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Update: Apple Satisfies

Apple Logo

It appears that my small claims action against Apple has reached its logical conclusion.

I went down to check the mail last night, and when I did, low-and-behold, Apple had mailed me a check for the full judgement amount.

I’ve read a lot of horror stories in the past couple of weeks about people winning judgments and then being stiffed, and I was worried that the same would happen to me, but Apple made good, and I do at least respect that.

Now, I’ve been asked about a hundred times if I am going to buy another Mac with the money, and the answer is no. That would make no sense, and I’m positive that Apple wants nothing to do with me as a customer. I do still have a 13″ MacBook Pro, and an iMac which is plugged into my amp as a Garageband head, but I’m not going to make any new purchases.

I’ve also received contact from people, including at least one tech site, who really want to buy my dead MacBook Pro. I guess it’s some kind of smoking gun. If it is confirmed beyond all doubt that the graphics chip, and only the graphics chip is bad, then a whole lot of people are going to demand refunds. That said, what a sad irony that my top-of-the-line 17″ MacBook Pro is worth more dead than alive.

I’m also still getting quite a bit of correspondence from people who really want a class-action to happen. Since class actions benefit the lawyers more than the class, I’ve urged many people to file their own suits, but those who have already paid to have their machine fixed are going to have problems since the defective hardware is no longer in their possession. Rock, meet hard place.

As you can imagine, attorneys have been offering advice, but I haven’t decided what to do yet. I would really like to see everyone made whole over this issue, but a $5 coupon from a class action would not meet that objective. Something like this will be lengthy, and it’s still just in the very early stages.

In any event, Apple paid, and this particular case is officially closed. Some of you were excited about the prospect of sheriffs invading the Apple Store to collect my judgement, but frankly, I was hoping for this outcome. The former would have made for great TV, but I just wanted to get this phase over with, and fortunately, so did Apple.

42 comments to Update: Apple Satisfies

  • Steve Jobs Ghost

    My refurbed liver went bad after a few years, would you mind representing me in court?

  • Nollij

    The point of a class-action suit is not recompense for the class. It is punitive for grave misdeeds by the target. It would strictly be to punish Apple for their actions (much like the related class-action against HP, which completely fell apart for the class. Hurt HP pretty bad, though)

  • Justin

    It is good to see Apple paid up. Are you still running Linux? I’ve chosen to run PinguyOS (which is a derivative of Ubuntu) over Ubuntu itself. It is even more inclusive than Ubuntu is out-of-the-box and seems to run way better on my laptop at least than Ubuntu did. While OS X is a beautifully designed OS and is a sharp system overall, I argue all the time with die hard Apple fans because Apple (and Microsoft) aren’t in it for the customer. They are in it to make money. You can back them up all you want about how amazing they are and how you will never switch to anything else. It goes to show you, with your case for example, they do not care about you as a customer. All they see are dollar signs.

  • Michael Tyson

    A few weeks ago, a couple brought 2008 15″ MacBook Pro with no power to my small computer shop in Santa Cruz, CA. I told them that it was probably the logic board and that there was an outside chance that it would be covered by Apple’s extended warranty for this model’s video chip. They took it to the Monterey Apple store and they said no – it needed a new logic board -$350, not covered. They took it home, had me recover data and then took it to the San Jose Apple store. I then read about your law suit for these MacBook Pros,
    sent it to my customer and here’s what happened when they picked it up:

    “They replaced the motherboard, installed a new battery, and replaced the LCD that my wife burned with a candle long ago. All for free. I guess the heat is on and they’re trying to make everyone happy. Super unexpected and super pleased with the assistance we got in San Jose.”

    Thank you Seattle Rex for your diligence and intelligence in pursuing this case. It’s already helping others.

  • Charles

    Wow, how disappointing. You “won,” but this whole episode would leave a bad taste in my mouth. How can a company with $90 billion sitting in their pockets purposefully screw over one of their loyal customers like this?

  • K Gurney

    Another MBP with faulty 8600 chip flatly refused for repair today in a UK Apple Store. I cannot afford the £350 repair fee let alone the cost of a new laptop – it’s my main computer which has been lovingly invested in (Snow Leopard, Lion, numerous apps purchases and many iTunes purchases), I have a backup but what good is my data when I don’t have a computer to restore it to! All I’m left with now is my iPhone.

    Come on Apple help out your loyal customers – re review this problem and extend the repair beyond our expectations or offer a solution. You could really do without the bad publicity of worldwide legal action!

    • Amy

      You see, this is the problem: “loyal customers”. They keep buying the crap, that is the problem. The “It’s broken, oh well, I’ll just buy another” mentality is what is keeping Apple going. Apple are rotten to the core. I will NEVER buy an Apple product as I know so many people who have issues with MBPs and even the power lead to them!

      • This is absolutely true.

        The problem is, which ethical company should Americans buy their hardware from?

        You know, a company which puts customers before profits, sells high-end laptops, and doesn’t make customer-hostile deals with OS vendors like Microsoft?

  • Randy Finley

    Lo and behold, I see an advertisement for a Macbook. What’s up with that?

  • Ilene

    Rex, you’re my hero!

    I have a 15-inch Macbook Pro with the NVIDIA bad GPU, as confirmed by an Apple store. Though I came into an Apple store early May 2012 with the computer two weeks past the 4-year NVIDIA warranty period (computer purchased mid April 2008) the kind folks at the store agreed to replace the logic board free because it was so close to warranty. I had been having problems during the warranty period before it failed a week before I brought it in. I was happy to get the replacement . Now I’m not, because my replaced logic boards keep failing!

    I’ve had two replaced logic boards in two weeks in an Apple store and moving on my third replacement. The first logic board failed within a few days, then a second logic board was put in yesterday. Now again I getting geometric designs, failed video, etc, and will take it in for a third logic board, all within less than 2 weeks! The genius at the Apple store said the replacements keep failing but that the GPU was supposedly changed. (He didn’t seem to believe the GPU was different by the way he said it.) But your lawyers seem to indicate it’s the same logic board with the same GPU. No wonder the boards keep failing!

    I asked for an extended warranty beyond 90 days for the logic board since they are obviously failing or a replacement computer but got nowhere. I’m going back in with your blog when I do my third logic board replacement and may next file a complaint with the BBB. Apple clearly is not “fixing” these computers if it is putting in the same defective GPU when it replaces the logic board. Apple is just hoping the GPUs fails after the 90-day warranty on the logic board replacements expire. Really, this seems like fraud or some criminal action to put back in the same defective part!

    Why is there no real news coverage on how Apple is ripping off its customers on this defective product? Am I angry? You bet. Will I buy another Apple computer? I will not. Please file a class action suit. I may not get a replaced computer but it will at least highlight Apple’s ripoff of its valued customers.

    • Ilene

      Rex,

      On the MacRumors forum, your lawsuit is discussed and some suggest that it was not said in court that the same GPU is used on the logic board replacements for computers with the NVIDIA GPU issue but a different GPU. Can you clarify this? Thank you.

      • Seattle Rex Seattle Rex

        I’m not sure that I fully understand your question.

        • Ilene

          I reread the MacRumors post and it’s different from what I thought. (A genius did tell me he understood different GPUs had been installed on the logic replacement boards). The MacRumors post says the judge erred because not all the GPUs are bad in the logic boards and a test of a replacement logic board in your computer would have shown if you had a another bad GPU. (My 2 replacement boards have bad GPUs).
          Here:
          pooprscooper
          #355 Apr 25, 2012, 04:47 PM – this post on this page
          http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1360593&page=15

          Also, Time Magazine hails your victory against Apple but says a class-action suit is not possible against Apple on this issue due to a ruling from the U.S. Supreme court that allows businesses to prohibit class-action suits from consumers by disallowing such lawsuits in contracts consumers sign, and that small claims court it the only recourse available.
          http://moneyland.time.com/2012/04/23/guy-sues-apple-and-wins-but-heres-why-his-victory-is-a-bummer/

    • 3-Strikes and it gets replaced

      A family member had a 15″ Macbook Pro with a similar problem – twice.
      It also had one other major issue requiring a part replacement (main board).
      In any event the graphics board failed again 2 weeks before the 3rd year of Applecare was due to expire.

      I spoke with Applecare and said that we had no confidence that the necessary repair of the graphics card would permanently solve the issue (given that the two card replacements) had not lived very long.
      After about 5 minutes on-hold the Applecare rep came back on the line and said that they were going to replace the MBP with a brand new current model one.

      Thus, one week later we had a new MBP and shipped back the defective one.

  • Ilene

    Here’s more on the class-action issue and why that may not be likely against Apple.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/your-money/class-actions-face-hurdle-in-2011-supreme-court-ruling.html

    I don’t know why the news media is not reporting on how Apple has screwed its customers on this issue. There must have been ten of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands, of these computers sold.

  • JD

    U-Village just denied me a fix on a 15″ Macbook Pro. Have any tips in going back into the store and trying it again?

  • Maurice Sebastiani

    My GPU failed yesterday after a brief flickering of both LCD and external monitor it uit nd will not boot back.
    Both external monitor and LCD went berzerk simultaneusly, which by definition talks about a bad graphics chip IMHO.
    It happened in the office with half a dozen witnesses… I was told by the Apple “Genius” [sic] that he would check ‘the system’ to see if the “recall” was still being offered. I have not heard from him and fear I will have to go the long way with this one. It failed because it is defective. I am a loyal Mac customer and very humble stockholder and will try to play nice with this one. After all it is an nVidia failure. Apple should really have a clear plan for this one. I guess they are scared about the number of failing chips put there that are hitting 3-4 years. Perhaps betting that the 4 comes quickly for the more. I’m well away from the 4 though.

  • Maurice Sebastiani

    Thanks for paving the way S Rex

  • Dan

    Rex,

    I’m very happy you got what you were looking for.

    Can you help the rest of us? It would be helpful if we could access the court record of the case in dealing with Apple one on one to get the GPU replaced or get some other solution. Can you post copies of the documents here?

    Thanks!

  • Marty

    A short while ago, a friend of mine experienced problems with his Macbook (not sure which model he has)and called our local Apple store to inquire about having it serviced. He asked if they had Apple Genius, and the reply was “Well, I don’t know about that, but a couple of these fellows are pretty smart.” Boy, that instills confidence in the company doesn’t it?

    Just thought I’d inject a little relevant humor into what is a truly sad situation. Congratulations on sticking to your guns and seeing it through to the end, in spite of Apple’s attempt to bully you into accepting less than you deserve. Oh wait, it wasn’t just less was it, it was nothing. right.

  • Juan Aguila

    Hey. My name is juan and i am currently residing in CHILE(southamerica) and I want to do what you did over here.
    My MBP 15″ is practically BRAND NEW. !!!!!!! And one evening it TURNED OFF never to turn on again. After the AUTHORIZED TECH checked it he came to the conclusion that the LOGICBOARD was fried. So my natural curiosity ( other than the price to get it repaired which is very close to $2000 us dollars)
    was to know WHY—– WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN!!!! I even offered hypothesis ( theoretical of course, nothing that actually happened).
    BLANK STARES. And eventually the cliché explanation. ” THESE THINGS HAPPEN” !!!
    Wow. How amazing is this. !!!??????
    Never could i have ever imagined or even fathomed such a TECHNICAL ANSWER.
    Anywho. On a side note i was willing to suck it up and make lemonadd from the lemons that i was dealt. I called the local parts buyer from MAC. I bet you will never guess what his dilemma was at the time.
    You probably guessed it. ————- HE WAS/ IS OVERSTOCKED ON MACBOOK PRO PARTS. All sizes 13″15″17″. So he WAS NOT THE LEAST BIT INTERESTED IN BUYING ANY ONE OF MY PARTS.
    So i decided to do something about it. And if i cant get them to fix or replace my laptop, i am going to make as much noise as possible. I will be using your case ( from start to finish) as an example.
    So please if at all possible, contact me at my email if for not anything else for moral support and guidance.
    My email is aguilax3@yahoo.com
    Looking forward to chat.
    Regards.
    Juan Aguila

  • Juan Aguila

    Me again.
    What i forgot to mention is that the guy who buys mac parts for a living here in chile is OVERSTOCKED due to an EPIDEMIC OF PROPORTIONS in faulty logicboards. The first few words out of that mans mouth were. ” your logic board is fried, right”???
    To which i replied
    “YUP”.
    His next words were.
    ” NOT INTERESTED IN YOUR ALMOST BRAND NEW LAPTOP”

    THATS GOTTA TELL YOU SOMETHING. —— AMIRIGHT!?!?!?!?

  • SteveG

    Hi Rex,

    Thanks a lot for posting this it’s been very helpful.

    I’m in Canada and my laptop has the gpu issue and was diagnosed (and dead) on April 12, 2012. However, it’s warranty extension ended March 15, 2012. I’ve called Apple and all they’ve said is that the four year cut off is absolute.

    Due to the statue of limitations clause is this worth pursuing?

    Thanks in advance for your advice.

    SteveG

  • KittyFields

    Same issue here. Macbook Pro suffered from this issue 4 years and 26 days after purchase. Took it to the Apple Store and they want $600 to fix it and will NOT cover it.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  • anthony tomasino

    I had the same issue; machine with defective GPU, brought it in for repair. They claimed water damage and refused. I explained the machine never left my desk and that was impossible, and that regardless I had paid for a defective product and wanted a new gpu, ie logic board. Long story short, even after contacting headquarters I was denied. I ended up buying a new laptop.

    Fast forward two years to today; after reading this I decided to open up the old defective laptop, and there is no water damage. All of the indicators are fine, it is very clear they lied to avoid the repair. Is there anything I can do at this point?

    • Seattle Rex Seattle Rex

      Yes, you can sue, and that is exactly what you should do.

      Honestly, reading all of these stories, I’m a little shocked that I was the first person to do so.

      Come on guys, when companies do these things to you, sue them. I was shocked at what Apple has been able to get away with, but now that I’ve seen how many people just passively let it go, now I see why they think they can get away with it.

      99.999% of the time, they do get away with it.

      Don’t let them. At least not without a fight.

      • jace

        People don’t just LET companies get away with it. People, consumers, don’t have access to justice because it costs too much. For example: i have a MacBook Pro 3,1 model (with the NVIDA defect) which has just died on me today. i’m almost 100% sure Apple will refuse to replace it under even the extended warranty because they closed that extension in December of 2012. Booting the machine is fine, but i have no display. Accessing it from another computer with Screen Sharing, i can see the tell-tale indicator of the fault in the System Profiler (it claims the machine has an Intel GMA x3100, which is wrong). But! i am POOR. i live on disability and cannot afford to replace the machine, and i certainly cannot afford the emotional stress and costs involved in suing Apple.

        Consumers are totally screwed in the USA.

  • anthony tomasino

    I’d love to but I’m in college and broke and can’t afford a lawyer or court costs, even if reimbursed, and certainly can’t risk those costs with a chance of losing. In think many times people just cent afford to fight.

  • Michael

    Rex,

    Thanks and congratulations. Last year my 15″ early 2008 Macbook Pro did the same thing. Wouldn’t boot up and I was pretty sure it was the nvidia chip. Apple obviously told me that they can’t test it because it won’t start up, and you don’t need to be told twice that that makes no sense. So after some arguing, going to several stores, and presenting online testimonies of other people with the same problem, they fixed it for free.

    A year later, my friend’s 17″ 2.6ghz early 2008 Macbook Pro showed the same symptoms (at 3 years and 10 months old). The first apple store said it didn’t quality for the repair because it wouldn’t boot up. The second said it didn’t qualify for the repair because it was the 2.6ghz model. I knew the first statement was BS, and the second statement sounded fishy so I looked it up when I got home and found your lawsuit. I brought your article back to the store and they said they couldn’t do anything, so right now I am waiting for Apple Care to see what they will do.

    It’s insane how many pieces of my early 2008 Macbook Pro have needed to be replaced. I’ve always been able to get Apple to replace things for free, but never ever ever without several trips to the apple store and lots of at home research. I don’t ever understand how people say that Apple’s customer service is good.

  • That One Guy

    Thank you so much for writing this up so clearly and even handedly.

    My neighbor’s MacBook Pro failed the same way about a couple of weeks ago. Same runaround/denial by Apple. He came to me for help because I’m the neighborhood IT “expert” (though my world is Windows Servers, firewalls and network infrastructure).

    I searched the ‘net with little hope, found your post and got on the phone with AppleCare. After going in circles for a few minutes I gave them the URL to your post. They put me on hold and after about 20 minutes on hold they gave in. My neighbor received his new MacBook Pro yesterday and now thinks I’m an IT ninja/god.

  • Rob

    Brought a fully functinal 2009 MacBook Pro into the Apple store managed by “Derek” in Chicago in Michigan Ave for service to the battery. I was getting a service battery notification and the battery isn’t holding a charge like it used to. I’m at around the 3 year mark so its typical to change the battery around this time. I paid $129 plus tax for a new battery with free installation.

    The rep that did the battery change said he noticed some water on the battery area and this might result in some quirky trackpad behavior. Well I didn’t think too much of it and left. Went around the corner and grabbed a Starbucks. Well the track pad is behaving quite erratically to the point of unusability. with mouse pointer movement without user input to the point that the laptop isn’t very usable.

    There was no problem before with the trackpad. From my perspective it seems something was damaged during the battery install. Apple’s position was that the damage would have happened anyway at some point and changing the battery made it happen now. They said they can repair the track pad for $90. I can’t really afford both the new battery and the track pad. So they agree to return my battery and repair the track pad that worked when I brought it in for $90. They did end up waiving labor so my cost was $50.

    TL/DR brought a MacBook pro in for new battery. Apple ostensibly damaged the track pad and then repaired it for $50.

  • JJ

    Just thought I would leave a thank you and well done for Rex because my 2008 MBP had blacked out and I took it in. They said it was the N-vidia Chip that was recalled. They replaced it for free and quickly. So your hard work helped me! I want to encourage anyone here also to fight for what is right. Currently I am having problems with my MBP because the DVD drive has such malleable metal that if you hold your computer and squeeze too hard the enter drive will warp keeping all dvd’s that you put in it. I took it to the genius bar today and he said it wasn’t the heat warping the drive it was my handling of it. He took guitar picks and made the slit that looked like a smile into a straight line. This is the third time I have taken it in for this. Apple knew that they used an inferior metal and still made them and sold it. Oh but now they don’t sell them this way. I plan on sending the 30 day letter to a small claims as well. I don’t like how the do business and from Rex example I thought I was the only one. I never want to buy from their company again.

  • Sean

    I take a vicarious sort of joy in SR’s victory, but only because I got thumped by them. I don’t have any particular tech savvy. When the genius tech called me, they said it was a failed logic board. I mentioned the nvidia chip, and the woman explicitly rejected that as the cause. My Mbp is exactly in the era. But she was defiant, and sure. I went in, having read up, and claimed my broken box back, but had an appt with a genius about it. He brought out a fine little case labeled nvidia, and plugged it in to my laptop. With a fried logic board, it failed to power up, so he couldn’t get any reading. So he didn’t get the test readout that would show it is the chip’s fault. He said that they don’t make money,and don’t want people to pay if they don’t have to. He was very compassionate while demonstrating that the nvidia case couldn’t read any defective card! Because the card had fried the logic board and nothing worked. Has anyone else sued, it seems to be their cost effective solution to the problem. The guy beside me in the Toronto apple store said he’d had the same issue with a 2008 Mbp, they were stubborn and denied him all the way on it. He bought a new one, and was ack with a different problem. We’re lemmings.
    Typed on an iPad, so sorry about typos. My computer is broke at he moment.

  • Adrien

    4 year replacement program just expired, yet problem not fixed for most MBP, any news about people pushing towards a 5 year extension, which is the minimum lifespan you would expect from a high end CPU?

    Thanks!

  • Bob Walberg

    I have had the same issue with my 2008 Macbook pro. I am preparing to take them to small claims court up here in Canada.

    Is there a docket or case number for the King County court case?
    And also was it at the 516 3rd Ave location in downtown Seattle?

    Having a precedent may help me up here.

    Thanks for all your efforts.
    Bob

  • Elaine McFadden

    My MacBook Pro is only a year and a half old and the video card has completely died. First started freezing anytime I would try and open iMovie, GarageBand, Photoshop, or any website with video.

    Took it in and Genius told me not to back up with time macchine as the “glitch” might transfer after they reformat my hard drive. Told me to transfer data my opening two finder folder and copy and paste. Computer froze and 75GB (thousands) of graphics off my hard drive. Gone

    Went back and was told “that can happen.” Why would they tell me to do something that would cause me to lose data? I am crushed. Have a radio show and those were all my files for show and website, plus hundreds more was planning to add to my site.

    Go back and they give me a card for someone that charges $900 to $2500 to find my files. Don’t have that money so call Apple phone tech. Tell me to go to Apple store and buy software recovery program.

    Go there and they haven’t sold for two years. Tech finds on his Apple Store computer sold by third party. I pay $100. In process of entering my credit card info on their computer, someone saw my info and a few hours later my identity is stolen.

    My data lost, identity stolen, and computer now died completely after I tried to open iMovie out of desperation to complete a video project. Would work in no video programs, but now just blue screen. Took video of all of the weird things doing first.

    Think mine had the interim AVD video card, 2011 model. Think my computer is a sign that others will be following with this problem. People should be warned.

    This is a huge loss. Sent a nine page letter to Apple corporate got no response.

    Mine probably went out before others because I did use iMovie and processed video and sent to YouTube.

    Was holding out for chance of getting my data back somehow and making Apple pay for loss of a year and a half worth the work. Trying to decide what I should do from here.

    Was going to send out a press release outline my Apple experience so perhaps others can learn from what happened to me.

    #1 want my data back and a computer that works. My six year old PC still works where my @2,500 Apple broken after a year and a half.

    Obviously a hardware defect.

    Suggestions welcome.

  • pat

    Bravo Seattle Rex. I have precisely the same feelings wrt Apple Corporate egotism and will not buy any more Apple products myself. I had painful billing issues with Sprint and after reading several blogs on successfully suing Big Corporate in small claims was ready to truck down to the Renton Courthouse, pay the court fee and see them in Court. I was not looking forward to the hassle and after threatening their executive customer service office (apparently with some plausability) we came to agreement which knocked my monthly bill down $100/month.

    Guys like you are true mentors and role models for little guys looking for some semblance of justice. And the entertainment of your prose helps too! :)

  • Reuben Ware

    I have taken my macbook pro 17 to two genius bars and, even though they were nice, told me to use it for a boat anchor or something like that, and they were not going to give me any help except for that suggestion. It’s a shame that a know problem is existing with this model and they won’t take care of it for everybody who has purchased that model. I really have bad feelings about every buying another apple product again.

    • Well, Reuben, I feel you, but you can’t just get angry. These companies bank on the fact that you’ll just get angry, blow off a little steam online, and then move on.

      What you, and everyone else that’s been effected needs to do, is march down to your local courthouse, and file suit. Yes, it’s a pain, yes it’s time consuming, yes it will cost some money, but you can do it, and you can win.

      Apple doesn’t really care if an individual person does or doesn’t buy an Apple product again. Apple doesn’t even care if 10,000 or 100,000 people never buy an Apple product again. They’ll just jack the margins on the remaining customers, who will gladly pay the difference, and reap record profits again.

      The only way Apple will do the right thing, is if you force them to do the right thing.

      Have your day in court.

      You may win, you may lose, but either way, you’ll have done the right thing.

      If everyone who is angry would have filed suit, this issue would be solved by now, for everyone.

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