Apple faces new class-action suit over refurbished AppleCare+ hardware replacements

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A newly-filed class action lawsuit accuses Apple of breaching contract by failing to provide new — or "equivalent to new" — devices when offering up replacement hardware under AppleCare+ warranties.

The case was entered July 18 via the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, on behalf of Joanne McRight, a woman whose father bought her an iPhone 5 with AppleCare+ from an Apple Store in Friendswood, Texas in December 2012. Her screen later broke, and in September 2013 McRight paid AppleCare+'s then-$49 accidental damage fee to secure a replacement.

The new device's screen also broke, leading to her paying another $49 in May 2014. Lawyers for McRight said that neither of the devices were new or "equivalent to new in both performance and reliability," as promised in the official terms for AppleCare+. Specifically, McRight argues that refurbished devices — something Apple frequently offers up in place of broken units — do not qualify.

McRight's father later bought her an iPhone 6 with AppleCare+ in September 2014, but that device's screen broke as well, leading her to seek replacement in July of this year, this time at the increased accidental damage fee of $79. Once again Apple allegedly supplied her with a device that was not equivalent to new.

The proposed class covers anyone who bought an AppleCare or AppleCare+ plan between July 11, 2011 and the present, regardless of whether the device is an iPhone.

McNight's attorneys are asking for an injunction forcing Apple to provide new devices to people wanting replacements, as well as compensation in the form of legal fees and damages totaling at least $5 million, a minimum set by the Class Action Fairness Act.

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