Seattle Space Needle Reflection at Night

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 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.

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

  • Richard Williams

    Rex or whomever is reading this please help me with this legal matter.
    A week ago my phone went to acting up, I had to press 1 to accept all calls so I took it to Sprint they then told me that it had to be taken to the Apple Store so I take it there they couldn’t fix the problem but they switched my phone out with a refurbished phone. At this time I lost all photos all videos all apps, everything. Now they are telling me they can’t recover anything that was backed up in I-Cloud. So please someone let me know how I can file a suit against Apple

    • Jason A

      Apple rarely comments on legal matters, and when it does it chooses its words carefully. So I read with interest the statement it issued after it was ordered to pay $532.9 million to Smartflash LLC for willful infringement of three U.S. patents. It’s a classic of the genre:

      “Smartflash makes no products, has no employees, creates no jobs, has no U.S. presence, and is exploiting our patent system to seek royalties for technology Apple invented.”

      Jobs where? Any non H-1B American tech hires the past few decades?

  • I am very happy for you and I wish I had your ability to fight them. In the end, they sold defective product. My case was a bit different, since I bought the machine of a guy who has already blow torched it.

    • I notice on your website that Apple deleted your topic from their forums.

      I always thought this was stupid, because by keeping things in their own forums, they can keep it away from the public, out of search engines, etc. They can always delete it in a pinch, too.

      By forcing people to go to go elsewhere to complain, Apple loses control of the information.

      Their behavior is no longer one of an intelligent company run by intelligent people, but one that operates purely on religion and affluent privilege. Many of their decisions these days are just plain stupid, but because the religion and social factors are covering for it, they haven’t had to own up to this reality yet.

      I think such protection is time-limited, but you know what they say:

      No one ever went bankrupt betting on the stupidity of the public.

  • Chase

    Did Apple ever remit payment?

  • Jerelyn J. Brofman PhD

    You have given me hope to continue fighting with Goliath in Cupertino. My 2400. dollar MacBook Pro Retina display has been malfunctioning in so many ways that I am ready to toss it out the window. I have gotten nothing but evasive responses from Apple, including : It’s your Wi-Fi from Time Warner than is too slow, the hardware is fine, you waited beyond the 14 day return policy so nothing will be done, etc.
    I bought the top of the line with Retina display because
    i am 70 years old and have some vision problems. I also bought what was supposed to b the fastest machine they make.
    I was told it only really worked fast in The Apple Fifth Avenue Store because they had a specific Wi-Fi system. So, did any one tell me this before I plunked down my 2400. bucks?
    That was the least of it. There are so many errors this machine makes, including “the Flying Cursor” which does not “click” in the place you place it, but rather opens another link or e-mail. The back arrow doesn’t work to get you to the previous page. Getting unheard of and incompressible error messages, and many more, too numerous to list.

    Having had another MacBook prior to buying this one, which never had a problem, I stupidly put my trust in the Apple brand.
    I found the brand has deteriorated and APPLE WILL NOT STAND BEHIND THEIR PRODUCT. Even a washing machine has a longer return policy. Defects are not always apparent until you work with the machine for a while. A recurrence of an illness sidelined me for 2 months during which I was unable to focus on anything, not even read a newspaper.
    As soon as I recovered I spent some time with the machine only to discover the extensive malfunctioning of this machine.

    I’ve been fighting for 2 months at least with not acceptable response.

    Now I will take it to the next level, including complaints with Better Business Bureau and a suit in small claims court and posting on review sights and social media. I WILL NOT give up. This is a travesty, especially for a company with a fine reputation which is fast deteriorating in the face of completely
    unacceptable, adversarial Customer Service, refusal to stand behind their products.

    I deeply resent the hoops I had to jump through to show them the machine was defective and the commensurate loss of time at the office, thus resulting in a very significant loss of income. They are still arguing
    with me that there is nothing wrong with it. Had anybody spent anytime on the machine to see for themselves the state of this machine? Why on God’s green earth would I spend for than 2 months fighting with them that this is a defective machine that needed replacement immediately, though they refusing to take it back and replace it with an new functioning machine.

    I will never buy another MAC product until they take responsibility for the products they producel
    Apparently, the launching of the new Ipod 6 was a basic disaster and I have heard of so many people who were sold defective Mac Book Pro with Retina display, I will continue my fight against an an unresponsive Apple in Cupertino, until I get my machine replaced with a well-functioning new machine that I paid for.

    Perhaps, Apple should consider the rise of Samsung products, which I have found to be problem free up to this point.

    Look back, Apple, their gaining ground on you. Continue with your irresponsible policies.

    Jerelyn J. Brofman PhD

  • Fellow 8600m

    Hello. I wanted to know about your filling. It only says “rex”. Do you not need to provide your full name, or did you file as a company? I have to take Apple to small claims for the same issue. Luckily, I got my machine in straight away and had them verify it was the 8600m with the software tool Apple made specifically for this. Apple said they’d replace mine, no problem. Then they changed the program and cancelled it and said they would do nothing. Luckily everything is in email and all phone interactions are recorded. I doubt Apple would waste money on lawyers again, and I’ll just ask for the settlement you received, which seems fair.

    If you could email me about how you filed with just “rex” it would be appreciated.

    Unlike a lot of people here, I don’t have anything against Apple. They make good products for the most part, but they handled the 8600m situation poorly.

    • It only says “Rex” because that is my full legal name. Mononymous people are unusual, but we do exist.

      Apple will most likely try to convince the judge that their laptops are only supposed to last 3-4 years. They consider their hardware disposable, and I am not exaggerating in the slightest. I argued with them ad-nasuem over the notion that their laptops are supposed to die after only a few years. I honestly believe that this is how they engineer them.

      It’s easier to make an ultra-thin laptop when you expect it to fail in 4 years, because you don’t have to worry about thermal issues as much. When you consider that probably 95% of owners use the machines to check Facebook and Twitter, and not much crunching, it’s also easy to see why this is profitable. It’s like overselling bandwidth. Cater to the moderate users, alienate the power users, and make $$$.

      People who actual push the thin laptops are in a quandary. At least these days. Those machines are made more for people who use them as jewelry, not necessarily hardcore computing.

      Apple will try to say that, yes, the card is defective, but that it lasted you long enough, and you should be happy with getting to use it for as long as you did.

      This should not be terribly difficult to rebut.

      I used to not have anything major against Apple (at least not more than any other mega-corporation), but the trial changed my opinion about the company quite a bit. To say they have contempt for their customers is an understatement, but it’s something that people need to learn for themselves. They just become defensive and hostile if you try to warn them.

      Good luck with your case.

      • Fellow 8600m

        Thanks for the quick reply. I’ll send an update based on the result.

        I agree that it’s unfortunate Apple is moving away from its focus on long lasting machines and moving ever faster into Macs as iOS accessories. I understand it from a business perspective, as Macs make up an increasing small percentage of revenue and are no longer financially significant. Apple should (and does) create products it thinks will serve the interests of the largest number of its customers. They know that most Mac buyers now upgrade frequently, whereas the average Mac buyer used to be on a 5-year cycle (when Windows users were at 2 years). The average MacBook Pro buyers today would rather have 2 more hours on the battery than the ability to replace it. That’s just the reality of the situation. I’d rather have a user replaceable battery and reduced battery life, but I am in the minority. I’d also rather have a thicker machine and standard, replaceable SSD. But I am not the type of person who buys computers for fashion, I buy them to use for as long as they will do what I need them to do well. People who buy computers to use for a long time aren’t the customers Apple wants anymore. The product line makes that clear. I have an iPhone 4s. I like it a lot, just as I did when I bought it. I am not the customer Apple wants. I’ll ironically be going to court with a 10 year old iBook, which works great from a hardware perspective, but is obviously incompatible with modern software. The only reason I bought the MacBook Pro was because of software, as PPC was killed.

        It’s a different company, different user base. What’s unfortunate is that PC makers don’t make quality laptops, and that OSX is the only practical alternative to Windows. Linux is cool, but you need Windows or Wine for a lot of stuff. Maybe someday PC makers will start making quality laptops, with good trackpads, screens, not look like a pile of plastic crap, etc. Windows users expect crap, from software and hardware. They would rather save $2 then have a good headphone amp. We are at a fork in the road. An overpriced disposable Mac, or a craptastic Windows machine (or Frankenlinux). Windows users are to blame for the state of their crap laptops. Fashionistas are to blame for Apple’s product line. The middle ground is gone. Mac users were the only people that cared about reliability, security, and quality.

        If I got the same amount as your case, it’s not even enough to buy the cheapest 15″ computer Apple makes today. It is enough to buy 99% of Windows laptops, though. The real question is what I’ll do after the case. Perhaps a refurbished Mac from the last throws of serviceability will be around. My next machine will likely be a frankenlinux laptop for lack of choice.

        • Yes, the state of modern computing is sad for all but the middle-of-the-road iTunes DJ’s and social media mavens.

          There are currently two major computing platforms (over 1% market share), and when those platforms falter, the advice from their user bases is always the same.

          Windows users: “If you don’t like it, use something else.”
          Mac users: “If you don’t like it, use something else.”

          It’s like politics. We have two major parties masquerading as “choice”, and both of them are as corrupt as the day is long.

          It’s also why computing is in the sad state that it’s in. The two main players can easily … easily alienate the most demanding users, and still make billions upon billions of dollars.

          Apple is turning their desktop OS into an iTunes portal, and if you dare object, millions of iPeople will shout “leave if you don’t like it!”, which would be great, if Microsoft didn’t also put out customer-exploiting shit.

          Of course, this also discounts the fact that both platforms go above, beyond, and then some, to insure that you’re as locked into their platforms as possible.

          “If you don’t like it, leave” is a very disingenuous position to take, but companies cannot sustain themselves by catering to the intellectual (and perhaps technological) elite. See Linux for an example of this. It’s gotten so sparse that Google doesn’t even make Chrome for Linux anymore.

          And so, the most demanding customers will always be the throw-away customers. The unwelcome customers. The customers that neither duopoly wants. Once you file suit, you will be joining this elite group, and I gotta tell you, it kind of sucks.

          I respect the hell out of you for getting off of your ass and taking them to court. I wish you the best of luck. Not many others will, though. Do you think Apple wants a bunch of demanding users who will sue them if they screw up, or do you think they want fanboys who will take it up the ass on command and beg for more? Do you think these fanboys will be happy when you remind them that they’re little more than corporate cumdumpsters?

          Think about this … this issue has effected millions of people, but one of them … me … went to far as to take them to court over it. Everyone else capitulated. Don’t think about that one too hard with a tall bridge nearby.

          If you were a large corporation, who would you want? You, or everyone else?

          And so, people like us will always have to fight to get what we were promised, solely because so few people do. People who wag their fingers and yell “switch!” to anyone who dares complain.

          If I were you, I would document your progress through the courts, and get the process down. As the duopoly continues to dumb down it’s products to match it’s increasingly-forgiving, insult-doers-instead-of-being-doers user base, it’ll be the only way you’ll have to get what you paid for in the years to come.

          • Fellow 8600m

            No dice. The case was today, but the judge ruled in Apple’s favor. It was interesting how it was handled. I suspected they wouldn’t waste as much money sending in lawyers again this time, and indeed they didn’t…sort of. They called up an Apple store employee (!), poor guy, to represent them. They seemingly didn’t have a lawyer present, she arrived after the dispute resolution (was not present for that) and sat with the employee telling him what to say and do before the case. This gave them a few advantages. For one, rather than having a “suits vs little guy” dynamic, you had two plain clothes people. The main thing this allowed them to do was to have the Apple employee plead ignorance to the judges questions, as he had little information regarding the situation. Lastly, it allowed them to save money having to pay whatever extra they would have had to have an attorney participate in the dispute resolution and court hearing.

            I think appealing the decision is appropriate, and it’s unfortunate I didn’t get the same judge as you. Obviously, since small claims have no precedent, judges discretion is much more relevant.

            I may write Apple a letter, and give them a final opportunity to address the issue without the courts, and then file the regular court case appeal. I imagine they would send a legal professional to handle a regular court case, something that does have precedent. The cost of a regular court case to them would be many times then cost of the laptop, so it’s just a question of whether they would like to do the right thing, or spend a lot more and potentially make things worse for them.

            At any rate, I’ll let you know how things go.

  • Jamie

    Interesting case, Apple corporate suits need to rethink their policies/procedures to ensure they make sense from a customer-perspective, otherwise, continued small claims will continue to “chip away” or “nickel and dime” them to death.

    Here’s my adventure. Just bought an Apple iphone 5c through Verizon 2 months ago. Yesterday, no reception, no matter where I went. Called Verizon, and spent 1 hr on phone, going through different settings, etc to have them diagnose a bad SIM card. So today, take 1 hr to drive into Verizon store, they replace SIM card only to find out the SIM card reader is defective. They direct me to the Apple Retail store which is 5 minutes away, because Verizon’s contract with Apple says if the Apple product is defective, Verizon can’t replace it, Apple has to. Verizon tries to make me an appointment at the Apple Genius bar, but they are booked solid. I drive to the Apple retail store anyway, and talk to a rep, who puts me in a “Find time” queue at the genius bar, and tells me to wait. I wait about 20 minutes. He goes over my phone, and says, yes its a bad SIM card reader, and we will replace it for free, however, we don’t have that exact same phone in inventory. To which I reply, I really can’t go without a phone, clients are trying to reach me all day. I would accept the same phone in a different color. His reply, we are not allowed to do that. So I talk to a manager, and then a second manager, that basically say the same thing, it’s Apple policy. “I can’t believe it, I can’t get the same exact phone, just with a different color case…..NOPE!” So, I ask what other alternatives are available, since I need one today, (now) , and am told I can purchase a phone at full cost, and they will order my replacement phone. When it comes in, I can bring back in the boughten phone and get a full refund (as long as everything is done within 14 days), and pick up the replacement phone. Or I can take another 2-3 hours out of my day, and drive to another Apple retail store, pay mileage and parking, and see if they would have one like mine available in inventory.

    So I choose the 2nd option, and purchase the new phone at just short of $600, knowing I will spend another 1.5 hours within 2 weeks bringing it back. When they bring it out, it’s the exact same phone and color as my defective one. When I exclaim about them “not having one in inventory”, I am told this phone is in “store inventory” which can only be used for retail purchases; I have to get a replacement phone out of “service inventory”. REALLY ? You can’t ask someone in corporate accounting to transfer one white iphone 5c from “store” inventory to “service” inventory at the same exact location to help solve a customer’s problem that your defective product caused….REALLY ?

    Apple may think they have a superior product but with customer service and corporate policies that are this unfriendly to the customer,I don’t know how many people will keep withstanding this type of total disrespect for a lifelong customer’s time and stick with them. I for one, will not be buying any Apple products for the remainder of my life.

  • Tiago

    Inspiring. Ashamed to own an Apple right now.

  • Matt

    Rex, I am sure you are bored to tears by the endless responses you must of had regarding this case. I am currently experiencing the same issue (but Apple Geniuses have tried to blame my “third party” self installed RAM as the issue.

    My Crucial MBP specific RAM worked fine, but like a sucker paid another $100 for some more, only to find the continuing kernel Panics, loud fan noise and crashing continues. In fact it’s now so bad I can’t even get passed boot up.

    I could really do with explaining my story to you, and if there is anyway you can help me get my facts down, provide any advise that may help me to get Apple to replace mine for free too.

    I am prepared to do all the hard work myself, I have been trawling online for small claims and potential CLASS CASE which I feel is an excellent solution for the 1000’s of us who were sold a faulty, overpriced ‘pro’ machine that has failed. Apple, I actually hate you.

  • Nicole

    PS: I was talking about is a mid 2013 2.5GHz i5 Intel HD Graphics 4000 Model 13.3 inch MacBook Pro

  • Nicole

    Damn I’m glad there is at least one example of the legal system in the US doing it’s job. I would be interested in reading the court transcription of your adventures, just to see what kind of info you presented to the judge. I am incredibly glad you won.

    I’m having similar problem. Bought a very nice looking MacBook Pro used off craigslist (yes I realize anything could have happened to it, but it was pristine looking with no evidence of even water damage, previously owned by a kid who’s dad works in computer programming land, and gave him the laptop). It worked great for about a year. A few weeks ago it died. Didn’t want to wake up one day. Mag safe led flashing green and orange so dimly it was very difficult to see. I reset the SMC, left it unplugged for quite a while, disconnected the battery for a while hoping that would reset it. Took it into an authorized apple repair facility, they swapped out the magsafe dc in board, the laptop had the same problem, so they think it’s the logic board. The thing won’t power on long enough to even boot from the network, or run diagnostics. This is the i5 board with the Intel HD Graphics 4000 chip. So different issue than the Nvidia chipset. Called apple corporate and they hadn’t heard of a “flat rate repair” service. The guy on the phone didn’t even want to give me a ballpark figure for repair. The apple service center said they could send the laptop to Apple and have the logicboard replaced for $350. The only qualms I have about sending it are the possibility of a recall if this proves to be a persistent problem, and replacing one faulty logic board for another of the same design that is essentially a ticking time bomb. So, my real question is, if not apple hardware then what? Lenovo, Asus, Fujitsu? I have no problem running Ubuntu, or a subsequent Linux desktop, because F Microsoft… But what other flavor of plastic and wires would you recommend? I could get a ‘new to me’ machine for the same price as a logic board repair. What is reasonably reliable? I realize each model has it’s bugs, but what would you recommend?

  • Cara

    Congratulations for fighting back. I had an old 17″ G4 that I just replaced in 2012 & only because I couldn’t upgrade the OS with the PowerPC chip. But it was still working fine & I used it. I replaced it with an early 2008 17″ MBP. I never buy new because I don;t want to support the consumer machine. I din;t know about this issue with the Nvidia chip. Anyway, I had Mail disappear a couple of weeks ago & also needed a new battery. I live in Ft. Lauderdale & took the computer to the Galleria genius bar where the tech fixed the mail problem, hooked the machine up for a diagnostic & sold me a new battery.

    8 days later (Dec 11) the screen is checkered & then becomes striped & I get an appointment in a couple of days. The new tech says he’s not allowed to even look at the SAME computer & shows me the screen on his iPad where Apple basically says FU your computer is too old. I ask why, a week ago I was able to get help & he said the person should not have helped me even with a SOFTWARE problem. This is unacceptable. HE gave me the number to Nvidia & I spoke with a friendly manager there, Peter Saront, who tells me it’s to late, & that because it’s a ball & grid array , it can’t be fixed by simply replacing the chip & I need a new motherboard (sic).

    I’m sending it off to have the logic board replaced & upgraded for $160 plus shipping. If I didn’t need the computer back and my understanding and technical knowledge were good (I’m basically one of those people who don;t do a lot withe their computer, but I do watch films & write on it) I’d let it sit & I’d take them to court. It sounds as if from your report of the case that you really needed to know a lot. I don’t & suspect the judge would be bamboozled by the Apple bullshit. But again, thank you for fighting back!

  • I had always heard how wonderful Apple is, particularly, the service on hardware and questions that were not rerouted to India. Now, I see that it is no better than the PC’s on the market.

  • Lakshmi Krishnan

    Having the same issues. Mid-2010 Macbook Pro 13 inches. Had Applecare till April 2013.
    Processor 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    Memory 4 GB 1067 MHz DDR3
    Graphics NVIDIA GeForce 320M 256 MB
    Software OS X 10.9 (13A603)

    Detailed description of problem here (LaksK)
    – A month or so back, laptop died without any reason. Battery was full. I managed to try PRAM, SMC, then I could hear the fan start and was able wake it up enough to do a disk utility in safe mode (died in the middle of disk utility check the first time around). Even did a hardware test that showed no problems. But it would just not start up. Genius Bar did the same things I did – PRAM, SMC, Safe Mode etc. And then suddenly it sprung back to life. We had no idea what fixed it or what the trouble was.
    – This week RAM related problems. I am told the RAM is not seated properly. Hence, logic board failure and will need replacement.

    How do we get Apple’s attention? I do not intend to pay EUR 340 for another faulty logic board that may fail. The company needs to pay up!

    We definitely need to synchronize our efforts. Target the same people – technology journalists (CNET?) or Apple management.

  • Raf

    Same issue here. I never knew about this (in spite of AppleCare registration) until it happened about a month ago … and now my Apple shop’s response to my query is “Sorry, but Apple has declared your machine vintage – nothing we can do to help”. (17inch MBP, A1229).

    Guess I’ll resort to one of the repair offers available on ebay, but it certainly does not help my opinion on Apple. (Nor does the annoyingly slow iphone 4 I got from work!)

    • kel

      I just took my 2008 MBP with the same issue to the Apple store and was told the same thing. They suggested buying another one, great! Does anyone know how to go about getting this fixed?

      • Yes. Sue them in court, your jurisdiction probably has a small claims court, and show the judge Apple’s own notice that the cards are known to be defective.

        Apple will argue that they can’t be sure if the cards are defective in your machine, therefore they shouldn’t have to replace it … then they will argue that the machine is only built to last 3 years anyway.

        Afterward, the judge will rule up or down.

        I cannot tell you what the outcome will be, however, Apple’s position is extremely weak. It basically hinges on the notion that laptops are only meant to last 3 or 4 years at most, and that any failure past that point has satisfied your expectation.

        If you can convince the judge that properly engineered laptops can and do last beyond 4 years, then you will be awarded some amount of money. Probably enough to get your machine fixed.

        There is no easy way to get your machine fixed, though. You will have to work for it.

  • Michigan Model Photographers

    Having the same issue with mine. REally pisses me off as this is the second computer that I’ve bought with a known problem. I bought one of the first IMacs, it failed with hardly any use. They totally replaced it and it quit again and they refused. Apple is a disappointment.

  • Jason Stolarik

    Does anyone know if there will be a class action lawsuit against apple? Second question, how do I get in contact with the owner of this blog? I’m going on one solid year of fighting with apple back and forth regarding similar circumstances as the aforementioned above (blog). I’m on my last leg and considering legal (small claims) action, since this is the only possible alternative.

    Any info would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

    • Land

      Los MBP con Nvidia Geforce 8600GT del 2008, siguen fallando antes de los 5 años. El SAT de apple ya no reemplaza gratuitamente las tarjetas gráficas, y hay que pagar 404 Euros+IVA por una nueva.

      Creo que el programa de reemplazo en las Geforce 8600GT tendría que haberse extendido a 7 años. No es muy normal que una tarjeta gráfica dure menos de 5 años en un portatil tan caro. Muchos usuarios teníamos fallos de distorsión en el vídeo hace tiempo pero no pensábamos que era un problema tan grave hasta que el MBP se rompe definitivamente.

      ¿Qué vende apple ahora, diseño y sistema operativo?. Por mi experiencia no puedo fiarme más de los componentes internos.


  • JustMe

    Frankly I have give the courage and timely efforts for Rex to fight the Giants. I never even knew this problem as I did not pay close attention to news due to so many other things to take care off nor was I aware until this problem hit me today. My 2008 MBP just stopped working and it has been exactly 5 years. My son has been using it as his college computer and last week it failed to boot. We had only replaced the battery and never had any major issue as I take care most of the problems kids inform me. So he took this 2008 MBP A1260 to Apple Store only to be informed that it will cost him $310+Taxes to replace the video board. Not knowing the details, asked my son to bring back and will look it up. This is when I found all sorts of issues with NVidia chip and boot issues as well as this article. Yeah I have used this for 5 years and has given me its life, but still DO NOT agree with the Apple’s policy of covering/extending the warranty to 4 years. I am upset with such policies that this company that is my same city as I live and they are all over near my home. Anyways as much as I do not agree with their policies, but they are still great computers – as I have other MBPs, MBAs, Mac mini, iMac, iPhones, iPods, ATV etc.

    Now I seriously thinking buying them new are not worth it specially if their policies on customer servicing gets bad rap. My experiences have been great so far – just because either I was not aware of the issues nor we have faced them. I remember taking my daughters 2009 MBP once related to keyboard issue still under warranty – they covered it even though initially they tried to tell me stories. But when I insisted and stood my ground, they got it done for free.

    Lately I am hearing customer service issues and hence make me think if I want to continue to buy newer ones. The used ones, if I hunt can find less than 50% – which I recently purchased for $800 a MBA kept in excellent condition better than my own.

  • Bastian

    For my Early 2008 Macbook Pro, I just experienced the same problem – my Macbook refuses to boot and shows strange patterns on the screen.
    The Apple Store is unable to test the Nvidia problem as pretend that they don’t have their test software any more. Is there any way to (1) get that software and (2) contact somebody at Apple who is in charge of the program?

  • Mike

    My MacBook Pro 2008 is 6 month out of Apple 4 year free repair (as probably all are know), and Apple refuses to repair it. Mac boots and I can remote desktop to it. I only get garbled screen at apple boot screen then it freezes when it should show desktop. I have bad NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT GPU, as NVidia tool GPT Test reports problem, and gives repair code.

    Apple should extend free repair for defective Macs they have sold indefinitely and not some time frame they fill like.

    “Apple will continue to evaluate the repair data and will provide further repair extensions as needed.”

    Well Apple do it and do it right know!

  • Missy Miss

    When sales of Apple computers began to surge in the mid/late 2000’s, they were faced with the new problem of — should Apple continue to just quietly fix all the “known” more serious issues that people were coming in with hoping that a pacified, happy customer will just tell the world how great Apple is (i.e. I had a problem and they fixed it for free even though it was out of warranty) — OR — would they have to draw the line when a new large population of owners started reporting the same problems in millions more computers. When it was a small number, it was worth the time and possible cost to keep the issues out of the public by sending you home with free repairs and not blemishing their reputation. But once the world went Apple crazy, they didn’t need to spend on the labor and parts to do repairs because people were buying Apple products like crazy and that’s all the mainstream media would write about.

    So, like Seattlerex, it’s really important to stand up for yourself. Keep calling higher and higher levels at Apple Corporate in CA, connect with people like bloggers and commenters, social media, whatever – and round up hundreds or even thousands of Apple owners with an exact same issue as you and get everyone to write individually by email, snail, etc to Apple about it — and send a CC to the same popular tech magazine or blog -and- a CC to an uber popular mainstream, general news outlet that is read by many many people.

    Make the issue in to something newsworthy by sheer numbers. Imagine u r a tech journalist and you start to receive 2000 emails about the same product issue over the course of a year — it would be pretty hard to ignore the story.

    I like my Apple prodcuts and have been using Apple products since before some of you were born, seriously (1980’s), but they are afraid to say there was a mistake or problem and would rather screw unsuspecting buyers en masse. Not right !!

  • Micah C.

    @SharonAnne, First of all, I’m sorry for your loss. Second, why would you give a 3 year old a $500 iPad???? Third, most people do not read all the fine print in there warranties an if they do read them it is at a glance and not really reading to understand. I have been a Macintosh and Microsoft user for ever and currently own 3 Apple products and 2 Microsoft products. All five have served me well and I have had no issues with warranties or customer service with either entity’s. If van offer some advice, don’t buy a 3 year old something that they clearly cannot handle and take the time to read an fully understand warranties and do all your research before buying a product. Hope everything works out ad remember, this is just my 2 cents!!!.

  • Bob M

    Have a 2008 17″ MBP A1229, had used it infrequently for 3yrs until a win desktop died, then it started acting up with the characteristic 8600m (no display, light indicator dims when the screen is shut).

    Read many complaints that if the computer was really really broke and couldn’t run the assessment software that only works on a slight broke computer that Apple would say “Sorry, there’s nothing we can do. But, you can spend $400 on a replacement with the same stinking problem!”.

    So, I searched for a way to avoid this frustration and found a blog that mentioned reflowing the thermal paste on the logic board. And it worked! Went 9 months and then it started acting up again. So did a 2nd reflow and the machine is still working. Total cost (Torx set, thermal paste) = $25.

    I’m glad things worked out for you though!

  • SharonAnne

    I’ve spent the better part of two days trying to explain to my 3 year old why his IPad wont be repaired any time soon. We bought it in January so it’s technically still under the 1 year warranty period which their website clearly says will cover hardware damage. Said 3 year old dropped it on the concrete floor and the front glass shatered, I think that qualifies. Everything worked, it was just unsightly and dangerous to little fingers. The technicians at Apple informed me first that repair cost exceeded replacement. I said so replace it. WEll, no we cant do that. Well then fix it. Well no we cant do that because that would require we actually touch the screen and that would void the warranty. Wuh? How do you void your own warranty? I mean, YOURE THE COMPANY GRANTING THE WARRANTY. What a croc. I’ve checked around and may have it fixed by a third party but right now I’m too pissed to do anything and my 3 year old is well on his way to understanding that bullies are real.

    • Jeremy

      I had a similar incident. I’ve repeated asked them through two letters and a 50 minute phone call to honor their Applecare+ contract and replace my damaged iPad for the $49 fee. They refuse to do so, claiming “catastropic damage”, “separating into multiple pieces”, and “damaged by an external force”–they even made the ridiculus claim that Apple policy won’t allow them to replace the unit if it’s broken into more than 3-4 pieces. None of this is stated in the Agreement. I’ve given them one last chance to do the right thing–next step is small claims court.

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