An iPhone user in San Francisco has sued Apple for the exact cost of his iPhone, saying the company refused to repair the device despite it being under warranty.
Theodore A. Kim filed a lawsuit in San Francisco seeking $1,383.13, the original cost of his phone. The claim was filed in small claims court.
“It levels the playing field so that just a simple consumer like me can sue a big company without having to worry about getting lawyers and all that other stuff,” Kim told Insider in a phone interview last week. “I feel like at least I want my day in court.”
The court clerk set a trial for 1.30 p.m. on November 23, 2021, according to documents. Apple didn’t respond to Insider’s requests for comment.
The phone Kim’s suing over was originally purchased from an authorized Apple seller in Vietnam in October 2020, he said. The iPhone 12 was under Apple’s warranty until October 2022, he said.
When Kim returned to the US during the pandemic, he was having trouble getting the phone to read a US sim card. So he called Apple, and they told him to bring it into a local Apple Store.
“And so I brought it into the store and they sent it to the repair depot – then they came back and said, ‘Yeah, we’re not going to fix this because it’s been tampered with,'” Kim said. “And I said: ‘Tampered with in what way?'”
He didn’t get an answer, he said. Instead, they returned the phone. But now it had a broken SIM tray, Kim said.
A few weeks later, Kim filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Apple responded to that complaint, saying the iPhone would have been repaired if it had been broken while the company had it.
“Apple considers this matter closed,” the company said, according to the BBB website.
Since Apple wouldn’t fix the phone under the warranty – which Kim said was voided by the company – he offered to pay for the repair. But the company again refused, he said.
As a final gambit, he sent an email to Apple CEO Tim Cook’s email address in late June. He didn’t hear back. So he turned to Google for ways to solve the problem.
“And I found a blog post of someone in Seattle successfully suing Apple in small claims court,” Kim said.
In that 2012 case, a blogger brought Apple to small claims court in Washington after his 2008 MacBook Pro’s graphics card died. That blogger’s experience was similar enough to his that Kim thought he might have a chance in court.
“So I said, ‘Well, OK, why don’t I try the same avenue,'” he said. “I kind of jokingly said, ‘Well, this is like a David and Goliath kind of situation.’ We’ll see what happens.”