A U.S. District Judge on Wednesday certified a class action lawsuit alleging that Apple uses “inferior” products when replacing devices through AppleCare.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Vicky Maldondo and Joanna McRight, claim that Apple is violating its own AppleCare Terms and Conditions by offering refurbished devices as replacements for new ones.
Specifically, Apple’s terms state that the company will provide devices that are “equivalent to new in performance and reliability.”
On that note, the lawsuit alleges that “refurbished devices can never be the equivalent of new in performance and reliability.”
The complaint also goes on to define a “new” device as one that has never been used or sold previously and consists of all new parts. It also notes that the word “refurbished” only appears in the AppleCare+ terms and conditions once.
It’s worth noting that the AppleCare+ terms and conditions specifically say that Apple may “repair the defect using new or refurbished parts” — which is the one occurrence of that word that the lawsuit appears to be talking about.
The lawsuit is seeking compensation for iPhone, iPad or iPod device owners who bought AppleCare+ for their devices. The law firm behind the complaint is arguing that Apple should pay the difference between “devices that work like new and the inferior devices Apple provided class members.”
Apple Certified Refurbished
It’s worth noting that most users (or lawyers) would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between a new Apple device and an Apple Certified Refurbished product.
Every Certified Refurbished device undergoes an extremely thorough inspection before they become available for sale (in most cases, they’re more thoroughly inspected than new devices). Apple puts a new battery into every device and also replaces any parts that are broken or defective.
The company then cleans the devices and repackages them in a new box with all of the original accessories and manuals. Certified Refurbished devices, like new ones, are available with Apple’s one-year warranty — and you can add additional AppleCare+ coverage for them as well.
While they are technically cheaper than new Apple products, it’s tough to say that they’re objectively “inferior,” based on the fact that they look and function like new devices.