I Threaten to Sue Apple Over an iPad2 Cover
I'm a fan of iPad, having had my first one for a year. In the beginning I was worried I wouldn't understand it or use it right, but that quickly changed. They'll have to pry it from my cold dead fingers to bury (well, cremate) me. So I was very pleased when iPad2 was released last month, and promptly bought one. However, that particular iPad2 had an antenna problem (it couldn't find a wifi signal, not even in the Apple Store), so Apple promptly swapped it out for a new one.
I went back to the Apple Store and showed them the problem. "Accidental damage is not covered by the warranty," I was told, but they'd be willing to replace my iPad 2 for $299. How kind of them.
Sometimes it helps to be a Professor of Law who is well-versed in commercial problems (having taught them for over 40 years, and written seven casebooks used across the country in many different law schools). I sat down at my computer and composed the following:
"I am contemplating filing a complaint next week in the Franklin Country Small Claims Court asking for damages caused to my iPad2 (purchased two weeks ago) when the cover fell off as the iPad slipped from the seat of my car to the garage floor, damaging the glass front by creating cracks in it (cracks that are expanding and ruining this very new iPad). The truth is I have been much disappointed in your new cover. The old one was perfect: a hard object protecting both front and back that couldn't slip off at the moment you most needed its protection (and foldable into an unmovable shape). The magnets on the new one sometimes work fine and sometimes not, and often detach at a touch or push from the wrong angle, witness my garage floor fall (which would have been nothing had it been encased in the old cover). The new one has the sleep feature which is more difficult to use (assuming the cover is fully extended on the non-screen side) than simply hitting the sleep button, and the new cover will not hold its place unless the folded part has pressure on it, making it impractical to prop up at an angle where the cover does not bear the weight.
"I took my cracked iPad 2 to the local Columbus, Ohio, Apple Store at Easton and was advised I could replace it for $299. Since I think of a malfunctioning iPad cover as your problem and not mine, I declined that.
"As a quick Google search will show you I am a well-known law professor at The Ohio State University College of Law, one of the leading experts on consumer law in the United States. Your cover is in violation of the implied warranty of merchantability, section 2-214 of the Uniform Commercial Code, a statute in effect in all jurisdictions in this country except Louisiana. My Small Claims action (the court has jurisdiction up to $2000) will be filed with that as the theory. The Law Professor Contract listserve will be much amused to learn I'm suing Apple over the iPad cover.
"But, frankly, I don't want to sue. I want an iPad 2 (which I otherwise love) that isn't scratched with cracking glass within two weeks of purchase. If you will replace the iPad 2 and refund the money for my cover and I'll be a happy man.
"Please let me hear from you about this by next Wednesday, April 13, 2011.
"Douglas J. Whaley"
I also should note that I do think the Apple cover is badly designed and in breach of the warranty mentioned. It would be unethical to threaten something in which you do not have a good faith belief. I'll bet big bucks that the iPad3 will have a sturdy cover and not this magnetic pretense of protection.
Thank you, Apple, for all your help. I'm truly grateful. The third time's the charm, I hope.
“What Non-Lawyers Should Know About Warranties,” October 11, 2011;
"How To Write an Effective Legal Threat Letter," October 19, 2011; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2011/10/how-to-write-effective-legal-threat.html
“How To Win Arguments and Change Someone’s Mind,” August 5, 2012;
“Mortgage Foreclosures, Missing Promissory Notes, and the Uniform Commercial Code: A New Article,” February 11, 2013; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2013/02/mortgage-foreclosures-missing.html
“Legal Terms You Should Know,” September 13, 2013;
“Clicking on 'I Agree': Sticking Your Head in the Lion's Mouth?” September 27, 2014;