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MacBook Class Action Lawsuit Filed Over Allegedly Defective Keyboards

A class action lawsuit has been filed over keyboards used with certain Apple MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops, claiming the manufacturer failed to disclose known defects, which can render the computers useless and without the ability to type. 

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Zixuan Rao and Kyle Barbaro in the United States District Court of the Northern District of California on May 11, naming Apple Inc. as the defendant.

At issue in the lawsuit are low-profile “butterfly-switch” keyboards used by Apple in 2015 and later MacBook computers, and 2016 and later MacBook Pro models, alleging that the manufacturer knew they tend to fail prematurely, yet sold them to consumers without warning.

According to the plaintiffs, the butterfly-switch keyboards are produced and assembled in a manner that allows them to fail if minimal dust or debris accumulates under or around a key, preventing the keystroke from registering. Furthermore, plaintiffs claim consumers face a constant threat that their computer keyboard may be non-responsive or fail, causing the devices to no longer serve their core function of typing.

Apple allegedly knew about the MacBook keyboard problems as early as five days after the initial models with butterfly keyboards were released in April 2015, according to the lawsuit, yet the manufacturer failed to provide a permanent remedy or disclosure the keyboard related issues.

Barbaro claims that he began experiencing key malfunctions shortly after purchasing the laptop. The lawsuit indicates that he returned it to the Apple Genius Bar, which sent the device back to the manufacturer for analysis and repair. Barbaro’s MacBook was returned to him and the keys again became unresponsive again after only a few months.

After returning to the Genius Bar a second time to have the laptop inspected, the technician informed Barbaro that it would cost more than $700 to repair the problem, and that his warranty had expired, leaving him responsible for the full cost of repairs.

“Apple knew that the MacBook is defective at or before the time it began selling the
affected models to the public. Complaints of keyboard failures began to come in shortly after the 2015 MacBook was launched,” the lawsuit states. “Despite awareness of the keyboard defect, Apple equipped future model MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops with the butterfly keyboard, and continued selling these laptops to consumers at premium prices.”

The MacBook keyboard class action lawsuit seeks to pursue damages for all individuals who purchased the computers first hand, which were equipped with butterfly keyboards. Plaintiff’s are calling for Apple to pay compensatory and punitive damages, publicly disclose the keyboard defect, and reimburse customers for all costs associated with remedying and replacing defective model laptops and keyboards.

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