Florida woman sues Apple for $5 million under racketeering law

“Woman buys an iPhone 4. Fifteen months later the power button stops working. She calls AT&T,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports for Fortune. “They send her to Apple. She works her way up and down the customer service chain and gets tough love at every turn: Her warranty expired three months ago. She has two choices. Pay for repair ($149.99 plus shipping) or buy new phone.”

P.E.D. reports, “Adopting the consensus view that the iPhone 4’s power button problem is a known manufacturing defect, and buying into the tin-foil-hat theory that it’s carefully planned obsolescence — a part designed to go bad right after the 1-year warranty expires — she files a class action suit under RICO (the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) for $5 million plus.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

56 Comments

      1. I doubt she is seeking a pay day even though she is suing for an amount that is probably just an amount fetched out of the air to get this some eyes and going. She probably had some bad experience with Apple.

    1. Dude, never thought of that. (See post below). Gonna investigate and see if the Visa lawyers found a way to write my issue out of any extended-warranty promise. If I recover the $200 I will owe you a monster bottle of Scotch.

  1. Deal with it, lady. Everything eventually breaks. My 4S developed odd behavior during its warranty period and finally ceased connecting to wifi a month out of warranty. I took it to an Apple store and an employee knew all about the problem because his phone had exactly the same issue. It cost me $200 for a new phone, but at least my contract was unaffected. I groused about it briefly but realized I didn’t have a case when even an Apple employee was in the same position — and had elected to live with the problem.

  2. Hopefully this is the case that finally brings Tim “The Cook” to justice. If the feds can put an end to the Cupertino family operating out of California, it will be a harsh blow against organized crime in America.

          1. A RICO suit adds the context. I thought it was funny. Upon further reflection, he was being humorous, not ironic or facetious.

            Also, I need to replace the is in the “ihe ironic” portion with or.

            No, it wasn’t autocorrect, just bad typing while listening to VM.

            1. Lol, I just read a book about Jimmy Hoffa and the mob and had organized crime on the brain when I saw RICO and made the joke.

              Some of you guys need to chill.

  3. My iPhone 4 developed a problem with the sleep/wake button (on/off switch) 11 months and 15 days into the warranty period. The button wouldn’t respond to presses. That’s one thing good about the iPhone – if the on/off button becomes unresponsive and the phone is switched off, all you need to is connect it to a charging source and the phone turns on by itself.

    I did a quick sync with iTunes on my Mac to back up the phone, reset it to factory defaults and brought it to an Apple Store where it was exchanged for a brand new iPhone 4 within 5 minutes. No muss, no fuss. Excellent Apple service, as usual.

    That class act set me up for life as an Apple fan. If I had a Nokia, HP or Motorola phone, they would have told me to walk the plank.

    1. I don’t know about the 4S (yet), but my used 3GS has always had a problem with the power button. I have to press it very hard and it often takes several attempts before it works. It makes turning it off very difficult or anything else that requires holding the button in for a long time. It is still useable though. I hope this woman gets awarded hefty court costs for wasting the court’s and Apple’s time.

  4. “Adopting the consensus view that the iPhone 4′s power button problem is a known manufacturing defect” ? Whose consensus? It is probably the riskiest component in the iPhone, since it is a very thin piece of metal that is repeatedly flexed, that doesn’t make it a defect.

    At $149 for the fix, she could get a current model for $200 with a new contract and eBay the old phone for over $100 with the problem fully disclosed. Guess that’s not as good as $5 Million.

    1. If the phone was just out of warranty, that means that it is just over a year old. This means that it hasn’t been paid off yet, and she isn’t eligible to the subsidy for another phone until the end of the current two-year contract (this under the assumption that the original phone was purchased on subsidy). New iPhone 4 costs $450.

      1. Point well taken. I read it with the (unfounded) assumption she got it when the iPhone 4 was still the lead product. I think that may not be the case. Other posts suggest she is on a different path than me, anyway. I’d just be trying to have a product that worked the way it was supposed to. She seems to just be trying to get rich. I think the Racketeer Influenced Organization may be her attorneys firm.

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