Apple faces class action suit over 'ignored' faulty 2011 MacBook Pro graphics issues

Despite numerous reports that older MacBook Pro graphics cards have failed or become faulty, Apple has remained mum on the matter, leaving frustrated users with few options.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor
Image: Apple discussion forums

Apple may face the courtroom yet again this year if a rising number of its customers get their way, after a class action suit was filed in a Californian federal court.

The suit, filed on October 24 [PDF], claims Apple failed to resolve a graphics issue with its 2011 MacBook Pro laptops, which come with AMD-based graphics, leaving displays unreadable and devices unusable.

The complaint suggests the graphics chips on both 15-inch and 17-inch models began to fail because the lead-free solder used in the manufacturing process caused short circuiting, which caused the display to seemingly go haywire. Issues with affected displays could happen when the laptop is subject to sudden changes in temperature.

Sister-site TechRepublic detailed this issue in January, in which writer Eric Eckel said users should "probably be shown some grace if a manufacturing flaw is, indeed, found."

But the core of the suit is Apple's continued silence.

The complaint alleges that Apple "surprisingly ignored the claims of the thousands of customers" who were in many cases appealing directly to the company's chief executive.

More often than not, the complaint suggests, affected users had to shell out between $350 and $600 of their own cash to fix the issues with the graphics chip.

Two years after issues began to surface, Apple's support forums have been dogged with reports of issues with the graphics chip or problems with the display, particularly when running high-performance apps, such as video or photo editors.

One thread had more than 1.7 million views, more than 9,300 replies, and spanned dozens of pages. Despite this, there was still no word from Apple -- official or otherwise.

Many had even called for a replacement program to be put into effect, allowing users to swap out faulty devices at no cost.

Affected users in California and Florida are covered under the suit. The lawyers representing the case, Whitfield Bryson & Mason, demanded in the filing a trial by jury.

We reached out to Apple for comment but did not hear back at the time of writing.

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