Apple - Apple refuses to take responsibility for manufacturing defect

Posted on Sunday, September 29th, 2013 at 7:10pm CDT by Catherine P.

Product: Apple 27in-iMac

Company: Apple

Location: 1 Infinite Loop Cupertino, CA 95014


Category: Computers, Software


Since 1993, my immediate family has purchased at least 80 Apple products: iMacs, desktop and laptop computers, 15 iPhones, 10 iPads 6 Apple TV?s, and multiple iPods, routers and airport express. We have been delighted Apple users and have recommended Apple products to others on countless occasions. We have never contacted Apple with any type of complaint.

My husband, Paul Boucher, is a Photoartist who relies on his computers professionally. This led to his purchase of a customized 27-inch iMac on 9/12/11. In late August 2013, the 27-inch iMac began to malfunction with frequent screen flickering and the left side of the screen became significantly darker than the right side. As a visual artist, Paul?s computer screen must be calibrated and set precisely and accurately in order to do his work.

Our first step was to go online to Apple?s website, where we found extensive posts about these precise problems with 27-in iMacs. We also learned that Apple had initiated a replacement program for the graphics card in this model. After contacting Apple, we immediately took the computer to the local Apple Genius Bar, as directed. There we were told that we could not get a new video card unless the computer malfunctioned during the time the computer was at the Apple Store, despite Apple?s replacement card program for this computer. Next we were told that the screen flickering and the left side screen darkness (which the Genius Bar worker did see for himself) was not a manufacturing defect (despite the extensive online documentation) because ?anyone can say anything? on the Apple posts, because he personally had not seen very many 27-inch iMac?s with this problem, and because Apple did not identify this as a manufacturing defect; therefore it was not manufacturing defect. Finally, unless we had purchased an Apple extended warranty, Apple would be unwilling to acknowledge or help solve this problem. He was able to give us a quote for $650.37 (tax not included) to replace the LED Backlight Board and, if needed, the LCD Panel. The Genius Bar worker also noted that the computer?s Ethernet cable connection was malfunctioning.

How is it possible that a brilliantly progressive company like Apple can have these kinds of business practices?

Apple?s policies, as represented to me, do not make sense. To initially state that the problems we are experiencing are not known problems with this computer model makes no sense because it is extensively documented on Apple Support Communities posts. The Genius Bar worker eventually said that ?Apple is aware that these issues can occur however they are not substantial enough or widespread enough to issue any sort of quality program?. Does this mean that not enough people have complained about these problems, or brought their computers in for service to enable Apple to identify a manufacturing defect? What is the threshold for number of people impacted by this problem that will enable Apple to go from ?awareness? to active problem solving?

In just two of the threads from the Apple Support Communities: ?iMac 2011 27inch i7 screen flicker dark left side? which had 46691 Views 195 Replies Latest reply: Jul 10, 2013, started 5/26/11 with 14 pages of posts; and ?[GUIDE] Fix iMac flickering and dark screen problems out of warranty? 29264 Views 97 Replies Latest reply: Aug 18, 2013, with 7 pages of posts

thousands of people from all over the world describe exactly the same malfunction with this computer, and this logically represents only a fraction of people experiencing this problem. Many of the people writing in use their computer for work, had it custom built when they bought it, and reported identical feedback from Apple: if the defect manifested while under warranty or Apple Care protection, it was immediately fixed. If not, Apple refused to acknowledge this as a manufacturing defect, would only authorize expensive repairs available exclusively through Apple, and would not help consumers address this problem in any way.

Impressively to me, consumers on the Apple Support Communities? posts identified the cause of these problems as a poor solder connection (a loose connector which should be soldered directly to the board in the LCD) which was repaired by those brave enough to open up their computers and solder the connector. These posts provide clear evidence of a manufacturing flaw that Apple is not acknowledging and a ?fix? which Apple could perform quickly, inexpensively, and efficiently.

A monitor should not be built to fail within two years, no minor part should cost more than 10% of the purchase cost of the item, and a company should stand by their products for all consumers, not just those with extended warranties. Many of us did not buy an extended warranty because we were buying what we believed to be a quality product from a quality company and based on our extensive history with Apple, we did not expect to encounter any product problems.

Apple offers no place on their website to register product complaints in order to efficiently identify manufacturing defects. Apple knows that there are manufacturing defects with the 27-in iMac, but creates their own threshold for the problem warranting ?a quality program? or other form of assistance; a threshold which denies help to many of their consumers. This is an expensive computer, frequently used for work, typically purchased by people with an extensive investment in Apple products. Apple acts as though this defect is the fault or responsibility of the consumer. Unless Apple stands by their products and takes responsibility for manufacturing defects, an unfair burden is placed on the consumer.

I would like Apple to change its policies regarding how manufacturing defects are identified and remediated. I would like Apple to repair our iMac for a nominal fee and/or offer us a discount on a new iMac. I would like Apple to be a company with high quality business practices and high quality products.

Thank you for your assistance!


Catherine D. Pines, Ph.D.

CC: Illinois Attorney General, Better Business Bureau, Consumer Reports

1 Comment

soldoctor, 2014-01-04, 11:02AM CST

I purchased a used 27 in iMac and just now started experiencing this flickering and left side darker issue. Of course there is no warranty. I would be interested to see how many 27 in iMacs have this issue too as I have also looked at the forum postings and may soon attempt the fix. Steve Jobs is rolling over in his grave I hope! It makes me hesitate to get a new iMac.

Post a Comment