The Future

Apple knew its computers were “defective,” sold them anyway, suit alleges

A class action suit has been filed against Apple over the keyboards in its laptops.

The Future

Apple slapped with a lawsuit

The Future

Apple knew its computers were “defective,” sold them anyway, suit alleges

A class action suit has been filed against Apple over the keyboards in its laptops.

Late Friday night, Apple was hit with a class action lawsuit over the finicky butterfly-switch keyboards that have plagued its customers since they were released in 2015. The suit, filed in the Northern District Court of California, cites forum complaints going back to 2015, and substantially describes the difficulties of two named plaintiffs, one of whom experienced a failed keyboard after only one month.

The Outline was the first outlet to substantially cover the magnitude of the issue, writing that Apple Geniuses responsible for diagnosing and repairing these Apple computers would benevolently attribute dead keys and double-spacing spacebars to a “piece of dust” stuck under the keyboard.

Under Apple's warranty, Geniuses might offer to replace the entire top case of the computer, a process that takes about a week. Out of warranty, it costs about $700 to replace this part on a MacBook Pro. 

Apple has declined repeatedly to comment on the issue, but directs sufferers to a support page that instructs users how to tilt the computer at an angle, blow canned air under the malfunctioning keys, light candles arranged in the shape of a pentagram, and recite an incantation to Gaia in hopes of fixing their machines. 

In the time since The Outline first published its piece, AppleInsider conducted an investigation of Genius Bar locations and third-party repair shops showing that 2016 MacBook Pro keyboards were failing twice as much as older models. One Apple customer started a Change.org petition demanding Apple address the keyboard issues, which garnered 17,000 signatures in a little over a week. This reporter, who wrote the inciting piece about how her MacBook Pro keyboard simply couldn’t remain functional regardless of how many times she got it fixed, has since sold her 2016 model back to Apple and continues to use her 2013 MacBook Pro, praying every day that it doesn’t die. 

The suit alleges repeatedly that Apple “promoted and sold laptops it knew were defective in that they contain a keyboard that is substantially certain to fail prematurely,” and that selling these computers not only directly to its customers but also to third party retailers constitutes a violation of good faith. The plaintiffs are seeking damages and legal fees, and demand that Apple admit to the design flaw and cover all costs for remedying or replacing the defective computers. The full class action complaint is embedded below.

Butterfly Keyboard Class Action by Mikey Campbell on Scribd

To listen to more episodes of The Outline World Dispatch, subscribe with the links below.

Pocket Casts / Overcast / Stitcher / TuneIn / Alexa / Anchor / 60 dB / RadioPublic / RSS / “OK Google, play news from The Outline.”

The Future

Don’t fall for it

Read More
Hey you! We want to know what you think about The Outline (and you can win some cool swag too). We know you love to answer questions, so take our 5 minute survey.