Class Action Suit Alleges MacBook Fraud

Plaintiff Justin Ocampo filed a putative class action suit in the Northern District of California on Wednesday, alleging that Apple Inc. misled consumers about the quality of its MacBook Pro Laptops starting with its 2016 model. The 10-count complaint asserts breach of warranty, false advertising, and consumer fraud claims under both state and federal law against California-based Apple, “seeking to redress the pervasive pattern of deceptive, false, misleading, and otherwise improper advertising, sales, and marketing practices” leveled at consumers.

The complaint targets the MacBook Pro display screen, which features “a light-up touch-based panel that replaces certain function keys on the keyboard.” These computers, first introduced in late 2016, did not live up to expectations due to display backlighting issues, the complaint argues. This is because the machines’ flex cables, which connect the laptops’ display screen to the base of the computer, are defective, the filing explained. In turn, MacBook Pro Laptops either malfunction when the screen is angled wider than a certain degree, or because the display screen is inoperable altogether.

Despite Apple’s 2019 acknowledgment of the defect and offer to repair one model’s display backlight issues, consumer grievances were largely unresolved, the complaint contends. The filing points to representations made by Apple, like “‘[t]he new display in the MacBook Pro is the best ever in a Mac notebook,’ and that it ‘ensures truer-to-life pictures with realistically vivid details.’”

These statements, the plaintiff argues, amount to misrepresentations that reasonable consumers relied on while making Apple MacBook purchases. Had Apple notified consumers of these flaws and had they known of Apple’s allegedly false and misleading advertising, “consumers would not otherwise [have] purchased a purportedly high-end laptop costing approximately $1,499.00 to $2,399.00,” the complaint contends.

In turn, the plaintiff seeks to certify a nationwide class of individual consumers who purchased MacBook Pro Laptops with a model year of 2016 or later within the last four years, and a California subclass consisting of California residents who did the same. The plaintiff also seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief preventing Apple from further “defrauding the public,” and ordering it to provide a comprehensive repair program for models that experience backlight display issues.

The plaintiff is represented by Marlin & Saltzman, LLP.