Apple Hit with Class-Action Lawsuit Over “Critical” Filter Defect Affecting iMacs and MacBooks


Lawsuit calls out Apple for selling desktop computers and laptops containing a defect that causes delayed processor speed, as well as screen debris and smudging


SAN JOSE, Calif. – Mac owners today hit Apple Inc. with a nationwide class-action lawsuit calling out the tech giant for knowingly selling iMacs and MacBook computers with a filter defect that leads to slowing of the motherboard’s processing speed, and permanent screen smudges due to trapped dust, according to Hagens Berman.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose, and states that Apple failed to install filters for the computers’ vents, leading to expensive repairs and irate customers who paid premium prices for Apple’s products.

If you own a MacBook, a MacBook Pro, a MacBook Air, an iMac or an iMac Pro, find out your rights to potential compensation.

“Apple is the most valuable company in the world today because consumers trust it to make reliable, quality products, yet it has failed to remedy one of the most simple and well-known problems in the technology community – the accumulation of dust,” said Steve Berman, managing partner and co-founder of Hagens Berman. “This filter defect is costing Apple owners hundreds of dollars in repairs, and Apple refuses to take responsibility.”

“We intend to hold Apple accountable for this costly defect affecting millions of its computers,” Berman added.

The lawsuit seeks monetary compensation for Mac owners, including compensation for the premium prices paid for screens which did not perform as advertised by Apple, compensation for out-of-pocket repair costs to replace the motherboard and/or screen, and compensation for those who sold their affected computers at a loss due to the dark smudgy spots on their screens or sluggish performance.

The lawsuit states that the computers’ lack of fan filters are responsible for both loss of processor speed and dust and smudging under the screen, and that Apple’s remedies leave customers responsible: “If brought in for repair outside the warranty period (or if Apple refused to honor the warranty), Apple told customers that they must pay upwards of $600 to replace the entire screen. In reality, there is a simple and cheap fix for many of the computers: the screen can be removed by a suction cup, and then cleaned with a soft rag. Despite the existence of this inexpensive fix, Apple continues to charge non-warranty customers $600 to replace the entire screen.” View photos of the screen smudges here.

Regarding the filter defect’s effect on the computers’ motherboards, dust accumulates, causing it to overheat, leading to slow processing speeds and “ultimately causes it to crash,” the suit states.

The suit’s named plaintiffs include a photographer who used the affected Apple computer for business purposes, paying upwards of $2,700 for her Retina display screen, only to be plagued by Apple’s filter defect that caused dark smudges to appear after only nine months. According to the lawsuit, the smudges greatly interfered with her work, and the results were noticed by her clients. After a fruitless call to Apple Support, she learned of the widespread issue from a Google search. Apple customer support representatives repeatedly denied knowledge of the problem, according to the complaint.  The person who was to perform the fix acknowledged that he has seen this problem before. The suit also names another plaintiff who used his Apple Retina display iMac for business purposes, and was forced to pay $600 for a screen replacement after owning the computer for about five months.

A third plaintiff named in the suit owned an iMac 27” and began to notice dark smudges in the corner of the screen soon after purchasing the computer. After having the screen replaced under warranty, the smudges reappeared. He replaced the screen two more times out of warranty, paying approximately $450-$650 each for the last two replacements. In 2017, he also had to have his motherboard replaced because of the dust that was sucked into the machine by Apple’s fans, causing his computer to slow down and overheat.  He paid approximately $900 to replace his motherboard. 

“Apple’s own message boards are full of reports of these widespread problems caused by the filter defect,” Berman said. “The dust has settled, and it’s time for Apple to stop ignoring this expensive issue plaguing its own customers.”

Find out more about the class-action lawsuit against Apple.

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About Hagens Berman
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law firm with 10 offices across the country. The firm’s tenacious drive for plaintiffs’ rights has earned it numerous national accolades, awards and titles of “Most Feared Plaintiff’s Firm,” and MVPs and Trailblazers of class-action law. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.

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