October 2014
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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.

41 comments to Update: Apple Satisfies

  • Michael


    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?


  • 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.

  • 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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