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Dissatisfied iPad owners take Apple to court over AppleCare+

Apple finds itself back in court, but instead of getting in trouble over possible patent infringement, the Cupertino company finds itself potentially in hot water over its AppleCare and AppleCare+ plans, reports AppleInsider.

The lawsuit, filed in the Northern California District Court by Vicky Maldonado and Joanne McRight, stems from Maldonado’s experience with her third-generation iPad, According to the plaintiff, her iPad’s screen cracked after she owned the tablet for six months. Because Maldonado accidentally damaged her iPad, she was told she needed to pay $250 for a replacement. Furthermore, she was told that replacing a device under AppleCare+ will cost her $100.

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As a result, Maldonado purchased a fourth-generation iPad and AppleCare+ in September 2013. AppleCare+, an offshoot of the regular AppleCare, covers customers for two years and allows them to make two claims due to damage they might incur. The price of AppleCare+, which must be purchased within 60 days of a device’s initial purchase, range from $50 when buying an iPad to $100 for buying an iPhone 6S.

Maldonado alleges she received a refurbished device in May 2015, but was not told she would receive a refurbished device as a replacement. According to the lawsuit, this goes against the terms of AppleCare+, which state that customers will receive “a device that was new or equivalent to new in performance …”

The issue the lawsuit raises concerns how “new” and “refurbished” are defined. The complaint alleged that replacements are not “equivalent to new” because “refurbished devices can never be the equivalent to new in performance …”

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“‘New’ means a Device that has never been utilized or previously sold and consists of all new parts,” reads the lawsuit. “The word ‘refurbished’ appears only once in the AppleCare+ terms and conditions even though the printed booklet is 33 pages long. The word is not even used to reference a device, but a part.”

Because of the nature of the lawsuit, since the action was brought on behalf of customers who bought an AppleCare or AppleCare+ plan for their iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch after July 11, 2011, an Apple loss means all of those customers, including Maldonado and McRight, will receive some sort of compensation. Both defendants also seek an injunction prohibiting Apple from sending out refurbished devices as replacements, along with changes to the AppleCare+ terms and conditions, and the ability for customers to receive the full purchase price of a damaged device.