Apple Involved in Suit Over Defective PowerBook G4 Memory Slots

by , 1:00 PM EST, November 3rd, 2008

News has surfaced that Apple is currently facing a new class-action lawsuit alleging that the company failed to fully recognize the scope of a memory slot defect present in its PowerBook G4 notebooks that left thousands of customers responsible for paying for repairs costs on their own.

The suit, which was filed by New York resident Giorgio Gomelsky in a Northern California court on behalf of himself and similarly-situated complainants who purchased a PowerBook G4 with the defective slots from January 1, 2003 to the present, alleges the following:

"Typically, when the additional memory is added, the PowerBook does not recognize the memory, resulting in slower processing speeds, decreased computer function and other computing problems," the complaint says. "Unfortunately for consumers, because both memory slots are hardwired to the PowerBook's motherboard, consumers who choose to repair the defect can incur costs of more than $500 in parts and labor."

According to AppleInsider, Apple, when faced with complaints regarding the issue, initiated the Memory Slot Repair Extension Program covering 15-inch 1.67 and 1.5GHz PowerBook G4s manufactured between January 2005 and April 2005, which expired on July 24th. The suit alleges, however, that the scope of the problem extended well beyond the range of PowerBooks that the Mac maker agreed to cover as part of the program.

Gomelsky claims to represent "tens of thousands of people nationwide" that purchased the notebooks with defective memory slots, and whose serial numbers fell outside the range of coverage by Apple for a free repair of the issue.

Attorneys for Gomelsky are seeking compensatory damages in the form of reimbursement of expenses incurred by their client and other class members who've had to pay out of their own pocket to repair the damaged memory slots. The claim also charges Apple with a litany of offenses, including violations of the California business code, breach of warranty, negligence and unjust enrichment.

Finally, the complaint alleges that Apple failed to provide adequate notice of its Extended Warranty program and didn't contact PowerBook G4 owners to inform them of said program under the warranty before it expired. Since the defect sometimes takes months or years to manifest, customers who've just begun to discover the flaw will be unable to receive reimbursement for repairs now that the Extended Warranty has expired, it adds.

Per the history of the case, Gomelsky reportedly wrote a letter to Apple's Cupertino-based offices in December of 2006 after being denied repairs for the issue. He later received a written reply, again denying his request. In March of 2007, Gomelsky wrote again to the company, citing online petitions and "the thousands of complaints posted on internet forums by owners of PowerBooks with defective memory slots"

Following a second unanswered letter, Gomelsky lodged a complaint with the Attorney General of California to begin the suit.