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Apple is facing the prospect of a new class-action lawsuit after a judge decided the company knowingly sold defective MacBook Pro laptops.
The problems started back in 2016 when Apple launched the Touch Bar generation of MacBook Pro, and with it made a terrible internal design decision. The display was connected to its base using a very thin and flimsy ribbon cable, which was also wrapped around a hinge. Whenever the MacBook Pro was fully opened, this cable got pulled tight and over time it became damaged and ultimately failed.
iFixit revealed the design fault and ultimately it ended up being referred to as “flexgate.” For owners, the damage would first become apparent as a “stage light” effect at the bottom of the screen, with the backlight displaying in bands. Eventually the backlight would fail completely. At the time, Apple wouldn’t even talk about it, but instead quietly fixed the problem in 2019. This resulted in many MacBook Pro repairs costing customers around $600 for what was actually a $6 ribbon cable fault.
As 9To5Mac reports, Apple’s poor handling of the fault resulted in a lawsuit being filed, which inevitably escalated to seek class action lawsuit status. U.S. District Judge Edward Davila reviewed the application and has concluded Apple did knowingly sell defective laptops. As Law360 explains, Davila said, “The court finds that the allegations of pre-release testing in combination with the allegations of substantial customer complaints are sufficient to show that Apple had exclusive knowledge of the alleged defect.”
The judge did trim the proposed class action, removing claims Apple hid the defect, but will allow the inclusion of Apple deleting Official Apple Support Community posts complaining about the issue because it acts as further evidence Apple knew there was a defect.
The lawsuit only covers 15-inch models of the MacBook Pro because Apple did eventually offer a Display Backlight Service Program for the 13-inch models. For some reason the 15-inch models were not included in that program, but Apple may now be wishing they had been. Apple is already facing one class-action lawsuit over the MacBook butterfly keyboard problems, so its legal department is going to be kept very busy.
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