Update on the Incorrect Apple Replacement Device Lawsuit Checks

Last week I uploaded a video in regards to the Apple “Replacement Device Lawsuit” which was a class action suit brought against Apple over AppleCare replacements that concluded with a $95 million settlement. The lawsuit alleged that Apple provided replacement devices for warranty swaps that were either refurbished or contained used parts. Most impacted customers received about $14 per incident. The lawyers received over $27 million!

In the original video I noted that many customers found that their checks were made out to the wrong name, while others never received notification that they were part of the class.

This week I have a followup that includes comment from attorney Michella Crass from Hagens Berman, from the law firm representing the plaintiffs. Cras provided additional information and offered an alternative means of getting checks corrected via email:

Kras says the court approved email as the primary method of notifying class members. Despite sending multiple email reminders, many digital payments went unclaimed (likely because emails didn’t get delivered), and the deadline for claiming cash payments was extended to February 26, 2023.

After failing to reach people digitally, the parties agreed to send checks to 1.6 million class members for whom they had physical mailing addresses. Kras acknowledges that a portion of those checks had misspelled or incorrect names. To rectify this, affected customers can email AppleCare@hbsslaw.com with the necessary information, and a new check will be issued. But it has to be done by May 30, 2023.

But how could somebody who did not get notified and whose name was incorrectly recorded be in the class? Crass says that if an individual received a replacement device with non-new parts during the class period, they are considered part of the class. Members of the class are entitled to the settlement amount only and can no longer sue Apple over a similar issue – even if they were never notified as being part of it.

And what if funds go unclaimed? Kras says unclaimed funds may either be redistributed to class members who claimed their funds or donated to a charitable organization, but will not return to Apple or the law firm.

I question the effectiveness of class-action lawsuits like this, as a customer suing Apple individually over this issue in small claims court would likely recoup the entire cost of the phone if Apple is found in the wrong – not a measly $14.

And while it could be argued that class action lawsuits are an effective way of regulating corporate behavior that’s not the case here. Apple merely updated their terms of service to allow the use of previously used parts for AppleCare replacements rolling forward.

My suggestion is that if you’re notified as being a member of a class action lawsuit be sure to exercise your right to opt-out of the litigation. You’ll retain your right to sue and be able to get a much larger settlement in the end.

Apple “Replacement Device Lawsuit” Checks are not a Scam, but Poorly Executed

Millions of people are receiving checks from the “Replacement Device Lawsuit” in the mail, the result of a $95 million class action lawsuit settlement against Apple. In my latest video we dive into the lawsuit and how it appears as though the claims administrator may have misspelled the names of many of the recipients.

The lawsuit claimed that those receiving AppleCare replacement phones and iPads were getting devices of a lower quality than the customers’ original devices. The settlement resulted in payouts for 3.3 million people, but many recipients didn’t know about the lawsuit until the check arrived. Those who didn’t opt out by the deadline are now part of the class and are barred from suing Apple over this issue in the future.

The settlement details can be found at replacementdevicelawsuit.com. Lawyers received $1.3 million in costs and almost $27 million in attorney’s fees, while the two individuals who initiated the lawsuit were given bonuses of $15,000 and $12,500. Members of the class are receiving just under $15 per device covered in the lawsuit.

A major issue with the payouts is that many recipients’ names on the checks are incorrect. The company responsible for distributing the checks, Epiq, rolled up records with the same name and contact information, possibly leading to mix-ups. Many recipients, myself included, have reported their banks rejecting the deposits due to incorrect names. You can find many more examples on this Reddit post I made a few days ago. I have reached out to Epiq but have not heard back from them at the time of publication.

Epiq claims to have reached 94% of the identified class, but it is uncertain how many people actually received the email notices vs. having them them land in spam folders. Recipients now have a narrow window to correct their names and must do so via mail, causing further inconvenience.

The leftover settlement money’s fate remains uncertain; it could be donated, put into funds, or claimed by lawyers. With many checks bearing incorrect names or appearing as a scam to the recipient, it is likely that a significant sum will remain unclaimed. The case highlights the importance of opting out of class action lawsuits when possible, as participating may mean giving up rights without receiving much in the way of compensation.