Citing an obscure repair policy that might be illegal, Apple has refused to fix a brand new iMac Pro that was damaged during a video teardown — even at the user’s expense. According to Linus Sebastian of the 5.6-million-subscriber YouTube channel Linus Tech Tips, Apple said that it typically won’t fix a Mac that’s been opened by a user, a statement Apple and other tech companies were recently warned by the Federal Trade Commission not to make, as it’s illegal under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.
In his latest video, which has already been viewed over 1.4 million times, Sebastian explains that the iMac Pro was damaged in late January. During reassembly, the glass-faced display was dropped, cracking the screen, and for unexplained reasons, the power supply and logic board may also require replacement. Sebastian acknowledges damaging the computer, but notes that products get accidentally damaged by users all the time, and says that he’s willing to pay for the repairs himself.
Regardless, Apple has twice refused to repair the $5,000 machine. When his team initially contacted Apple online, they were told that “if a Mac is taken apart by someone other than an authorized technician, we can typically no longer service the Mac.” Despite that warning, his local Apple Store accepted the computer for repair, only to return it several days later, saying that Apple wouldn’t send out replacement parts. The store then suggested bringing the iMac Pro to a third-party Apple-authorized service provider, but Sebastian’s local store apparently lacks certification to fix that model.
“Imagine this in some other industry,” said Sebastian. “Imagine if you bought a brand new car and drove it into a lamppost as you were leaving the dealer. Then both the dealer and your third-party insurer said that they couldn’t fix it because the parts and the repair manual don’t exist… Despite Apple’s careful design, accidents do happen, and if a former repair technician can screw up from time to time — trust me, they do — the end user will, too.”
Sebastian’s situation is complicated somewhat by location: He’s in Surrey, British Columbia, a Canadian city that just happens to be right next to the U.S. border at Washington State. Consequently, U.S. warranty and repair laws don’t apply, so despite the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act’s prohibitions on repair limits, Canadian laws will govern the dispute.
The YouTubers may be in luck, though. Canadian MP Brian Masse and a group of concerned legislators forced Apple to testify last month on device repair issues, following the international iPhone battery/performance debacle. Masse and his fellow MPs expressed strong concerns that Canadian customers might be treated less reasonably than Americans when seeking remedies for their failing Apple products. If anything, this situation has the potential to further upset the Canadian legislators, though it’s worth noting that Apple has sometimes fanned the flames with international customers rather than trying to extinguish them, explicitly daring them to sue the company. Hopefully that won’t be necessary in this case.