The Apple Watch is the subject of the latest round of litigation against Apple, Inc., with a new lawsuit alleging every model of the product suffers a defect that can cause its touchscreen to “crack, shatter, or detach” from the body of the watch, sometimes only “days or weeks after purchase.” Filed by a Colorado resident, the proposed class action further alleges Apple knew its watches—the Series 0, Series 1, Series 2 and Series 3 models—were defective at or before the time they became available to the public.
Included in the complaint are the following images of the plaintiff’s Apple Watch.
The complaint alleges Apple employs an internal policy of outright denying the existence of any defect. Apple allegedly shifts the blame for the defect on “accidental damage” caused by users, which the case says provides a convenient out for the company to refuse to replace Apple Watch screens under the company’s limited warranty.
Apple’s apparent stance on addressing the alleged screen defect has put some consumers in difficult (and possibly expensive) positions. Referencing complaints from numerous consumers whose device screens have supposedly failed prematurely, the lawsuit claims Apple Watch users are left with only a few options, each less ideal than the last:
They can pay over $200 to repair an already expensive Watch; they can purchase AppleCare+ for at least $49 (and then pay an additional $69 service fee for each incident); they can purchase a new Apple Watch; or they can simply not use their Watch. Under any option, consumers must either pay more for the continued use of an already expensive Watch or be deprived of its use entirely.”
The complaint charges that while Apple has flatly refused to acknowledge any defect in its Apple Watch screens, the sheer volume of consumer complaints at the company’s retail stores and online “leave no doubt that Apple is fully aware of the defect.” To date, Apple has not recalled any of its watches or offered customers suitable repairs free of charge.
Consumer Complaints from the Get-Go
According to the 30-page lawsuit, consumers began filing complaints about the Series 0 Apple Watch—made available with “Ion-X glass” or “Sapphire crystal” screens—shortly after its release in April 2015, with the first grievances stemming from screens “spontaneously detaching” from the body of some customers’ watches. Apple denied that its Series 0 watch suffered any defect, the case says, but in 2017 acknowledged that some watches were stricken with a “swollen battery” issue. Later that year, Apple, while refraining from any admission of a defect, extended its warranty coverage for Series 0 watches to include devices with detached back covers.
“Apple did not admit a general defect in Series 0 Watches and has refused to extend the Limited Warranty to defective Watches that it believes do not contain a swollen battery,” the suit points out.
The Series 1 and Series 2 Apple Watches hit the market in September 2016 after Apple ceased manufacturing the Series 0, the suit continues. The new models quickly drew the ire of consumers who complained the screens on their devices cracked, shattered, or separated from the body of their watches entirely. Another apparent defect seemed to present itself as well, according to the case:
Purchasers of the Series 1 and Series 2 Watches have also reported the appearance of hairline cracks running vertically and horizontally along the perimeter of their Watch screens, while others have reported that their screens shattered.”
Like with the Series 0, Apple has not publicly acknowledged that anything is wrong with the screens on its watches.
How Can I Be Part of this Lawsuit? Who’s Covered by It?
The lawsuit seeks to cover all current and former Apple Watch owners—spanning all generations of the device—in the United States. The case alternatively seeks to represent consumers in Colorado who own or used to own any series of Apple Watch.
As always, please keep in mind that you don’t have to do anything to join a class action lawsuit. If you’re affected, you will receive notice when and if the case settles. As always, you can check back with ClassAction.org for updates.