Apple has been hit with a new class action lawsuit accusing the company of knowingly selling iMac and MacBook devices without dust filters.
The suit was first publicized by Hagens Berman, the law firm handling the case, on Wednesday. It accuses Apple of selling certain Mac products without dust filters over their air vents — knowing that it could cause problems for those devices later.
Air vents and fans are a basic feature of most computers and allow them to intake air to keep their components cool. What the lawsuit alleges is that Apple did not implement any system to mitigate dust entering a Mac’s internals through these vents.
As far as what those problems entail, the lawsuit alleges that some Mac owners experience dark smudges or discoloration on the interior of their computer screens. Others report excessive slowdowns or overheating issues due to dust getting trapped inside the machines.
Specifically, impacted devices named in the lawsuit include iMac, iMac Pro, MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air models made between 2013 and 2018.
The lawsuit also accuses Apple of charging too much money to repair dust-plagued Mac computers. It alleges that Apple staff had charged customers with out-of-warranty Macs upwards of $600 to fix the problems (and adds that the “fix” could have been as simple as wiping down the interior of a display).
Currently, Hagen Berman is representing Kim Ahern, Nikolas Frenzel, and Justin Evans — but the law firm is actively recruiting more plaintiffs.
Of the current plaintiffs, one is reportedly a photographer who noticed dark smudges on her Mac display; another paid $600 to get rid of dark smudges on his Mac; and a third had to have his motherboard and display replaced “multiple times” due to dust-related problems.
Hagen Berman’s co-founder and managing partner, Steve Berman, said that Apple “failed to remedy one of the most simple and well-known problems in the technology community — the accumulation of dust.”
“This filter defect is costing Apple owners hundreds of dollars in repairs, and Apple refuses to take responsibility,” Berman added.
Lawsuit allegations aside, it’s worth noting that reports of dark smudges or spots are pretty common on Reddit, the Apple Support Communities, and other social media platforms. While it isn’t clear how widespread the issue is, it does seem to be common enough to warrant concern.
The case is being handled through the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose.
Specifically, the lawsuit is seeking a half of the “unfair and/or deceptive acts or practices” and damage payments — which could include payments up to $5,000 for class action members who are seniors or disabled.
“We intend to hold Apple accountable for this costly defect affecting millions of its computers,” Berman said.