Apple was hit with a new class action lawsuit today in California by customers who have purchased the company’s AppleCare and AppleCare+ plans to cover damages on iPhones and iPads.
At the heart of the lawsuit is Apple’s long-held policy to replace broken devices with units that the company claims are good as new in performance and reliability, even though they’re second-hand refurbished models.
The lawsuit was filed today in the Northern California District Court by Vicky Maldonado and Joanne McRight who are bringing the action on behalf of all persons who purchased an AppleCare and AppleCare+ plan for an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch after July 11, 2011.
The two defendants both purchased iOS devices and AppleCare+ and argue that they were negatively impacted economically when Apple swapped their devices for refurbished units that they claim cannot be considered new.
“‘New’ means a Device that has never been utilized or previously sold and consists of all new parts,” the defendant’s lawyers claim in court documents obtained by Cult of Mac. “The word ‘refurbished’ appears only once in the AppleCare+ terms and conditions even though the printed booklet is 33 pages long. The word is not even used to reference a device, but a part.”
Apple is being sued for breach of warranty, fraud and violations of the Consumers Legal Remedies Act. The group says that AppleCare+ is false advertisement as well because Apple charges customers $79.99 to replace devices that suffer accidental damage, but the replacements are not “equivalent to new” as promised, because “refurbished devices can never be the equivalent to new in performance and reliability.”
If Apple loses it could face a multi-billion-dollar fine to compensate customers who purchased AppleCare+ on their iOS devices, based on the damages claimed by the lawsuit.