I Beat Apple

by Colin Berkshire

I won a lawsuit against Apple. I was awarded a cash settlement for my entire claim. Ha! How many people win against Apple? I’ll bet not many.

I have been a loyal Apple customer for 37 years.

As I described here,  about a year ago I purchased a MacBook Pro that was advertised as having “All Day Battery Life” and “Up to 10 hours of battery life.” This was a key feature to me since I travel so extensively. I am frequently on airplanes 10 hours at a time, and often have all-day periods when I just cannot bring along a power adapter. My previous (2012) MacBook Pro still gets 10 hour battery life.

My new “Late 2016 MacBook Pro” was averaging 3¾ hours of battery life, particularly when viewing PDF files. You would think that movies or games were the top battery hogs, but my experience is that simply having a PDF file open on screen would result in the computer running out of battery before the fourth hour.

I asked Apple for a refund. They refused, pointing to their stingy 15 day return policy.

I offered to Apple that I would settle for an exchange to their mid-year 2017 model with the same memory and speed, and would not make any future claim. They refused to even respond to that letter.

We were required to go to mediation first. They wouldn’t budge. There was no room for any compromise. Apple took a very hard-line view.

So we ended up in court.

The judge listened to me explain that I specifically shopped battery life before making the purchase, he listened to Apple Vice President Phil Schiller’s announcement that the model had “All Day Battery Life” and “Up to 10 Hours of Battery Life”.

The judge then asked Apple for their defense.

Apple’s perfectly groomed high-powered executive explained that “All Day Battery life” was just a figure of speech, not a promise, and that “Up To 10 Hour Battery Life” was fulfilled by the fact that the battery didn’t last more than 10 hours.

The judge then asked why Apple didn’t just give me my money back. Their response was that despite my having spent more than 100 hours diagnosing the problem over the course of dozens of phone cals I hadn’t done everything possible to mitigate the problem. While Apple admitted that the retail stores had no more diagnostics that they could perform on my unit, and Apple agreed that the computer only got 3 hours and 45 minutes of battery life, I should have brought the unit in to a store so that they could provide me with a holistic review.

The judge ran out of patience and told Apple he had heard enough. The Judge ruled from the bench that Apple had breached their contract because the Apple representations were a material part of the sale. Full judgment in my favor. Then, he added my court costs and postage costs — just so I wouldn’t be out a dime.

I will say this: Apple plays a good game of hardball. They are concurrently polite and aggressive. When it comes to finding compromise they are used to winning and there is no middle ground. The manager’s who were Apple’s witnesses concurred that it is their way or the highway and that they don’t stoop to giving customer’s money back simply because their products fail to perform.

Frankly I am surprised that the late 2016 MacBook Pro are not the subject of a class action lawsuit. I have every reason to believe that when viewing PDF files all of the computers of my model would perform less than Apple’s clearly stated promises.

I look forward to receiving their court mandated check. If it isn’t forthcoming by the court mandated timeframe I can place a lien on their new Apple Park corporate headquarters.

I have been an Apple customer for 37 years. It is embarrassing to see how much Apple has drifted from the highly ethical Steve Jobs’ Apple into a ruthless corporate thug.