Apple has been presented with a class-action lawsuit filed by customers who say the expensive electronics giant replaced their damaged devices with used models.
More specifically, the suit [PDF] filed to the Northern California District Court alleges the Cupertino behemoth has been replacing damaged or defective devices with factory-refurbished units that were presented as new.
According to the complaint, the aggrieved customers say that their AppleCare service plans should allow them to have their devices replaced with new units. The class seeks to represent customers who purchased Apple hardware with the AppleCare replacement plan and then received replacement devices from Apple when their old devices broke.
The claim centers around the plaintiffs' own definition of "new," alleging that the only replacements they should have received under their AppleCare replacement plans were in fact brand new hardware, not units that were factory refurbished by Apple.
"The Apple Plans purport to provide consumers with devices that are 'equivalent to new in performance and reliability.' What that phrase means is 'new,' as refurbished devices can never be the equivalent to new in performance and reliability," the filing reads.
"Plaintiffs allege that it means refurbished. Refurbished is synonymous with the term 'reconditioned,' that is, a secondhand unit that has been modified to appear to be new for all purposes relevant to this litigation."
Thus, the suit claims, customers who paid for replacements under the AppleCare plan had the right to expect a factory new device, and by instead giving them previously-owned factory refurbs, Apple failed to hold up its end of the agreement.
The suit seeks damages under the claims that Apple violated a host of laws including breach of contract, false advertising, fraud, and unfair competition. They are seeking a jury trial to decide damages.
Apple has yet to file a response with the court. ®