A court in Denmark has barred Apple from using a refurbished iPhone as replacement for a device that it fails to repair. Danish customers are, therefore, entitled to a new handset if they exchange a faulty iPhone that is still covered by Apple warranty.
New vs. Refurbished iPhone Replacement
The ruling is based on a complaint filed by David Lysgaard, who returned a damaged iPhone 4 in 2011. Apple gave Lysgaard a refurbished replacement in 2012.
Once that was discovered, Apple was dragged to court on the strength of the Danish Sale of Goods Act, which maintains that devices must have a brand-new replacement if not repaired within the product’s warranty period.
Denmark mandates that all products sold in the country have to be covered by a 24-month warranty.
Apple: Refurbished iPhones Are As Good As New
Apple has argued that refurbished iPhones have been repaired or restored so that they meet the company’s certification. Cupertino further stressed that, since it is the original manufacturer, it is able to provide certification that a repaired component is already good as new.
However, the court pointed out that a refurbished phone is not equal in value to a new device, deeming it unfit to be considered as a replacement as defined by Danish laws. Particularly, it cited that refurbished components have been repaired or recycled, so it no longer meets the consumer’s legitimate expectations. The judges further ruled that due to this variable, the device could fetch a lower resale value.
It is important to note that the recent ruling already confirms a decision made by the Denmark’s Consumer Complaints Board. Apple also lost a related complaint in the country, wherein it was ordered to replace a woman’s iPhone 6 Plus with a new model.
Apple Verdict Impact
The ruling in Denmark could have wide-ranging complications for Apple if not properly addressed. In California, Apple is battling a class action suit similar to Lysgaard’s case.
Apple might have a slight advantage here in comparison to its position in Denmark. The existing laws in the state seem to be relegating the issue as contest in semantics. Particularly, the court could base its ruling on the interpretation of what constitutes the concept of new.
Nevertheless, the Danish ruling could effectively establish a legal precedent, a variable that is important in the U.S. legal system. It could even snowball into a crisis if it prompts similar complaints in other countries.
Apple has so far remained silent on the issue. Observers, however, expect the company to appeal the verdict.
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