Apple Slapped With Lawsuit Over iPhone 7 Loop Disease Defect And Substandard Materials

Apple has in the past charged iPhone 7 users to repair a microphone defect that appeared to many to be a design flaw in the phone. The charge to fix that mic defect was $300, not too far off from the cost of replacing the phone. Apple was offering users a refurbished replacement device for $329 to $349. The microphone in some iPhone 7 devices continued to fail even after updating to iOS 12.1.1.

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The microphone problem was linked to the failure of a logic board inside the smartphone and was dubbed "loop disease." Initially, Apple was repairing the devices for free but reversed that policy. It later began charging $300 if users had no AppleCare+ warranty or if the device wasn't still covered under its original factory warranty. Apple has now been hit with a second class-action suit over the so-called loop disease.

The new lawsuit was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The complaint in the new lawsuit is nearly identical to a similar suit brought against Apple last week in Illinois. That Illinois suit claimed that Apple tried to conceal an iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus defect that caused issues with audio features on the smartphone.

The new California suit includes a pair of local plaintiffs with iPhone 7 devices impacted by loop disease. The suit refers to loop disease as an Audio IC Defect. One plaintiff in the case is Joseph Casillas who purchased an impacted iPhone in July 2017 and used the device until November 2018 when the problem first surfaced. The phone was out of warranty, and Apple told him he would need to pay for repairs.

A second plaintiff in the case is De'Jhontai Banks who purchased her iPhone 7 in 2017 and encountered audio issues in August 2018 that made it hard to hear callers unless sound came through the iPhone speaker. She was told she would need to pay for repairs. Neither plaintiff was told their devices might be having issues related to the audio chip.

The suit alleges that substandard materials allows the iPhone 7 case to flex leading to failures in solder for the audio IC chip. The lawsuit seeks class status, damages, attorneys' fees, and injunctive relief. It also seeks a court order to force repair or recall of impacted devices and an extended warranty to cover the defect.