Jubilant iPhone owner beats Apple in court after Geniuses ‘wiped away his life’

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A London man has beaten Apple in court arguing the company “wiped away his life,” when his faulty iPhone had its contents erased at an Apple Store after the device was reset. Deric White, 68, spoke to The Sun newspaper in the U.K., and demanded £5,000 (that’s just over $7,500) compensation from Apple, due to the lose of his honeymoon photos and 15-years worth of personal contacts.

Updated on 12-01-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in news that Mr. White received compensation from Apple, after winning his case

Apple to pay compensation

Following a hearing at London County Court, Mr. White was compensated with £1,200 and £773 court costs, making a total of £1,973, or around $2,972. District Judge Ruth Fine is quoted as saying the case could “easily have been settled if common sense had come into the arena,” referencing an apparent refusal on Apple’s part to settle out of court. She said, according to a report in U.K. newspaper The Mirror, “The defendant’s employees were negligent in the treatment of the claimant’s telephone, causing the loss of photographs of particular sentimental value and the loss of all his contacts.”

Apple’s own lawyer, Victoria Nottage, is also quoted in the report. She states that White was informed his data was at risk when restoring the phone, and he had taken the “affirmative decision” to bring the phone in for repair, knowing it wasn’t backed up.

Judge Fine also said that just because it was difficult to assess the damages in a case like this, “does not disentitle a claimant to compensation.” A jubilant Deric White said after the ruling that, “It’s a victory for the common man who sought to stand up against multi-national corporations.”

Loss of photos and contacts

In the initial report on the court case, White told The Sun, “My life was saved on that phone,” describing photos and video taken on his honeymoon, including a, “favorite video of a giant tortoise biting my hand on honeymoon in the Seychelles.” He also states the phone contained 15-years worth of collected contacts.

The situation arose in December 2014 when White began receiving messages saying there was a fault on his iPhone 5 — it’s not said exactly what the fault or messages were — and visited the Apple Store on Regent Street in London, one of the UK’s busiest Apple Stores. After examining the phone, staff declared it fixed, and it was returned to White. Except all the data had been erased.

According to White, it was only then he was asked if the phone had been backed up, and the data saved elsewhere. “My wife was in tears and I started crying when I realized what had gone,” White is quoted as saying. In The Mirror’s report, the missing data wasn’t discovered until the day after, when White returned to the store and demanded his data be returned.

Apple didn’t take any responsibility, saying White, “had not demonstrated how he suffered any loss.” The £5,000 compensation sum mentioned by The Sun followed an earlier demand of £7,000, and then an offer to settle for a “new computer screen and printer” from White, according to The Mirror’s report. Apple refused to settle outside a court.

White wanted to use any compensation to take a second honeymoon. However, it’s unknown whether he’ll be able to find and entice the same giant tortoise to bite his hand again, or if the awarded money will be enough to do so. In the meantime, White, and anyone else with precious data stored on a mobile device, should take a moment to ensure it’s all backed up somewhere else.

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