Apple has said it will pay $95 million to settle a proposed class action that alleged the tech heavyweight breached its contracts with some AppleCare customers by giving them remanufactured iPhone and iPad devices that were decidedly not as good as new in terms of performance and reliability.
In a 28-page motion asking the court to preliminarily approve the deal, the plaintiffs stressed that the proposed settlement is “an outstanding result” for AppleCare customers.
“While recovery at trial could have been higher, it also could have been much lower or zero,” the filing states.
The proposed settlement now awaits preliminary approval from United States District Judge William H. Orrick, who’s slated to make a decision on the deal at a hearing on October 20. ClassAction.org will update this page with any new developments.
The proposed class action was initially filed on July 20, 2016 in California’s Northern District Court.
You don’t want to miss out on settlement news like this. Sign up for ClassAction.org’s free weekly newsletter here.
Who’s covered by the settlement?
The proposed deal covers all individuals nationwide who bought AppleCare or AppleCare+, either directly or through the iPhone Upgrade Program, on or after July 20, 2012 and received a remanufactured replacement device.
How much can I get from the AppleCare settlement?
The motion for preliminary approval does not specify exactly how much consumers covered by the settlement will get. According to the filing, however, each class member will receive an equal amount per remanufactured replacement device they received from Apple.
It is estimated that consumers will recover in total between $63 and $68 million, with the rest of the settlement going toward administrative costs, attorneys’ fees and other expenses, court documents state.
How will I know if I’m covered by the settlement?
AppleCare customers covered by the settlement will be notified via email, court documents state. Apple will provide the settlement administrator with the names, addresses and email addresses for everyone included in the settlement. Postcard notices will be sent by regular mail to those who do not have valid email addresses on file.
Court filings state that more than four million consumers received prior notice of the lawsuit and should expect to receive a new notice regarding the settlement.
How do I get my money?
As it stands now, if you’re covered by the AppleCare settlement, you don’t have to do anything to receive your piece of the deal. Court documents state that all identified class members will automatically receive payment from the settlement.
If you do not receive notice of the settlement by mail or email, however, you will have to fill out an application on the official settlement website and request to be included.
If and when the settlement receives final approval, the last hurdle in the settlement process, consumers will be asked via email which payment method they prefer. Consumers can opt to receive payments via digital Visa/MasterCard, an ACH direct deposit into their bank account or a physical check.
How did we get here?
Apple offers protection plans – namely, AppleCare and AppleCare+ – whereby consumers can receive replacement devices, purportedly ones that are new or equivalent to new, in the event theirs is damaged. AppleCare covers defects in workmanship and materials, while AppleCare+ covers accidental damage.
In their initial lawsuit, the plaintiffs alleged Apple fell short of its obligation to provide AppleCare and AppleCare+ customers with replacement iPhones, iPads and other devices that were “equivalent to new in performance and reliability.” Although AppleCare customers understood “equivalent to new” to mean they’d receive a new device, Apple, the plaintiffs claimed, instead provided them with refurbished devices, built with a mix of used and new components sourced from devices returned to Apple, that could never be as good as new in terms of performance and reliability.
“Refurbished is synonymous with the term ‘reconditioned,’ that is, a secondhand unit that has been modified to appear to be new for all purposes relevant to this litigation,” the lawsuit argued. “’New’ means a Device that has never been utilized or previously sold and consists of all new parts.”
After the filing of an amended version of the suit in November 2016, Apple and the plaintiffs engaged in discovery – or the “fact-finding” phase – of the litigation. The plaintiffs called in three experts, an electrical engineering expert, a statistician and an economist, for their respective opinions on the reliability of remanufactured devices, the likelihood of remanufactured iPhones and iPads to fail when compared to new devices, and the cost difference between a new device and remanufactured device.
Apple attempted to squash the lawsuit, arguing that the case sought to cover an “overly broad” group of people. The court, in response, sided with the plaintiffs and ultimately certified the class – or gave the OK to the group of people the lawsuit sought to cover.
In the end, a June 30, 2021 mediation session was successful and gave way to the proposed settlement discussed on this page.
Where can I get more information?
More details on the settlement, including answers to frequently asked questions, can be found over at the official settlement website—https://replacementdevicelawsuit.com/.
The official site will be updated with more information as it becomes available.
What comes next?
The next step is for the proposed $95 million settlement to either receive preliminary approval from Judge Orrick or be sent back to the plaintiffs and Apple for retooling.
Get class action lawsuit news sent to your inbox – sign up for ClassAction.org’s free weekly newsletter here.