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Advice regarding consumer rights claim vs Apple (on a MacBook Pro)

  • #2
    Registered Users Posts: 596 ✭✭✭ rm212


    Hi all,

    I'm currently engaged with Apple's Executive Relations team in Cork regarding a consumer law claim for a device which I own. The device is a 2017 MacBook Pro 15 inch device, which cost a little above a whopping 3,000EUR when I bought it direct from Apple in June 2017.

    Unfortunately, the screen on this model has developed issues and is no longer working properly, displaying a line multiple pixels thick down the centre of the screen which varies in thickness when the laptop screen is tilted or opened/closed. This problem is actually an extremely common manufacturing defect which has been widely reported on and affects a huge number of consumers:

    The above are just a few sources of the thousands written on this issue, including teardowns and videos of the device showing the design flaw. It is due to the ribbon cable, which connects the screen to the body, not being made long enough when designed by Apple. As a result, through opening and closing the laptop (normal use), the cable gets damaged as it gets pulled tight over a sharp edge inside the MacBook housing. Apple have started a service program for this issue, but only for the 13 inch 2016 models, despite it also impacting 2016 and 2017 models of both 13 and 15 inch sizes.

    Based on the above, I think there is extremely clear evidence that the device is both fit for purpose, as it cannot be opened and closed as per normal laptop use without damaging the device, and it is not of merchantable quality, as the ribbon cable inside should not be of such poor design and quality that it gains damage through normal use of the item. As such, the Sale of Goods & Supply of Services Act should entitle me to a repair, replacement or a full refund. Furthermore, as this is an internal design issue, and research online has led me to believe that this cannot be repaired adequately by Apple, as the repaired ribbon cable will fail again due to the same design flaw further down the line, I believe that a repair option would be excluded as the repair would not be fit for purpose or of merchantable quality, so a replacement or refund should be offered.

    I laid out all of this information in a polite but firm, legally worded formal letter to Apple and only a day later received a response from their executive relations team in Cork who deal with high-level consumer rights claims and other escalated support issues. They have authority to authorise almost any remedy.

    Unfortunately, since then, I've been given a response of: 'your case is still in investigation', over the past two weeks of waiting. The agent just called me this morning and said that he still does not have the information needed to make a decision, and needs to liaise with internal legal teams. It became clear to me from his response that he has been spending this time trying to find any way to worm out of a replacement for me.

    For example, on the call, he told me there are 'a lot of moving parts' to consumer law and that 'it only applies in very specific circumstances'; also, that' these circumstances can change depending on situation'. I don't personally agree with any of that, I actually think that the SOGA is very explicit and straightforward. He said to me that he was 'investigating the possibility that Apple would have had to be notified of the problem within 24 months, despite the act covering 6 years in total'. I informed him that this was incorrect and that he was probably thinking of the EU directive which we didn't implement as our act supercedes that. He also informed me that he found some information where the exclusion period for computers was three years, rather than six. I also told him that this is not true and there is no specific exclusionary period for computers. It appears to me that he doesn't have much knowledge of the law, which is surprising for someone in Apple's executive relations, who have surely dealt with SOGA before? He's just trying to get out of having to cover me, from what I can see.

    About a week after making contact, I sent a more polite email trying a different tact to see if they'd expedite this for me, as I don't want to drag this on for months. I told them that I'm a very loyal customer (indeed I am, 4 iPhones over the last 10 years, an Apple Watch, MacBook Pro, 2 iPads, AirPods, I'm a subscriber to Music and TV) and that this device has been a very disappointing experience for me; having spent over 3000EUR I expected a far longer life than the 3.5 years it took for the problems to begin with this device and this is the only Apple device which I've ever had issues with. As a loyal customer, I asked if they would consider approving a replacement for this incredibly disappointing experience rather than dragging out this process of claiming for an issue which I am fully entitled to be remedied for, however, it doesn't appear that this worked, as it seems like he's still doing all he can to try to find things to stop me claiming.

    Can anyone verify that they think my claims are legitimate and almost certain to quality for SOGA, as I think they are, and if you have any advice on what to do? They seem intent on making this quite a painful process and their updates are little more than new (incorrect) things that they try to find to go against my claim. It's very frustrating, especially considering I have read a lot about their executive relations team online and other people with issues like mine got a replacement quite quickly without much hassle or trouble from them.

    Thanks for taking the time to read and respond,

    Rob.



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