Seattle Man Victorious Over Apple In Small Claims Court

Chalk up another win for the little guy! A blogger in Seattle says he just wanted Apple to repair his MacBook as the company had promised. When Apple refused, he felt he had no other option but to take the computing colossus to court.

He details the entire ordeal over at, but here are the finer points.

Some years back, he’d paid $4,000 for a MacBook, only to find it had a defective graphics chip. At the time, Apple said rather than refund his purchase, it promised to repair that part if/when it eventually failed.

That day eventually came, but Apple suddenly had amnesia and refused to replace the part for free. That’s how the two parties ended up in small claims court.

Before any actual hearing began, the judge asked the blogger and Apple if they would be amenable to arbitration. They agreed and went off to a room to chat for a few hours. Arbitration failed and it was back into court to argue their respective positions.

He says that Apple attempted to have the case dismissed by claiming that his computer was not part of the company’s replacement program because his CPU was clocked at 2.6Ghz, while the press release for the replacement program says 2.5Ghz.

The judge wasn’t buying that, nor was he apparently buying any of Apple’s arguments for why it should not have repaired the computer for free.

Writes the plaintiff:

Eventually, over the continued objections of the Apple folks (one of the guys kept arguing that I should give Apple one last chance to fix it), I was awarded a cash amount. The amount I was awarded is enough to replace the computer, which means that I should once again have a 17‚Ä≥ laptop. Assuming Apple actually pays me…

If Apple could have replaced my logic board at no cost to themselves, then why in the hell did they drag this out for so long, and why did they send two people to court to try and make sure that I got absolutely nothing? Friends, this is a question I have been asking myself for three months, and it is a question that I do not have the answer to…

[I]nstead of paying nothing for the repair, they paid a legal team to oversee the case, and, oh yeah … you guys, the shareholders, are buying me a new computer too.

Seattle Rex vs. Apple: The Verdict Is In [SeattleRex]


Edit Your Comment

  1. fatediesel says:

    They went through mediation, not arbitration.

    • Applekid ‚îÄ‚îÄ‚î¨ Ôªø„Éé( „Çú-„Çú„Éé) says:

      Correct. If it was arbitration, Apple would never fix his computer.

      • DJ Charlie says:

        Correction Correction: If it was arbitration, he would be owing Apple money!

        • GaijenSoft says:

          Correction to the correcting of the correction: If he lost arbitration, his brain would be merged with Apple’s Brainware computer, which is where all MobileMe and cloud service applications are hosted.

  2. Captain Spock says:

    “If Apple could have replaced my logic board at no cost to themselves”

    Just because it is a warranteed part, DOESN’T Mean it does not cost anything for Apple to replace it. If it was a manufacturing issue from a vendor MAYBE the part is free, but not the labor or lost time for the same associate to work on other issues.

    • Ben says:

      So you’re saying that when I use a coupon for a free Slurpee, 7-Eleven still has to pay for it? WHAT?!

      • TheMansfieldMauler says:

        That can’t be right. When you don’t pay for something, it’s completely free. Just ask Sandra Fluke.

        • Ben says:

          Actually, if contraception is free, insurance companies pay a little now, so they don’t have to pay a LOT later. Nice try, though.

          • Actionable Mango says:

            Contraception is permanent for life?!?!

          • voogru says:

            If that was true, then insurance companies would offer birth control for free without mandates.

            Don’t tell me greedy insurance companies would pass up free money.

    • Steve H. says:

      It was a problem with an Nvidia board, and Nvidia pays for the repair. So the assertion is correct that it would cost Apple nothing to repair this.

    • MrMagoo is usually sarcastic says:

      FTA: At one point, the judge asked Apple how much it would have cost them to have simply replaced my logic board when I had taken it in, and one of the Apple guys said “Oh, it wouldn’t have cost us anything, Nvidia foots the bill for each board we replace.”


    • xantec says:

      Of course the cost of repairing it, however much that may have been, would still have been less than sending a legal team to Seattle for one or more days and then paying the OP the cost of a new system.

    • 2 Replies says:

      I believe he meant no exorbitant cost…
      (such as paying for a legal team and dragging it through court).

  3. wbeem says:

    That’s quite a victory for a guy who wears bunny slippers to nightclubs. Congratulations, Rex. I admire your ability to tout at windmills and prevail.

    • blueman says:

      “…tout at windmills…”

      It’s “tilt at windmills.” See Don Quixote.

      • wbeem says:

        Please forgive my error. I was under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time while partying with strippers. I’m glad you were here to correct such a grievous offense.

        • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

          Next time take off your bunny slippers.

  4. GrayMatter says:

    Keep us informed, so we know HOW he collects. (Sheriff taking desks from Apple Store?)

    • dcarrington01 says:

      Just make sure to take the special desks that have the cash drawer semi-hidden!

    • Difdi says:

      Why take desks when he could have the Sheriff seize a new computer from the Apple store, worth exactly what Apple owes him?

  5. Cat says:

    4 G will buy a REALLY nice non-Apple laptop with money left over.

    • The Online Presence says:

      The prices are always exaggerated in these articles.

    • Jawaka says:

      Yup, and in three or four years we’ll read about how to then took HP, Dell, Toshiba, etc… to court for pretty much the same thing.

      The grass isn’t greener on the other side.

      • shepd says:

        But it is so much cheaper he can go through 3 or 4 high-end PC laptops before he’s matched the price of his Apple laptop.

        Most laptops seem to have at least a 90 day warranty on them, so that’s 1 year of guaranteed service. Some have 1 year of warranty on them, or even 2 or 3, so he might get up to 10 years of guaranteed service.

  6. The Online Presence says:

    $4,000 on a MacBook? I’m pretty sure he meant a MacBook Pro, but even so that price is nonsense.

    • OutPastPluto says:

      Where was it said that this guy bought the cheapest model and options available?

      Apple devices don’t start out cheap. They only get more expensive when you add more options.

      • The Online Presence says:

        I know they aren’t cheap, but they don’t cost that much either (peripherals don’t count).

        Plus, the NVIDIA replacement program actually only lasted for 3 years from its inception (as per the class action law suit) which has since expired considering the machines affected were manufactured from 2007 – 2008. This means it would have had to fail by end of 2011 at the latest.

    • GrimJack says:

      I just priced out a MacBook Pro on Apple’s store – just choosing the best of the options available to me (no additional external add-ons like monitors, etc). It came to $4100. My wife bought a MacBook Pro 3 years ago for 3k, and it was refurb model. I am always shocked at the prices Apple charges for their systems, especially now that they are running on the same components that non-Apple manufacturers use on systems that cost half as much…

      • The Online Presence says:

        Sure. Add $1,100 for a 512MB SSD which wasn’t available when he purchased the machine years ago…

      • Rachacha says:

        The solution is simple…SUPPORT

        Purchase a Windows Brand name machine for $1500 and after the first 30 seconds you are on your own. Problem with the machine, call the manufacturer and they will say it is a software issue and to contact Microsoft. Call Microsoft, and they will say that you can purchase technical support for a fee, or contact the manufacturer as they are supposed to be the ones to provide support.

        Purchase an Apple machine for $3000, and if you have a problem, you can take it to a store and they will usually fix it for you and provide support for free. Apple is known for their generally excellent support, but you pay for that service up front.

        Personally, all of my machines are windows machines.

        • ballistic90 says:

          No, Apple charges a seperate fee for their support, that’s called AppleCare. When you buy it, you can make an appointment to bring in your computer to get it fixed.

          Otherwise, Apple’s free support is about the same as any other company’s free support, it’s just in person. You can ask some questions, and that’s about it if you don’t want to pay for it.

      • PhantomPumpkin says:

        I spent 1200 on my MBP in 2009…what the hell did she buy for 3k?

  7. wbabbit says:

    How about you fight by not buying a fricking Mac with your winnings…or you’re helping to pay for a company to sue you…

    • [censored] says:

      The company did not sue him.

      • French_Toast says:

        No, but Apple is still legal action happy at times.

        I’ve refused to buy any Apple product since I read how they’ve repeatedly taken Macpro of Australia to court, even though Macpro had that name before the Mac even existed, let alone anything Mac Pro.

    • j2.718ff says:

      But why not buy another Mac? I imagine they’d try to treat him well, so he doesn’t have a reason to sue them again.

    • One-Eyed Jack says:

      Maybe he has a lot of Mac-flavored software he’d rather not replace, which moving to a PC would require.

  8. az123 says:

    The problem Apple has now is there is a court precedent for this. The guy at Apple who decided to take this to court should be fired… the cost of repair / replacement of one computer is not worth the risk of continued claims.

    • WalterSinister2 says:

      Small claims courts don’t set precedent. Appeals courts and above do.

      • scoosdad says:

        Try telling Honda that. They’re paying big money now to settle up with individual Honda owners who are now all suing them in small claims court because of what this woman did, and is sharing her technique in doing it:

        Woman Rejects Honda Settlement, Claims Her Civic Didn’t Live Up To Its Advertised Gas Mileage

        and then this:

        Woman Whips Honda In Small Claims Court

        I’d call that a precedent.

        • Crackpot says:

          “I’d call that a precedent.”

          You’d be wrong. Legal precedent means case law: a court decision that other courts must follow unless they choose to invalidate that decision, which can only happen with a higher tier court. (i.e. decided in a circuit court and overturned on appeal in a superior/supreme court, etc.) These cases, however, are examples that those who wish to try can use to learn from and follow. It does *not* mean that whatever court that has jurisdiction over the case will actually base their decision on the other cases, in any way, shape or form.

  9. dicobalt says:

    What? They should have sent a lawyer that knows something about computers. The CPU and GPU in those units were two totally separate chips.

    • The_IT_Crone says:

      They’re not saying that the CPU is what failed, what they are saying is that only the MODEL that has a 2.5 chip was eligible for replacement. Apple doesn’t generally use their mxxxx model numbers, they refer to them by: “PowerBook 2.5GHz” etc.

  10. Tacojelly says:

    I would take that money and buy one of those snazzy Windows 8 Ultrabooks coming out in a few months.

  11. shepd says:

    Wait, Apple screws you over, and you don’t even think they will pay you, but you are still going to buy another Apple? Do those computers give you brain damage or something?

  12. Gravitational Eddy says:

    So, it’s come to this has it?
    Every single time an Apple VS the rest of us story comes out here on the Consumerist, we get a large percentage of people commenting on the fact that you “could get a bigger, better, windows machine for far less”…

    I’m tired of all this wordplay, you heathens!
    This aint about what he *could* buy, but about the fact that Apple is so disorganized in working with the public. It appears Apple still retains that spark of insanity that says “deny everything but secretly work to make all the problems go away”. Just don’t make that information public knowledge. Wouldn’t want to give the management any issues now, would we?
    What happens when they push out a dud? Dead silence.
    It’s like they just do not know how to deal with the public.
    Steve may not have been the anti-christ, but he sure was misdirected. I think he was an alien.

  13. Hungry Dog says:

    The Apple overlords are not pleased by this, soon a Apple backed police force will search and seizure his possessions while questioning the status of his citizenship.

  14. ancientone567 says:

    Why buy an Apple computer at all? They suck donkey balls.

  15. shthar says:

    I predict this ends with a sheriff in an apple store.

  16. frankrizzo:You're locked up in here with me. says:

    Fuck Apple.

  17. thomwithanh says:

    Take that money and buy yourself a PC

    • Fumanchu says:

      Hell buy 2. Apple computers are so over priced for what you get. For 4000 you can get a near top of the line alienware which is about 1000 times better than a macbook.

  18. Pete the Geek says:

    The actions of Apple management in this case are baffling. They replace iPads for people who drop them but spend thousands to defend having to repair a Mac Book that was in a batch that had defective GPUs. Their rationale is that his premium CPU speed option model was left off of the original press release. In other words, they won’t stand behind his Mac Book *because* he bought a premium unit. It makes no sense. Apple’s reputation must certainly be worth more to them than the price of a Mac Book.

  19. benjitek says:

    So what… who cares…?

  20. Anticitizen says:

    I’m sorry, but this guy just sounds like a raving douchebag. I mean, his case might be very valid, but the way he acts? Ugh. Go read his past articles regarding Apple.

  21. Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

    I always thought you could not have a lawyer in small claims court…hhhmmm, go figure!