Apple Barred from Using ‘Remanufactured’ iPads as Warranty Replacements

Apple iPad 9.7"

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A Dutch judge, ruling from the Subdistrict Court of Amsterdam, recently handed down a judgment mandating that Apple can no longer replace broken or malfunctioning iPad units, while they’re still covered under warranty, with those that have been “remanufactured,” but will have to supply a brand-new iPad instead.

According to Netherlands-based publication, Tweakers, the case originated back in 2015 when a woman who purchased a brand-new iPad Air 2 — and covered it with an AppleCare protection plan — began experiencing Wi-Fi issues within just four months of taking it home. In response, Apple allegedly supplied the plaintiff with a “remanufactured” iPad Air 2, which the company claims is a delicate process by which damaged products are reconstituted by “the same production and inspection procedures” as brand-new products.

Displeased with the company’s justification for replacing her brand-new, still under warranty iPad with a remanufactured iPad, the woman ultimately decided to take the company to court.

After hearing the case, the judge then decided in the woman’s favor, stating “a remanufactured version of the iPad is not enough.” More specifically, the judge suggested that the purchase state of the original iPad should be the basis for determining its replacement — in other words, that a brand-new iPad (if covered under warranty) should be replaced with a brand-new iPad, and a remanufactured iPad with a remanufactured iPad, alternatively.

“If a plaintiff had purchased a refurbished or replacement iPad, Apple may replace it with a refurbished or replacement copy,” the judge said, according to a translated version of the briefing that was recently published by de Rechtspraak. “But if the consumer, as in this case, purchased a new iPad, she is entitled to a new iPad as a replacement.”

Apple has sometimes used the terms to reflect a conceptual similarity, however the process of “refurbishing” is actually a bit different, and less invasive, than “remanufacturing.” Whereas the process of refurbishing a used product entails that it must go through a multi-point certification process, and is thoroughly examined before being reissued to customers in the general market at a lower price-point, the process of remanufacturing is actually a more rigorous, detailed process by which products are rebuilt — sometimes using new components — and must adhere to the same standards as a brand-new product before they are distributed.

Unfortunately for Apple, the company’s argument that a remanufactured device is just as good as a brand-new one, as was its stance in this case, hasn’t bode well. And not only was the woman ordered to be given a new iPad Air 2, but the judge ruled that Apple will have to pay her €100 ($109.25) for every day she had to wait for a sufficient replacement.

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