A proposed class action lawsuit claims Lenovo’s Flex 5 and Yoga 730 devices suffer from a screen defect that’s made worse by using the 2-in-1 tablet/laptops as they were designed and advertised to be used.
According to the 39-page complaint, the defect stems from the “ordinary stress” of transitioning Lenovo’s popular devices between laptop and tablet mode. More specifically, the plaintiff alleges that the DisplayPort cable, which connects a computer’s display to the body of the machine, is “poorly routed” and generally compromised by the 360-degree hinge that allows the screen to fold between tablet and laptop mode.
“If the eDP cable is poorly routed, opening and moving the display (such as when folding the monitor into tablet or tent mode) could loosen the cable and lead to the issues associated with the Defect,” the case relays.
Per the suit, the pervasive defect can cause the devices’ screens to flicker, freeze, black out or display a grey screen marked by vertical lines, impairing a consumer’s overall ability to use products touted by Lenovo as durable, elegantly designed and capable of offering “vivid detail from every angle.”
As a result of Lenovo’s knowingly false and misleading advertising, many consumers have bought Flex 5 or Yoga 730 laptops that “became practically unusable after months or even days of use,” the lawsuit, filed in Delaware federal court, alleges.
“Consequently, the Class Laptops are not fit for their intended purpose as 2-in-1 laptop computers and cannot satisfy the representations Lenovo made in its marketing materials and warranties,” according to the complaint.
“Difficult” to use at best, lawsuit says
The world’s largest personal computer vendor by unit sales as of March 2019, Lenovo launched its Yoga family of computers in 2012 under the representation that the devices, as indicated by their name, afforded the flexibility to assume multiple forms thanks to a hinged screen, the case relays. Since 2012, Lenovo has released at least 20 new devices under the Yoga and Flex brand names, including the laptops at issue in this case—the Flex 5, available with 14- or 15-inch screen sizes, and the Yoga 730, available in 13- or 15-inch screen sizes.
The suit stresses Lenovo marketed both devices as high-quality 2-in-1 touchscreen laptops that, thanks to a “versatile” 360-degree hinge, could easily be flipped into tablet mode to browse the web or “tent mode” to stream a show. Importantly, Lenovo promises through its limited warranty that its products are free from material or workmanship defects under normal use and assured that the Flex 5 and Yoga 730 laptops were fully functioning 2-in-1 devices able to perform all the basic functions of similar laptops, the lawsuit emphasizes.
Despite Lenovo’s representations, however, the defect plaguing the monitor display of the Flex 5 and Yoga 730 devices renders the computers difficult to use at best and “often impossible” at worst given a user “cannot see their own input or the computer’s visual output.”
Compounding matters is the fact that using the device as intended, i.e., switching back and forth between tablet and laptop modes, only seems to worsen the defect, the lawsuit says.
“According to Plaintiff and other Flex 5 and Yoga 730 Laptop owners who have experienced the Defect, the display problems are triggered and exacerbated when the display is opened or moved, such as when the user folds the monitor into tent or tablet mode,” according to the case, reiterating that Lenovo’s devices altogether cannot perform as the company has warranted.
The plaintiff claims the screen defect manifested only weeks after his purchase of a Flex 5 and got progressively worse over time, “greatly diminishing his ability to use the machine.” After a few months, the suit says, the plaintiff’s display began blacking out entirely, “rendering the computer unusable.” Per the case, the defect would flare up “after only minutes of use” and sometimes as soon as the computer was turned on.
The suit adds that the consumer also spent money on a stylus to use with his Flex 5 in tablet mode yet has been unable to use the product given the extent of the screen defect.
Repairs under warranty? Good luck, plaintiff claims
Lenovo has acknowledged in communications with Flex 5 and Yoga 730 owners that the screen problem is linked to a wiring issue but has otherwise been “unable or unwilling to address” the true extent and scope of the problem, the lawsuit claims. According to the case, Lenovo is “often unable to fix the Defect” during a user’s warranty period and “routinely refuses” to conduct repairs free of charge once the warranty period expires.
According to the complaint, the plaintiff twice sent his $1,049.99 Flex 5 to Lenovo for repairs under the company’s limited warranty. The first time around, in June 2018, the defendant failed to fix the problem. In January 2019, after sending his device to Lenovo for a second time, the plaintiff again found his screen flickering and blacking out, the suit says.
In February 2019, the plaintiff again reached out to Lenovo about repairing his Flex 5 but was told that his warranty had expired and that the company would not offer a free repair. Since then, the suit says, the plaintiff has been unable to use his Flex 5 unless it’s connected to an external monitor.
Included in the lawsuit are reams of customer comments that are markedly similar to the plaintiff’s claims. Yet even with “hundreds, if not thousands” of complaints posted to its own online forum dating back almost three years, Lenovo has mounted an entirely inadequate response to the 2-in-1 screen defect, the suit charges.
Many customers who attempted to exercise their rights under the warranty were told the display issues were the result of a software problem and were told to install or update software, which did not fix the Defect. And when Lenovo accepted a Class Laptop for repair under the warranty, it often replaced the screen, ‘rerouted’ the eDP cable, or merely taped it into place. None of these purported repairs remedied the display issues, because none addressed the Defect.”
Who’s covered by this lawsuit?
The lawsuit looks to cover a class of consumers nationwide, excluding Minnesota residents, who bought a Lenovo Flex 5 or Yoga 730 laptop. The case additionally seeks coverage for a Washington-only subclass who fit the same criteria.
I bought a Lenovo Flex 5 or Yoga 730. How can I join the suit?
There’s generally nothing you need to do to join or be considered a part of a class action lawsuit. It typically takes a while for a class action case to work its way through the legal system, usually toward either a settlement or dismissal, which is to say it might be a while before the time comes for consumers—or “class members”—to submit claims for whatever compensation the court feels is appropriate.
In short, it’s generally only if and when a suit settles that consumers need to take action. If you believe you’ve been affected by a company’s alleged conduct, the best thing to do is to stay informed and check back with ClassAction.org for updates.
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