Monday, 19 May 2014

**Updated March 2018 ** Mac book fail - refund successfully claimed via Section 75 of UK Consumer Credit Act 1974 from reluctant credit card provider

**Updated March 2018 **  

Having had my MacBook Pro 17' (late 2011) fixed under recall with a new motherboard in November 2015 it has finally failed 2.5 years later with another graphics chip related fault. Confirmed by ruining a Gpu test program. System was crashing/freezing whenever a graphics mode switch occurred or was giving Screen artefacts. Time to move on now.  

Me thinking about my laptop

**Updated Feb 2016 **  
Apple has announced an extension to the extended repair program for this fault. They have also agreed to refund customers who have previously paid to have the fault repaired. Not sure if this U turn is a result of direct consumer pressure, legal pressure or an overwhelming need to do the right thing but it makes me happy.

**Updated December 2015 **  
The story below related to daughters MacBook pro. I had the same graphics chip failure occur on my MacBook Pro 17' (late 2011) in November 2015. The screen went futz and then got stuck at grey login screen. I could see that the system was up and running because it actually did a time machine backup when left on overnight. I am pleased to report that the experence with the Apple repair service was much better this time round. After booking an appointment at the genius bar in Basingstoke the fault was specifically checked for and the repair authorised within minutes. A few days later system was collected, it passed the diagnostic that previously failed and with a new £470(retail) motherboard fitted, I walked out the door.

The program covers affected MacBook Pro models until December 31, 2016 or four years from its original date of sale, whichever provides longer coverage for you.



I bought a MacBook 15 inch for daughter in 2012 on a visit to home of Apple, San Francisco at the downtown store. She had saved up for over a year to get the Mac out of pay from her first job. It's a great machine, a bit heavy, but good screen and clean and clear OSX.  Unfortunately it failed with regular graphics related panics, hangs and stalls.

This was a early 2011 model that according to the Apple forums suffers from graphics chip failures.

The forum records over 200+ system failures many with similar graphics chip symptoms. Note It is a discrete graphic chip (not card) that is causing the problems :-)

The only Apple recommended fix is a new logic board which will set you back about £470 in the UK. Be in no doubt for me this is an internal component failure on a machine that was just 16 months old. Other repairs methods such as reflowing / reballing the solder or graphics chip replacement have been successful for some folks.

Apple will cover the cost of this repair only if :
  • The system is less than 1 year old
  • Can be convinced to honour the EU mandatory warranty ( 2 years ) 
  • The system is under Apple care Warranty ( max 3 years ) 

At the time of the failure system was just 16 months old confirmed as not due to water damage or impact damage. This age fell between the one manufacturers warranty and EU mandatory warranty but as this system was purchased in San Francisco the EU rules were deemed not to apply.

Despite the unreasonableness of having to pay about a third of the cost new of the system after just 16 months Apple refused to budge. Many others in the forum have also had failures after 2 to four years of service life.

Some media outlets have verified and covered this issue MacTrast, AppleInsider, Slashdot and there is a general petition calling for a replacement program.

In the UK we have another level of consumer protection for products and some services purchased using credit cards. That is Section 75 of the consumer credit act 1974. Under this law that applies to many credit cards the card issuer has joint and severable liability for the goods and services provided.  In plain English that means if there is a breach of contract and the vendor welshes on their responsibility then the Credit Card company is also liable.  Some follow up court decisions added that transactions done abroad are also covered when a UK Credit card is used.  We also have the Financial Ombudsman Service who will ensure that UK financial organisation play by and follow the rules.

The FOS has a good page on Section 75 of the CCA as does the Money saving expert site.

I bet you can guess where this is going... A letter was sent to the Bank of Ireland (uk) who runs the Post Office Credit card service that was used to both buy and pay for the repair of the broken Mac book. They acknowledged the letter sent last November 2013 in January 2014 and then failed to make any further meaning full communications. Calling the Credit card consumer service team, every month to chase, reached some helpful people but they are not empowered or authorised to actually put this type problem right.

Finally in early April raised a complaint at the FOS because:
A) the credit card company had not made a decision in over 8 weeks allowed to action customer complaints,
B) I felt that the credit card company was not holding it's self to the obligation under section 75 CCA and refunding the cost of the repair to a fairly new laptop.

It worked, the complaint was acknowledge, actioned and after the FOS had "discussions with the card provider" they "offered to settle" for  £470.40 the cost of the repair as claimed.   Expecting the money back on the card shortly.

In summary I find the best way to complain is to hold an organisation to the promises it makes and show them where they have failed to keep that promise. In this case the CC company has section 75, and the FOS has the oversight.  Above all when complaining be professional, keep records of letters and notes from phone conversations, be persistent but calm and take any reasonable offer to settle.

Here are some FOS Faqs  Thanks FOS for helping me with this problem.

Boot notes: Legalities vary over geography.  It's ugly for Apple to sort this one out. They don't have to fix "out of warranty systems"*  how ever frustrating that is for consumers and doing could be seen as financially embarrassing, effectively having to take a charge from previous years profits. In the past Apple has done recalls for defective products especially when they can stick the charges on a supplier ( Nvidia graphics chips, WD iMac Drives) but seems to be less forthcoming when manufacturing/ design problems arise.

*= Varies by business/legal geography.

Do I still love Apple products? sure, but I don't trust them or the company as much.

I have a 17 MBP 2011 that is in the same failure window am saving up for a chip replace / reball if that on goes toes up. Had trackpad replaced twice under AppleCare on a MacBook Air and a free disk in previous iMac. Not all issues and situations are the same. Cost of 3 year Apple Care should be auto-bundled with new systems like MacPros have.

Complaint to the Credit card company :

Account number: 5425 xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx 
Ref: Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974
I am writing to request that you reimburse me the value of £470.40 as  full payment for a repair paid for with my Post office Master card credit card to Apple Store, The Oracle on xx November 2013. The repair to the Apple Mac Pro 15 Serial xxxxxxxxxx was required because of an internal component failure on the main logic board.  The laptop was confirmed to be free from any water or impact damage and internal component failures cannot be introduced by the owner through normal use or “wear and tear “.  
The computer that needed this expensive repair was purchased using the same credit card on xxth June 2012 from Apple Store, San Francisco. Claims can be made under Section 75 for overseas transactions using UK based credit cards see Note 1 below. I am claiming for the cost of the repair to be refunded. 
This premium brand laptop was failing and required repair according to assessment by Apple Uk after 16 months. My claim is made on the grounds that the item purchased was faulty due to limited life span. I have been unable to resolve my complaint with the supplier and that you are jointly and severally liable for any misrepresentation or breach of contract with the above supplier under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. 
I look forward to a full and prompt response to this letter within 14 days. Please call me to ask any clarifying questions.
Yours faithfully,

Note 1)
In March 2006, the Court of Appeal ruled that Section 75 applies (on UK-issued
credit cards) to transactions with overseas companies, as well as to those
transactions made in the UK, even if the transaction with the overseas
company is made over the phone or online. This ruling took immediate
effect. In 2007, a further appeal to the House of Lords sought final
clarification of the law regarding the application of Section 75 to
overseas transactions on UK credit cards. The ruling clarified that
Section 75 applies to credit card transactions with overseas companies.

Included attachments :
Original item purchase receipt
Card statement showing purchase
Repair paperwork receipt for Repair Number R108xxxxxxxx

Complaint to the FOS : 
I had to spend £470 to repair an Apple laptop that was just 16 months old. It failed due to internal component failure.  Apple refused to repair this manufactoring fault for free.  The card used to purchase the laptop and the repair was the same one from Post Office Credit card.
 Under Section 75 CCA the Card issuer is also liable for the goods that were faulty due to limited life span.  The card company has acknowledge the issue but have failed to reach a decision in over 3 months Attached are copies of the correspondance from Apple and PO CCard. I have phoned the Credit card company every month to chase the claim under Section 75 CCA but they have just fobbed off twice saying "It's at the last stage with the legal team." .



Gannett said...

Finally Apple in Feb 2015 has acknowledge this fault and announced a repair program.

Offers to pay for repair to impacted models and refund previously paid for repairs.

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