Man sues Apple for $1,383 over refusal to repair an iPhone 12 that was under warranty

midian182

Posts: 7,306   +65
Staff member
In brief: We're used to hearing about Apple being sued for millions or even billions of dollars, but the figure being demanded in this case is a lot smaller. A San Francisco man has filed a lawsuit against Cupertino for $1,383.13, the total cost of an iPhone 12 that Apple refused to fix despite it still being under warranty.

Insider reports that Theodore A. Kim's lawsuit, filed in small claims court, is the result of Apple employees refusing to repair his iPhone 12, which he claims is under warranty until October 2022.

According to Kim, he bought the iPhone 12 from an authorized Apple seller in Vietnam in October 2020. Upon returning to the US during the pandemic, the phone struggled to read US SIM cards. He phoned Apple and was told to bring the handset into one of its local retail outlets.

Kim said that not only did Apple refuse to fix the handset, the company also returned it to him with a broken SIM tray.

"And so I brought it into the store and they sent it to the repair depot — then they came back and said, 'Yeah, we're not going to fix this because it's been tampered with.' And I said: 'Tampered with in what way?'"

A few weeks after his iPhone 12 was returned to him, Kim filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Apple responded by saying that if the device had been damaged while in its possession, the company would have repaired it.

Apple says it now considers the matter closed. Kim, desperate to get his phone working, offered to pay for the repairs out of his own pocket, but Apple refused that option, too.

Kim even tried sending an email to Tim Cook in late June, asking for the Apple CEO's help in resolving the matter. Not entirely surprisingly, Kim is still waiting for a reply, so he turned to the small claims court to try and get the phone's $1,383.13 cost returned.

"I found a blog post of someone in Seattle successfully suing Apple in small claims court," Kim said. That 2012 case involved a blogger taking Apple to the SCC after his 2008 MacBook Pro's graphics card stopped working.

"So I said, 'Well, OK, why don't I try the same avenue,'" he said. "I kind of jokingly said, 'Well, this is like a David and Goliath kind of situation.' We'll see what happens."

Apple, as we all know, has long been an adversary of the right to repair movement, unlike rival Microsoft. We recently heard that replacing the iPhone 13's display will stop Face ID from working—unless, that is, Apple carries out the repairs.

Permalink to story.

 

m4a4

Posts: 2,616   +3,226
TechSpot Elite
Sounds about right. I remember LTT breaking a Mac of theirs and Apple refusing to fix it, even though they offered to pay for all the repairs. And even though they're such a well known media company (so think of what they're willing to do against normal customers from time to time).

So, unless the guy is absolutely wasting money on something he actually did break/tamper with, this'll be interesting to see if Apple now tries resolving this quickly (since it's gaining media attention).
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,056   +877
Apples warranty and after sales service is literally the best in the world for phones. Try getting a replacement Samsung or Sony device on a warranty, it’s much more difficult. At least with Apple you can walk into a store and they will just replace/fix it in front of you. Almost all other manufacturers require you to go without a phone for a few weeks whilst they device if they want to bother helping you. On top of this you can almost guarantee that a third party phone repair shop can fix an iPhone and will usually have the parts for it.

I do hope this man gets his device repaired, it does sound like we might not be hearing the full story. But I think he stands a much better chance with Apple than other users do with alternative manufacturers.
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 572   +925
Apples warranty and after sales service is literally the best in the world for phones. Try getting a replacement Samsung or Sony device on a warranty, it’s much more difficult. At least with Apple you can walk into a store and they will just replace/fix it in front of you. Almost all other manufacturers require you to go without a phone for a few weeks whilst they device if they want to bother helping you. On top of this you can almost guarantee that a third party phone repair shop can fix an iPhone and will usually have the parts for it.

I do hope this man gets his device repaired, it does sound like we might not be hearing the full story. But I think he stands a much better chance with Apple than other users do with alternative manufacturers.
My experience with repairing my iPhone has not been what you describe at all. I've made service appointments with two different Apple authorized service providers (Best Buy's because that's all I have near me) and both times they returned my phone to me telling me they couldn't repair it because they didn't have the part (a battery) nor did they know when/if they would receive the part. Their recommendation for me was literally to try again/come back later. This had nothing to do with warranty either; I went in knowing the cost would be out of pocket.
 

trparky

Posts: 979   +1,074
Apples warranty and after sales service is literally the best in the world for phones. Try getting a replacement Samsung or Sony device on a warranty, it’s much more difficult. At least with Apple you can walk into a store and they will just replace/fix it in front of you.
My brother had an excellent experience with the Apple Store and his iPhone as well. He's a soldier in the US Army and while on a training mission, a rock had landed on his iPhone and completely destroyed the device. We're talking internal damage to the battery, logic board, and obviously the screen itself. He took it into the local Apple Store, the person who he was assigned to him winced as he saw the device and asked what happened to it. My brother, of course, told him what happened. The Apple Store employee asked him if he was alright which really surprised him, the store employee cared that he, himself, wasn't injured when the incident happened.

To make a long story short, he walked out of the Apple Store that day with a new device in hand completely happy.

When my brother told me that, my response was... that's why you buy it at an Apple Store and you get Apple Care Plus. That right there is the reason.
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,056   +877
My experience with repairing my iPhone has not been what you describe at all. I've made service appointments with two different Apple authorized service providers (Best Buy's because that's all I have near me) and both times they returned my phone to me telling me they couldn't repair it because they didn't have the part (a battery) nor did they know when/if they would receive the part. Their recommendation for me was literally to try again/come back later. This had nothing to do with warranty either; I went in knowing the cost would be out of pocket.
Do you have any non Apple authorised phone service shops near you? From my experience Apple themselves are great if you go into their actual stores and only if the device is within warranty. Outside of that I’ve had really good experiences from third party phone repair shops. iPhones are so common that most repair shops will almost certainly be able to fix your phone. At least it’s more likely that they will have iPhone parts than parts for any other phone.
 

Burty117

Posts: 4,272   +2,361
Apples warranty and after sales service is literally the best in the world for phones. Try getting a replacement Samsung or Sony device on a warranty, it’s much more difficult. At least with Apple you can walk into a store and they will just replace/fix it in front of you. Almost all other manufacturers require you to go without a phone for a few weeks whilst they device if they want to bother helping you.
Disagree to an extent, I moved from my iPhone 6 Plus to a Sony Xperia XZ Premium and had to use warranty 3 times on the iPhone (camera kept failing) and also had to send off my Sony for repair (speakers stopped working) and Sony got my phone repaired and back to me in 3 days.

Apple you're right, you can pop into a store and they can do it their and then. Which meant travelling into London for me. Looking back on it, probably should have gone for the mail order repair.
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,056   +877
Disagree to an extent, I moved from my iPhone 6 Plus to a Sony Xperia XZ Premium and had to use warranty 3 times on the iPhone (camera kept failing) and also had to send off my Sony for repair (speakers stopped working) and Sony got my phone repaired and back to me in 3 days.

Apple you're right, you can pop into a store and they can do it their and then. Which meant travelling into London for me. Looking back on it, probably should have gone for the mail order repair.
Yeah if you’re far away from an Apple store then Apples service is probably no better than other manufacturers. I just go by my own experience, I’ve only ever had to do 2 warranty replacements (iPhone 4 lock button got stuck and ipad 6th gen stopped charging) and both were in an Apple store in Bangkok, over 10,000 kilometres away from where I bought the original devices (U.K.) and it was completely seamless.

However I lead a rugged lifestyle lol and used to at least crack a lot of screens. For repairing cracked screens Apple want your leg to pay for it but phone repair shops to so them for a fraction of the price and it’s just as good. Although I must say the newer models are far more robust, I’ve not cracked my 2 year old 11 pro max yet. Either that or I’m taking better care of them.
 

eforce

Posts: 592   +738
This is why I always buy expensive stuff on credit card (and pay off straight away), so if they try any funny business, it's charge back time.
 

Adorerai

Posts: 94   +57
Apple usually documents anything that’s broken or isn’t working before they service the device in my experience. If it comes back with undocumented damage, I’d be inclined to believe the customer.

I’ve tried to have an apple watch 3 screen repaired because of a recall where the screen would crack along the corner. Someone at the apple store looked over it, verified the screen wasn’t cracked because of some other reason and sent it in. But then I got an email from Apple with photos that showed damage to the casing, and the repair was declined.
 

Mr Majestyk

Posts: 928   +821
If there is a more toothless tiger than the BBB I'd like to know, so that was a mistake contacting those clowns expecting any action. They have no power.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,356   +2,655
Apple usually documents anything that’s broken or isn’t working before they service the device in my experience. If it comes back with undocumented damage, I’d be inclined to believe the customer.

I’ve tried to have an apple watch 3 screen repaired because of a recall where the screen would crack along the corner. Someone at the apple store looked over it, verified the screen wasn’t cracked because of some other reason and sent it in. But then I got an email from Apple with photos that showed damage to the casing, and the repair was declined.

Reading both the positive and the negative stories seems like either not all "geniuses" are trained equal, or (more likely in my opinion) they're given conflicting goals to deny a certain percentage of warranty claims: Wouldn't be the first or last or even all that uncommon for a company to basically push their employees on conflicting performance metrics: Deny as many claims as you can but also somehow maintain a good customer satisfaction score.