A judge in the Netherlands has ruled that Apple must replace broken iOS devices with new iPhones or iPads, as opposed to refurbished or “remanufactured” units.
The case involves a woman who bought an iPad Air 2 with AppleCare back in 2015. After just four months, the iPad began having problems with the tablet’s WiFi technology, which prompted Apple to give her a remanufactured iPad as a replacement.
This refers to an iPad that has been made from refurbished parts, but which Apple says conforms to the same manufacturing and inspection standards as its new devices.
But when the woman rejected the iPad, the case went to court — with a judge now ruling that when a new device has been bought and replaced, Apple must give the customer another new device in its place. It is, however, okay for a refurbished iPad or iPhone to be replaced with a refurbished unit.
This backs up a previous ruling from a Netherlands court about refurbished handsets, although Apple had argued that a remanufactured unit is distinct from a refurbished one, and so shouldn’t count under the same rules.
The Netherlands court is fining Apple 100 euros ($109) per day that the woman is left without a new iPad.
From Apple’s perspective, reusing old parts is both a good money-saving strategy and also part of its mission to recycle. From a customer’s perspective, however, refurbished units may be less desirable for a number of reasons — including the fact that Apple itself sells them for less than it does new devices, thereby placing less value on them.
Currently Apple is attempting to gain permission to import and sell refurbished iPhones in India, where it hopes it can use the lower prices to open up a new possible audience of Apple fans.
Do you think Apple should be able to replace a broken device with a refurbished or remanufactured one? Leave your comments below.