Apple Store employees and customers

What you need to know

  • A class action lawsuit began against Apple in 2016
  • The lawsuit focuses on replacement devices through the AppleCare+ protection plan
  • It claims that replacing devices with refurbished models breaks Apple's own terms

Apple has been replacing broken iPhones covered under AppleCare+ with refurbished models for years. Apparently, that is not sitting well with a number of people.

Reported by 9to5Mac, a judge today certified a federal class-action lawsuit against the company and moved the proceedings forward. The plaintiffs, Vicky Maldonado and Joanne McRight, argue that replacing broken iPhones with a refurbished device violates Apple's own terms and conditions of AppleCare+, which promises "new or equivalent to new" replacements.

U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick today issued an order certifying a class of consumers against Apple in a class-action lawsuit accusing the tech company of issuing refurbished replacement products to consumers under its AppleCare and AppleCare+ protection plans, despite promises of "new or equivalent to new" replacements, according to Hagens Berman. In the order issued Sept. 17, 2019, Judge Orrick also denied Apple's motion for summary judgment.

According to the plaintiffs, Apple has violated the Consumers Legal Remedies Act, California's False Advertising Law, and California's Unfair Competition. The lawsuit is being handled by law firm Hagens Berman, the same firm that won another class-action lawsuit against Apple for price fixing eBooks in 2013. Apple argues that the refurbished devices given as replacement models under its protection plans are satisfactory

For its part, Apple says that it considers a device equivalent to new if it "meets the same engineering specifications as a new device." The company also "has the same quality standards for new and remanufactured devices, and it goes through the same process to qualify the remanufactured products for distribution to consumers."

The lawsuit seeks damages for consumers who paid for AppleCare or AppleCare+, as well as those who paid the additional cost for device replacement, and did not receive a new device. The firm is looking for Apple to pay consumers for the difference in cost of the refurbished devices that were given and the new devices that they claim should have been offered. The full press release can be found on Hagens Berman's website.