A new class-action lawsuit claims that the keyboard used beginning in 2015 in the Apple MacBook and from 2016 on in the Apple MacBook Pro is faulty and fails too easily. Girard Gibbs LLC, the law firm initiating the suit, told CRN that in the week since its initial complaint was filed, thousands of MacBook purchasers have gotten in touch to inquire about joining in. The law firm, which specializes in class-action suits against large companies, also initiated a class-action suit against Facebook in April over the Cambridge Analytica data breach. If you're a MacBook owner and a Facebook user, you may be able to sign up for both. And while it seems unlikely that a MacBook owner would have a Google Pixel phone, you should know that the firm has also filed class-action lawsuits against Google and LG over alleged defects in Pixel phones.

The issue in the Apple case is the MacBook's new "butterfly" keyboard, a thinner keyboard that helps make the laptop itself almost impossibly light and thin. According to the lawsuit, the keyboard is prone to malfunction when debris gets under the keys. Because individual keys can't be removed, the only way to repair it is to replace the entire keyboard at a cost of about $700. 

The lawsuit further claims that Apple has disingenuously given MacBook owners elaborate instructions for blowing out the keyboard using canned air--a solution that only works in some cases, and often only temporarily--rather than replace keyboards under warranty.

Whatever the truth of these claims, it's clear that large numbers of MacBook owners are having problems with their keyboards. A Change.org petition demands that Apple recall all the MacBook and MacBook Pro units that contain butterfly keyboards and replace the keyboards with redesigned ones "that just work." So far, that petition has more than 18,000 signatures.

Meanwhile, the lawsuit is still at an early stage, and the many people who want to participate in it have not yet been certified as a class. But it's a great time to join the suit if you bought a MacBook with a butterfly keyboard and have had trouble with it. Or even if you haven't but don't want to worry about it failing in the future. 

Girard Gibbs has created an online survey you can fill out to tell the firm when, where, and at what price you bought your MacBook or MacBook Pro and whether your keyboard has malfunctioned. The firm is one of at least two that have initiated class-action lawsuits against Facebook over the Cambridge Analytica data breach. If you're interested in joining Girard Gibbs's Facebook lawsuit as well, you can fill out a separate online survey for that case. The firm is also suing Google over a defect in the microphones of Google Pixel phones (it has sued over issues booting up Pixel phones, a case which has gone to arbitration). If you have a Pixel phone, you can learn more here.

Published on: May 21, 2018
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