Apple now faces two separate class action lawsuits over alleged defects in its “butterfly” keyboards for MacBooks and MacBook Pros, with a second suit filed late yesterday by three new plaintiffs. As discovered by AppleInsider, the latest complaint alleges multiple violations of federal and state law, claiming that Apple is intentionally continuing to sell products it knows are defective.
According to the new complaint, all of the named plaintiffs have experienced stuck MacBook keys, which they sought to remedy using Apple-recommended compressed air cans and official repair services, only to have the issues recur. Having run out of warranty coverage, at least one of the plaintiffs has been unable to seek further assistance due to the high cost of Apple’s repair services. Law firm Schubert Jonckheer & Kolbe is seeking to represent all people similarly situated, with its group of current plaintiffs hailing from Washington, Florida, and California.
An earlier butterfly keyboard class action suit filed against Apple included an even wider collection of claims, alleging contract breaches and fraudulent concealment. In addition to suggesting that even light dust or debris can impede the MacBooks’ normal key switch behavior, the initial class action noted that the “keyboard defect compromises the MacBook’s core functionality,” rendering it “inoperable and unsuitable for its ordinary and intended use.”
The suit similarly says that the lengthy time and high prices required for MacBook keyboard repairs have caused users to seek alternative hardware solutions — including the purchase of new external keyboards. This class action was filed by law firm Gerard Gibbs on behalf of two plaintiffs from Massachusetts and California, and it also seeks to represent all potential plaintiffs. Interestingly, one of the firm’s demands is for Apple to cover the costs of repairs or remedies, potentially including entire replacement laptops.
As the MacBooks have been on the market for several years, the number of affected users is at least in the thousands, and perhaps substantially higher. Over 27,000 users have already signed a Change.org petition asking Apple to recall the butterfly MacBook keyboards and replace them with properly working parts. Numerous complaints across Apple’s own support pages and third-party websites were followed by articles discussing the problems, notably including claims from AppleInsider that failure rates of the butterfly keyboards were roughly twice as high as the scissor keyboards that preceded them.
Apple has not commented on the class action lawsuits but has touted the butterfly keyboard as superior to its predecessors. Introducing the design, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller initially called the butterfly keyboard “much more precise and accurate” than the scissor design, saying that it was “4 times more stable than that scissor mechanism.” A second-generation butterfly keyboard was marketed as more comfortable and responsive than the first-generation version.