes to court (and wins! congrats!), 99 other suckers suck up the bullshit arguments Apple gives them… And buy another Mac or pay exorbitant repair costs.

    A simple question of cost/benefit, or economic utility if you will – the profit of 99 people buying new stuff from Apple far outweighs the costs of one smart, determined person who gets his money back from Apple.

    They’ve been doing it and they’ll keep doing it as long as the benefits outweigh the costs. I bet there’s a whole drawer full of cost/benefit scenarios somewhere in Cupertino.

    Still – yay for Rex!

  • Anonymous Coward

    Thank you for the article. It was very interesting piece.

    I can only think that everybody, who cares at all, should seriously go with your route and start a full-on boycott against Apple.

  • Hugues

    Hello.

    Bravo, fantastic fight, fantastic outcome. I hope the Apple employees, board, and shareholders are reading this. This is a disgrace for this company.

  • nx

    If I was Apple, I’d have a staff just for posting positive Apple experiences on every anti-apple thread.

  • Bob Smith

    Hoisted on their own petard. I think The Great One said it best. “How sweet it is”!

    Congtats Rex.

  • James Sutherland

    I’ve been very disappointed with Apple’s support in the past too. My first MBP had one of the faulty batteries in the recall program – but getting a replacement still required persuasion (the online form didn’t accept refurb serials; the guy on the phone wanted me to take the laptop to a service place 100 miles away for diagnosis, rather than ship a new battery!). The power supply cord frayed and eventually caught fire – known design fault, Apple US apparently DO now replace those automatically (even out of warranty), but Apple UK seem to operate to less helpful standards. Oh, the Superdrive failed, but with no Apple Stores in Scotland at the time it wasn’t worth even attempting to get that fixed.

    Then I replaced it with a newer 17″ MBP (pre unibody). That superdrive failed; an Apple Store had opened 50 miles away, so in I went. A week to order the part … fair enough … then I would have to leave the laptop with them for a week for it to be fitted. Forget it: the travel alone would cost more than buying an external drive instead, even if I could afford to be without my work computer for a week! That power cord frayed too. Replacement refused, “damage not failure”, despite Apple’s admissions and policy elsewhere.

    MBP 3: 17″ unibody. Superdrive actually still works, power cord (one year old, with 3 year Apple”Care”) failed (stuck pins). Apple Store describe that as “damage not failure” hence, like the known fraying problem, not covered.

    With their track record, somehow I doubt there will be an MBP 4. I really like OS X, but as long as it’s tied to such shoddy hardware and lousy non-support it’s not really a viable option.

  • carsch

    My brother and I both bought computers of the kind that were subject to the recall. Mine never had issues but my brother’s did and he had the logic board and graphics card replaced under the recall.

    I was surprised Apple showed up. Sometimes companies just let things go to a default judgement when the cost of the judgement is less than the cost of sending the attorneys. You must have riled them up a bit. In terms of collecting, if they don’t pay over a certain amount of time, you can get a lien on/foreclose on Apple property in your area. I would not be surprised if they just paid though as fighting the judgement is more expensive than just paying up.

  • Mark V

    I used to be a Tier II tech working directly for Apple before I became disabled in late 2010. Sadly I have to agree that you are correct in your comment that something is unwell at the company. During the last few months I was able to work, there were many changes sent down to us by upper management; changes that directly affected how we performed our jobs as not only technicians, but as customer service. It was during this time that Steve started letting go of the reigns of day to day business, but I can’t be totally sure that was the cause.

    I can tell you though that when I started working at Applecare, one of the things that stuck in my mind was something our first manager told us. He said that “While the customer is not always right, you as Tier II agents have to balance right vs. having a happy customer.” He continued with a description of exchanging a laptop that had been serviced multiple times, “For instance, lets say you have a customer that has had a Macbook serviced 3 times in the past year for the same issue. Further, that computer is now out of coverage. Apple would be right in saying that there is nothing further they can do without charging for the repair, but is that going to give us a customer that will buy more Apple products or is it going to give us an ex-customer that will not buy anything from us?” We all answered that it would cause the customer to forgo buying from Apple in the future. He also told us at this time that due to the fact that Apple refurbishes the unit and resells it, plus charges any vendors for malfunctioning parts, Apple actually makes money on a system swap nine times out of ten.

    Our team took this to heart and would always look out for instances when we could make the customer happy, even if they technically were not right according to the letter of the warranty. Of course, these types of actions are why Applecare won many consecutive customer service rewards. But near the end of my time, things started to change. We would continually get new notices of limits we had to adhere to. I used to be able to, on my own discretion, give replacement systems, software, free items, or even discounted service. We were told that now it required Manager approval, approval that usually was not given. We used to be able to offer, up to a $149.00 limit, items from the online store to salve upset customers. This too was changed to a much lower amount and it also required approval.

    New managers were rotated in so that we couldn’t get a ‘friendly ear’ on our efforts to reward our customers with great support. My personal manager, who had led his team to the highest call quality scores and customer satisfaction scores for all of our section for month after month (with 6 other teams competing), was sent to another section to be a manager for Tier 1 agents. This is pretty much a demotion by any standards, since Tier 1 is basically entry level support and is very strictly limited on what they can or could do. My team was given a new manager, and most of us had all of our past calls reviewed. Two people were transferred to another section, two were fired for minor mistakes, two remained under the new manager until they quit, and two of us left on stress related disability.

    Now, again, I can’t come out and say it is directly related to Steve getting too sick to handle the company and turning day to day things over to Tim Cook, but you can certainly make the assumption. Tim was well known in Applecare as being a bottom line kind of person. To him, customer support was a necessary evil and he probably would have farmed it out to India if Applecare hadn’t been smart enough to start forcing all of us to push sales in addition to support. Since we were actually making a profit, I don’t think he could justify it. Who knows for sure, but I can tell you that anyone who had been at Applecare for a long time could tell you that things were changing fast, and not for the better.

    I can’t say with any certainty how it has gotten there since I left, and I was out on disability when Steve fully turned over the reins to Tim, so I can only say I doubt things improved.

    In any case, I feel for you and your experience. No customer should be treated the way you were and I hope that just this one time the legal system doesn’t let them screw you on an appeal.

  • Murray

    I guess this talk of class-action law suit is exactly why they drew a line and didn’t want to help you with that 8600M issue. I guess?

    One of the main things I’ve heard about getting your Apple stuff repaired is… SHOP AROUND. Go to 4 or 5 different Apple stores, go in at a quiet time of day maybe, just keep trying until you find someone friendly and keen to help.

    I had a friend who is a friendly amiable guy. He had a frayed power supply cable, which he admitted was his own fault. He took it to a store to see if it was covered somehow. Nope.

    He was in a different state of Australia shortly thereafter and asked at another store. The guy was chatty and helpful and replaced the power supply no problems, just to help, and after a chat about the customer’s iPhone button being a bit “iffy”, kindly went out back and got him an entirely new phone!

    No Apple policies involved, just two different staff members.

    I think sometimes you gotta be hard. And sometimes you just gotta be really friendly! :)

    – Murray

  • Jimmy Shagg

    Good work! Victorious…good read!

  • Dave Rand

    My brand new Mac Book Pro displayed a patterned screen with an apple in the center like displayed here
    http://themainframe.ca/2010/07/03/macbook-pro-video-repair/ I know it’s a different problem but they did
    pay for me to overnight it, fixed it in a day, and sent it back at no charge to me as it was under warrantee. They also replaced my screen as it was not a bright as it should be…I had not even noticed this.

    Problem with some of these large companies is that they have legal teams that have nothing better to do that fight poor guys like you. Your outspokenness will hopefully get these Apple legals a swift kick in the ass as perception is everything for this company.

    Thanks for being brave and persistent. You’ve helped not only Apple’s customers, but Apple itself and any other company that has a legal team that just over dose it for the sake of being a lawyer. Junior lawyers using these small battles to prove they are worthy of a bigger paycheck when in fact they are killing the company. I would not be surprised if they kept office pools betting on outcomes.

    Verizon learned this lesson the hard way as well. Bank of America is learning it now. This is all thanks to people like you and one reason it’s great to live in the USA still.

  • Glenn Coppens

    Great read, thanks for that. Good on you for being stron. My laptop, 2 years old and with tens of thousands worth of confidential and proffesional software ( a multiple fold of what the computer was worth) had a similar malfunction, since I’m in the animation indutry, this was of importance to me. To be sure that nothing would go wron, I took it to Apple themselves. Not only did they refuse to replace the board, the also tried to sell me a new computer and then on my insistance and with strict instructions that the content was crucial to me (original software was at home in SA, I was on a 2 year contract in Belgium), reformatted the disk without backing up and carried on with the same excuse, machine doesn’t want to reboot.
    So I lost all software, material and the machine. I did buy a new machine but not from Apple.

  • Typer

    I think I also had a similar graphics chip failure on my Mac Book Pro, but as I brought the Apple Store a hard copy of the Apple support page that referred to the Invidia chip failures and fully funded replacement program they did not attempt to place any obstacles in my way and got straight into replacing the component. I presumed that they replaced the faulty component with one that did not have the manufacturing/design fault, as it would seem a rather stupid response from Invidia to continue manufacturing and distributing defective components that they were being charged the cost of replacing again on future failures. My MacBook Pro has continued to be fine several years on and I think I will be still able to use the hardware long after Apple stop releasing OS that runs on it, or stops supporting Leopard. At that point, I’m hopeful that I will find a contemporary linux distro that will run on the hardware without any diy tweaking required.

  • Scott

    I had the same issue with my MBP. However, I tried to get it repaired before they even acknowledged the program. I went to the Apple store and they bascially said I abused my computer along with other nonsense. I later showed up with nvidias press release stating that the GPUs were faulty, but Apple still hadn’t recognized the problem yet, and gave me a $700 something repair quote. Oh, and it happened to be about a week outside my 1 year warranty. I desperately needed a computer at the time, so I didn’t wait around to play games.

    Luckily I purchased it with my American Express card, which doubles the warranty. I called a rep and told them the deal (less than 5 minutes on the phone), they overnighted me a box and refunded me the purchase cost the next day. Never buying Apple again.

    Funny enough, about 3 weeks later, when I already had my new non-Apple computer, I got a call from the Apple store manager saying they would now repair my MBP and give me $100 off the purchase of a new one if I wanted to go that route.

  • someone unknown

    can you update us on whether apple actual pays you? I think there is a high probability that they won’t. You will have to spend time and money pursuing them.

  • Bob

    And you gonna buy Mac again ? Apple spits in your face and you dont care ?

  • Sean

    I apologize in advance if this has already been said, but I can’t bring myself to read 200 comments. Here goes:

    You ask why Apple went this far: It went this far exactly because of your update. If they win this case against you, they have legal precedent for doing what they’re doing to potentially thousands of other people who might try to individually sue them or sue them in a class action. If they pay their lawyers $20,000 now and /win/ this case against you, they have ammunition to fight the multi-million dollar lawsuit that they know is coming. And just as importantly, if they just acquiesce to your demands without the fight, it can be viewed as an admission of precisely what you were accusing them of – which would then could be used against them in the class-action suit that they know is coming.

    Apple – and most corporations – are completely unconcerned with right vs wrong, correct vs incorrect. Their actions are always and will always be dictated by how much money they can make, and in your case, how much money they can avoid losing.

    I am pleased as punch that they will soon be losing a great deal of money.

  • Darren

    What a story! I can’t believe that this happened. I’m appalled at Apple’s character here. I love Apple products. In this age, with social media and blogs, you got to be careful not to get yourself into this situation. Apple may feel justified, but they lose more in the negative perception they are now receiving from this single case.

  • David Easterling

    I am interested in the potential class action suit and if I would be a good fit as a party. I have a 2008 15″ MBP that failed to boot Mid 2011. Initially I was unaware of the replacement program and having bought it off of eBay, was not confident with my chances of qualifying for the program. Thoughts?

  • CFB

    I had the same problem with my 2008 MacBook Pro 15inch… Just got stuck on the gray screen while booting… But never finished. The gray spinning wheel would go on forever and then just stop…. Then nothing.
    I took it to the genius bar at Apple…. Took them about 8 min and they told me it was the NVIDA graphics card. They told me it was covered and would replace it at no cost, even though my warranty had well expired.
    Now… It’s running like a champ.
    Now one of my kids iPod touch button is bad and just does not do anything.. Like the button is stuck. Took it to apple, they wanted ~ $150 to fix it since the warranty expired 3 months ago. There are multiple complaints about this same problem on the Internet. Shame on you Apple you sold me a ~$300 device and now it’s not working a little over a year since I bought it. And yes, it was in a protective case and never damaged.
    Apple should know its all about customer support…. I have 13 Apple products and this is what I get?
    :-(

  • Jason Buist

    Here here, Bravo! Well done.

  • TS

    Rex,

    Had an eerily similar situation myself with my 17″ MBP 2.4 core 2 duo. My Nvidia card failed and the display went all wonky. I read the TSB on apple’s on website and then called Apple (mine was still under Apple Care). After speaking with them they gave me the choice of mailing it to Apple or taking it to my local apple store. I chose the latter, and at first they told me I could only make an appointment online. “Umm… my computer is busted, and I don’t have another one,” I said. After going in circles the tech-help guy ultimately booked the appointment for me.

    Went into the Apple Store with notes from my conversation with Apple Care and a printout of the TSB describing the faulty Nvidia 8600M GT graphics card. The first “genius” I spoke with immediately picked up my comptuer and asked what I did to cause it to stop working. “when did you drop it” and “what did you spill on it” were a few of his questions (never “did you drop it, did you spill anything on it”). He picked up the computer and then told me that the scratches on the bottom casing showed I had abused my laptop and, ergo, I would have to shell out $1,100 for repairs and that it wouldn’t be covered. I picked up several of the display MPBs in the store and showed him they all had scratches on the bottom. It’s what happens to the computers with normal use. Mine had no dings, dents, nada.

    Back and fourth it went, I called Apple Care again and was moved up the chain, and while my apple-care tech agreed that it was a classic “graphics card issue” he told me it was policy not to over-rule a “genuis’ assessment” I had a second appointment with the same Apple Store, but with the manager this time. I showed him the documents, my comptuer, the TSB on the Nvidia card, and while basically agreeing with me he reiterated the line that he wasn’t a genius and wouldn’t contradict that genius’ assessment.

    The kicker: when I asked the manager who would pay for a faulty Nvidia graphics card he said “it’s a recall, so Nvidia pays for all replacements”.

    That moment sounds just like when the judge heard a similar thing from Apple’s lawyers.

    Ultimately, I called my contact at Apple Care and they agreed to allow an independently certified repair center take a look at it, and that they would remove the genius’ notes so that it would not bias the third-party assement. I took it into my local Independent Apple Repair center, told them nothing of my plight, and their technician looked at it, hooked it up to an external display, and concluded “it’s the Nvidia card”. They did the repair work in 2 days and I was not charged a cent.

    My greatest regret now is that I still have an Nvida 8600 card, and now, three years later, it seems to be faulty again.

    I kept all of my notes and emails from this tragedy. Until now, I thought I was the only one treated this way. Why did that apple Genius put up such a fight when it was a KNOWN ISSUE and that NVIDIA was going to pick up the repair costs? I love my computer but have been made forever weary of using apple’s Genius Bar.

  • Maks

    Well, done, I had to fight Apple a few times myself…. but it never went that far. Too bad that a company that big is so greedy at times, too many times! Well done Rex, too bad for Apple!

  • Kevin

    I applaud you for beating Apple.

    As far as the class action suit is concerned, I would advise that you search carefully before selecting a legal firm.

    The way US class actions suits are currently handled, these plaintiffs attorneys are nothing more than snake oil salesmen, looking for quick payoffs from defendants, regardless of benefits (or lack thereof) to the class.

    More about defective Nvidia chips and unsavory characters, read here:
    http://www.FAIRnvidiasettlement.com

  • marvin

    congratulations on your victory,
    it is a sad statement that it required so much effort.
    thank you for persevering,
    to many people are complacent and allow big companies to take advantage;
    too many companies make it overly time consuming to assert one’s rights.

    apple, has become (or are we just realizing) a very evil corporation.
    the arrogance, greed, attitude of “being better” demonstrated is despicable.

    professionally,
    i formally told people that apple was a stable platform,
    the primary issue is that apple will dictate how you use your computer
    (sadly,for many, that is needed)
    and that you can not use an apple for anything unique or not “apple” approved.

    currently, as a result of many support (or should i say non-support?) issues,
    i still state the former with the additional comment
    that support is unpredictable and unreliable at best.

    from my perspective,
    this is a definite degradation of a company and product;
    having worked with and on the predecessors of apple (& ibm) pc’s,
    watching these products enter the market,
    and their evolution / de-evolution (we are devo!)

    for instance:
    the bell & howell phillipsburg division did some pretty incredible stuff,
    especially for the late 70’s early 80′ with the apple 2e:
    performed a sort which could control the “chutes” for letters presorted by zip code,
    the codes were input from a “optical” input arrangement (albeit primitive),
    and could pre-sort up to fifty thousand letters a day (yup 50,000!)

    now apple (as have others) follow the model
    doctors and north american corporations have been using for years:
    they hold the “quarter” is so close they can not see the dollar!

  • chris m.

    I am in exactly the same position as Rex was. I to purchased the MAX 17″ MBP in the late summer of 2008 along with the Apple Care Program. Cost me $4,548.16. Like Rex my apple care ran out and then the MBP failed 18 months later. I got the same run around from the Genius Bar and Apple Senior customer device Dept. I just gave up and have been with out a computer until 3 months ago. Its not a mac though, it a PC.

    Let nail these GREEDY BASTARDS to the WALL! once and for all. They are worth $600 Billion dollars today. And they would rather pay there lawyers 15-20 Gand to come out for 1 morning in court and challenge Rex instead of being a stand up company and fixing it for free, all costs go to Nvidia anyways.

  • Paul

    You forgot to mention the fact that Nvidia didn’t stand behind their product. As a computer retailer for over twenty years, You will have the same outcome with Dell, HP, Intel, IBM or any other brand name. ATi and NVidia are the two main suppliers of graphic chips and cards. They are slow with their drivers update especially for open GL, which causes lots of crashes in 3d applications, yet these manufacturers never get the blame. I used to build pc’s and if it was a faulty graphic card, as a business owner, i just replaced the card but on system with a motherboard with soldered chips, its not as easy as that. As a business owner you tend to do lots of RMA for clients. it cost money and time to do so. some clients appreciate it and some couldn’t care less. Apple sells millions of comps, so if you get less than one percent return and RMA’s than you are offering a great product. With Asus, Gigabyte etc of asian motherboards and chips, my number were in the 40 percent of what you sell will come back as a defective product. Good luck on you journey to PC’s, I am glad i switched to Apple, even if i pay a premium, when it works it works GREAT.

  • Sigmet

    Very nice story. I’ve had discussions with people about the differences between various computer platforms, but as a network engineer, I need know/tolerate all computer platforms/manufacturers. I’m down to three computers in my house – a desktop with Win Vista (I know… just hush), a laptop running Ubuntu, and another laptop running XP (oh wait, four – I have a PowerPC mac about somewhere, but not actively being used)…

    But wait, there was a method to my madness – I helped a friend buy a Sony laptop – the display/graphics of which broke hardly a year after the purchase. Turned out it was a “known issue” with that model. She took it to the Sony store at the local mega-mall for them to troubleshoot. Upon realizing it was a “known issue” – they took her laptop, said “Go have some lunch and come back in two hours.” – in those two hours, they replaced not only the graphics card, but they screen too (they said “just in case”), and didn’t charge her a dime.

    Apple could definitely take a hint from Sony’s business practices when it comes to Customer Service…

    (disclaimer: some of these statements MAY not be 100% accurate, as I’m a third party, but this is how I understood it to go down… The gist of it was that Sony didn’t give her the run-around, they just corrected their mistake, quickly and concisely)

  • Sigmet

    (Oh, by the way, I’m not a big fan of Sony’s, just trying to make a point that they took care of a customer :> )

  • Kyle

    Yes, Yes!!! I’ve already had to pay for the exact same repair out of my pocket! I didn’t really know what was going on with my computer until I read this. I own the exact same MacBook Pro that you do, Seattle Rex. Same year; everything. I wish I had known then what was wrong with my computer and what exactly I was paying so dearly for. I’m not here to bash Apple at all. I just want some expensive wrongs to be righted.

    Kyle

  • M

    Being a former Genius I have been down this route and argued with managers many times to just cover the repair as we have no way to formally declare it is not a result of the GPU that the machine won’t boot. I’m glad you were successful in your case. One more reason why 90% of Apple Geniuses are upset with their positions these days.

  • Rick

    Just like everyone else with this laptop with Nvidia graphics card, mine quit working after about 4 years of purchase. I couldn’t get to the Apple Store right away so it was a while after that, that I took it in and was told Sorry we won’t fix but you can pay for it. They wanted $600 to fix, I paid $2700 for this laptop and couldn’t see spending that much more for a 4 to 5 year old computer. When I bought this computer I knew I had paid a premium for it, but justified the cost because of the quality of Apple products. I have an Imac that is older then this laptop that has hardly ever been shut off, runs like a champ as an Apple product should. I have a total of 7 apple products and this is the only one that I have had any issues with. As far as I’m concerned the graphics card should not quit working on these computers in 4-5-6 or more years, maybe a few but not at the amounts that are failing, so Apple should fix these at no cost, ever hear of a recall? I am glad you went after them and deserve any compensation that you get from them. For their own PR they should just fix them all, no matter how old the computer is because they admit to a problem with the card. Like it would break the bank, they would write it off anyway. Why do companies like to spend more to fight something then just fixing the problem, always baffles me.

  • Cgomez

    Everyone should follow your path. Class actions suits are “get out of jail free” cards for companies. They get to negotiate with a law firm eager to take 33% of the settlement for their time and effort and the actual harmed consumers get “a $5 iTunes gift card”.

    Eventually some court will demand it is consolidated into a class action, but it might be time to start thinking about banning those. It’s an easy way for a company to buy immunity for cheap.

  • Jason

    Apple have always made good products with a focus on user experience. But they have always had an arrogant “screw the customer” attitude, which is why I’ve never given then any of my money.

  • sspatimouth

    I do Mac repairs and I see these macbook pros all the time. Most will chime but won’t show a screen. Some will have garbage on the screen. Others will power on for a quick second and then turn off. The fix is to reball the gpu. Sucks for people who bought these models, but for me it keeps me busy doing inexpensive repairs.

  • Proxy Comment

    “Just this week, Apple replaced a failed GPU in my computer, the NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M 5, and did so with no fight or questions. The screen pixelated and a kernel panic happened right in front of the Genius so hard to argue. Before that, they replaced a computer with a dying GPU. Both were in AppleCare and a reason I rotate computers every 3 years once they’re out of warranty. Like you, I wondered why they fought this so hard and in Apple’s history that wave of defects cause a VP his job.”

    -DL Byron

  • Mark S

    Great story here. I have a Summer 2007 15″ MBP and had to get it repaired in Oct. 2011 as my Apple Care ran out. Same thing. It simply would not boot and so they said it was a faulty logic board. I paid the $300 to get it replaced and tried to argue about the nVidia card but the genius bar insisted that the logic board was bad and it wasn’t the nVidia card. I didn’t have the time to argue with them.

    I’m a lawyer and am very impressed with this case and outcome. I wish I would have taken the time to file suit as you did, but I just didn’t have the extra time at the time. I would love to be part of a class-action suit to get a new laptop. Even with my new logic board, there is no telling when this thing will die.

    I will check back here for more details.

  • Mark S

    One more thing, my computer was over 4 years old which is the limit for the warranty… That is why I didn’t fight it too hard.

  • Gabriel

    Uh-oh. I am currently having a decision in progress: I have to buy a new laptop. I was going to go the Apple way again (I had a G3 Powerbook a few years ago). But after reading about what happened to you, I think I’ll go some other way. I really don’t like Windows, but I will be able to dual-boot (some Linux flavour, just gotta choose the one that better fits my laptp of choice) and, if I really need to use an application with no Linux replacement, I can always boot in Windows and do what I have to do.

    What a ppity. I REALLY wanted to go back to Apple. But that’s a no-no now.

  • Marvin

    > The obsessiveness of crushing all perceived enemies, no matter how big or small, regardless of whether they are wrong or right, should be of concern to all iFans and financiers.

    Why is this a surprise? That is pretty much the attitude of the US as a nation and it should be no surprise that an American company is following it. Now maybe you will understand what other countries feel when they get bullied by the US.

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