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Class action suit filed over iPhone "error 53" seeks over $5 million in damages and restitution

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Apple is the defendant in a class action suit seeking more than $5 million in damages and restitution

Apple is the defendant in a class action suit seeking more than $5 million in damages and restitution


On Monday, we told you that Seattle law firm PCVA was contemplating the filing of a class baction suit against Apple over the "error 53" message that indicates that an iPhone has been bricked. Today, the law firm filed for a jury trial in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. What causes this error message to pop up is the replacement of certain components in the Apple iPhone 6 and Apple iPhone 6 Plus, with unauthorized parts installed by non-Apple repairmen.

While replacing the Touch ID component, the screen and flex cable with non-Apple parts doesn't automatically set off the error message, the problem starts afterward when backed up data or iOS 9 is loaded onto the repaired phone. At that point, it is believed that the software is looking for the original Apple hardware. When it is not found, the "error 53" message comes up on the screen and the phone becomes unusable. Not only is the phone bricked, but all data and content that was saved on the handset is gone forever. And since the phone is considered tampered with by a non-Apple repairman, the warranty is voided. The iPhone owner has lost the use of his phone with no hope of getting a replacement from Apple.

On its website, PCVA says that it believes that Apple may be intentionally forcing its customers to use Apple's own repair services which are much pricier than third party shops. Apple claims that it needs to control the parts used in Touch ID in order to prevent security breaches. The fingerprint scanner is used to verify an iPhone user's identity when using Apple Pay. It also is employed when purchasing paid apps from the App Store.

PCVA is seeking at least $5 million in damages and restitution from Apple on behalf of those affected by the "error 53" message. PCVA also is asking Apple to release software that will remove the restrictions on iOS repairs.
      Error 53 Lawsuit



source: Scribd via AppleInsider

47 Comments
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posted on 11 Feb 2016, 20:12 9

1. FrenchTea (Posts: 16; Member since: 18 Aug 2014)


Saw this coming a mile away lol @apple

posted on 11 Feb 2016, 20:44 10

8. AlikMalix (Posts: 4856; Member since: 16 Jul 2014)


Actually I saw bigger consequences. $5 mil is nothing!!! Has to be at least $50mil.

posted on 11 Feb 2016, 21:39

15. maple_mak (Posts: 85; Member since: 18 Dec 2013)


That's weird.

posted on 12 Feb 2016, 03:49

36. My1cent (Posts: 339; Member since: 30 Jan 2014)


Error fruity tree?

posted on 11 Feb 2016, 21:54 7

17. ibend (Posts: 3210; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)


at least $5bil to slap some sense to their head, so they can respect their customer
permanently deleting customer data is so wrong..
(btw they should give those money to all "error 53 victims", not PCVA)

posted on 11 Feb 2016, 22:00 3

20. lyndon420 (Posts: 3735; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)


Maybe it depends on how many people get involved with the suit. How many people out there usually jump on an update as soon as it's posted?

posted on 11 Feb 2016, 23:12

24. AlikMalix (Posts: 4856; Member since: 16 Jul 2014)


That's a lot of people, lol... Have u seen the stats for iOS 9 adoption? Apple is screwed.

posted on 12 Feb 2016, 02:01 1

33. MSi_GS70 (unregistered)


They should wait to collect huge amou t of damaged ppl
Then it would be bilion bucks of damages..

posted on 12 Feb 2016, 02:35

34. Ashoaib (Posts: 3229; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)


it should be 5 billion... 5 million is nothing... may be apple saw case is inevitable so they paid these lawers to come up with a very small class "baction"(as PA says) suit, to avoid bigger case

posted on 12 Feb 2016, 15:34

47. darkkjedii (Posts: 19478; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


File a suit for 5 billion then.

posted on 12 Feb 2016, 01:59

32. MSi_GS70 (unregistered)


Popcorn or crisps?

posted on 11 Feb 2016, 20:22 11

2. GreekGeek (Posts: 1276; Member since: 22 Mar 2014)


They were updating it wrong

posted on 11 Feb 2016, 20:23 3

3. MrElectrifyer (Posts: 1925; Member since: 21 Oct 2014)


That's just a meh smack on the wrist...I doubt it'll be enough to make them loosen their iDictator grip on devices people paid for.

posted on 11 Feb 2016, 20:31 29

4. darkkjedii (Posts: 19478; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


There's been some bulls**t suits filed against Apple in the past, but not this one. Not only should they have to pay, but they should be made to replace every single bricked device also. Apple has a ton of money, and can easily afford to reimburse these people, that they should've warned in the first place.

I like Apple and all, but right is right, and on this one they're mos def wrong. I also think this may cause Apple some iPhone 7 sales, cause those who've been affected have to be pretty bummed. I'd only take my iPhone to Apple, even if I didn't know about this before hand, but those who don't have the luxury of having 4 Apple stores in their city, must make due. Apple, Cook, and the rest of them are point blank outta line on this one.

If people want to compromise their data Apple, just remember....they paid for that right. Damn, I almost TechieXP'd.

posted on 11 Feb 2016, 20:43 4

7. AlikMalix (Posts: 4856; Member since: 16 Jul 2014)


100% agree dj!

posted on 11 Feb 2016, 20:57 5

13. darkkjedii (Posts: 19478; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Yeah bro, Apple is dead wrong on this one. They shoulda put a disclaimer on the box, or in the fingertips pamphlet to let people know the risk of using 3rd party parts, related to that error. I'm disappointed in them on this one big time.

posted on 12 Feb 2016, 03:29

35. Finalflash (Posts: 2727; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)


They put a disclaimer called the EULA which everyone accepts without reading. Apple is allowed to change and. mess with the software as they please. They literally just changed iOS only on the error 53 phones. You still own the hardware and all, but you can't use iOS on it, which you license from Apple, if the hardware has been messed with. So this suit is dead in the water, especially in California.

posted on 12 Feb 2016, 05:10

37. xfire99 (Posts: 784; Member since: 14 Mar 2012)


Where in EULA does it says Apple have right to brick peoples phone and make it unsuable? Also destroy peoples data stored on the phone? Since Apple refused to repair any bricked phones which contains 3rd party components.
They may have right to do whatever they want with theirs softwares, but they do not have any rights to brick peoples phones and than leave them out of the cold without any help.

Until now: "after mass-media attention and a potential class-action lawsuit coming against the company. But no official listing of stores doing repairs was available."
http://www.idigitaltimes.com/apple-will-fix-iphone-error-53-problems-some-stores-support-personnel-say-amid-510863

posted on 12 Feb 2016, 10:32

44. Finalflash (Posts: 2727; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)


Bricking the phone is a side effect of the software being shutdown which the user agreed they can do. You can use the rest of the phone in any way you want but you can't use the software. So use it as a paperweight, install something else on it, whatever you want to do, just not with iOS.

posted on 12 Feb 2016, 07:19 2

40. marorun (Posts: 2930; Member since: 30 Mar 2015)


They should just block Apple pay and stuff linked to the scanner not delete all the phone data thats just wrong.

posted on 12 Feb 2016, 08:41

43. darkkjedii (Posts: 19478; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Yep, I agree.

posted on 12 Feb 2016, 10:34

45. Finalflash (Posts: 2727; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)


They aren't wiping the internals, they're just not letting you get to it through iOS or Apple software. You are more than welcome to decrypt the hardware on your own and retrieve the data though. Apple will not be touched on this, they have pretty good lawyers that probably made sure this was legal for them to do before doing it.

posted on 11 Feb 2016, 20:45

10. lyndon420 (Posts: 3735; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)


Damn good post.

posted on 11 Feb 2016, 20:48 7

12. cheetah2k (Posts: 1499; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)


In Australia a screen repair on a 6S is almost half the price of the phone if you're not covered by any insurance or repair plans - vs getting the screen repaired by a third party which costs substantially less (less than a third of the cost)

Most people have purchased these phones under contract, and cannot afford the repair cost..

Forcing people to pay a premium on the repair via Apple is not only Anti-competitive, but Anti-trust as you give the consumer no option but to pony up the cash to Apple..

I hope this blows up into something much bigger than it is. Apple should have been hit with an Anti-competitive, Anti-trust case long ago for their past and present actions.

posted on 11 Feb 2016, 22:43 1

22. NoToFanboys (Posts: 1030; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)


What's wrong with this is that they are only asking for $5mil

posted on 11 Feb 2016, 23:22 3

25. roscuthiii (Posts: 2150; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)


Nah... you're good. You'd need another paragraph or two.

Back to the topic at hand, since there only going after $5M instead of something more substantial I kinda feel like they may be doing the right thing for the wrong reason. Like the firm will just keep the 5 mil for themselves. Nothing whatsoever to do with effected Apple customers. Lawyers wouldn't do that though, would they?

posted on 12 Feb 2016, 05:16

38. darkkjedii (Posts: 19478; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


I think the amounts too small too.

posted on 13 Feb 2016, 01:09 1

48. NexusKoolaid (Posts: 463; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)


@Jedi - regarding what you said: "If people want to compromise their data Apple, just remember....they paid for that right. Damn" - I highly suspect the real situation is not all that cut and dry. I'm not going to explain things in detail here, but do a little research on trusted computing. The financial institutions that got behind Apple Pay probably did so only under the requirement that iOS devices would be designed and operate as a trusted platform. An unregistered/unexpected piece of hardware connected to the phone's data bus compromises trust, plain and simple. And it's not just the user's data involved here - Big Money wants to protect their cash and profits as well (one of the tenets of trusted computing).

I'm not saying Apple is in the right, but OTOH I'm not saying they're in the wrong. Until this plays out a bit more no one has enough information to be pointing fingers or spout off on what Apple could have or should have done instead.

posted on 13 Feb 2016, 12:12

50. darkkjedii (Posts: 19478; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Damn good post bro, I didn't think about the other parties involved. That makes a lot of sense. +1

posted on 11 Feb 2016, 20:34 8

5. S.R.K. (banned) (Posts: 678; Member since: 11 Feb 2016)


It should've been $50 million instead. Patent trolls.

posted on 11 Feb 2016, 20:42 4

6. AlikMalix (Posts: 4856; Member since: 16 Jul 2014)


5mil? That's it? That's not going to change anything... Feel the burn Apple, not!

posted on 11 Feb 2016, 20:45 3

9. PHYCLOPSH (Posts: 127; Member since: 28 Jun 2014)


Apple may have some of the best attorneys money can buy, but as we all know the law - if your name is Chochran you automatically win in court. Case adjourned.

posted on 11 Feb 2016, 20:48 3

11. cncrim (Posts: 791; Member since: 15 Aug 2011)


I see this one is legit. Come on, if it original part then just brick the Touch ID and permanent VOID message in notification, no no I'm going to brick the whole device. Typical greed Apple.

posted on 11 Feb 2016, 21:16 3

14. Trakker (Posts: 283; Member since: 11 Feb 2016)


$5m is nothing to Apple, I mean it's what... 1300 Foxconn employees annual wages.

posted on 11 Feb 2016, 21:57

18. lyndon420 (Posts: 3735; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)


Apple needs those 1300 Foxconn employees alot more than $5 million.

posted on 11 Feb 2016, 21:43 1

16. nautiyalspandan (Posts: 10; Member since: 22 Jan 2015)


I had done this type of thing on my motorola moto g.. After unlocking bootloader and flashing ota update , the phone just went dead . recognised on pc as 'qhusb.hulk' and it never woke up again.. :( Can't blame motorola because unlocked bootloader doesn't fall under their 'policies' ...

posted on 11 Feb 2016, 21:59 3

19. ibend (Posts: 3210; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)


unlocking bootloader or using customROM is user decision and done at his own risk..
but here, apple just decide to bricking and permanent deleting user data, lol

posted on 12 Feb 2016, 00:45

28. mrochester (Posts: 521; Member since: 17 Aug 2014)


So unlocking bootloader and using a custom ROM on a Motorola phone is the users fault, but installing unauthorised parts in an iPhone is Apple's fault. Logic fail!

posted on 12 Feb 2016, 01:24 2

30. VZWuser76 (Posts: 3642; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)


People really need to lay off the "unauthorized parts" shtick. If the parts work in the device, as from all reports all of them were, they weren't the wrong parts, electronically. What they were not was installed by Apple. From what I've read, there is a process that Apple does during a repair to essentially reset or sign the parts they've replaced and make them (in the software's eyes) correct. What this update has done has looked to see if any of the installed parts weren't signed by an Apple technician. However, electronically they worked just fine.

It's no different than what they did with their Lightning Cables by adding a resistor to make it "authorized". Electrically that cable would work just fine if they didn't have the software looking for the resistor.

Now talking a device and modifying it's software without knowing what you're doing and having it end up being bricked is a totally different thing, because for one thing the end user is the one doing it, not a repair shop. In both cases the devices are out of warranty, but in the case of the Android device the issue is because of end user error. In the case of the iPhone, it was working fine before the update but the update deliberately bricked the device, which was caused by Apple.

The point is most all of these devices were working fine until the update, which means, electronically at least, they were repaired correctly. That Apple made it so that only they and their partners could repair them wkthout this issue and any who didn't abide by that had their devices that were working correctly turned into a paperweight is if nothing else anticompetitive. What would happen if auto manufacturers made it so any repair done by a non dealer mechanic would render their car unusable?

posted on 13 Feb 2016, 01:35

49. NexusKoolaid (Posts: 463; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)


But it's not just about hardware any more - wiring things up correctly is not enough. The real picture is a more holistic reality - hardware AND software AND firmware. Serial numbers, hashing, encryption - everything working together to ensure that nothing has been compromised. Look, I'm not making any excuses for Apple here, but when you add serious security to the picture even something as simple as a part change can become far less straight-forward.

The lightning cable situation is IMO a completely different issue. It was done to increase licensing revenues. Error 53... Not a chance this was an anti-competitive move to increase repair revenue or to stick it to anyone who dares visit a 3rd party for repair. This is almost certainly a question of security - protecting user data and protecting the profits of the partners behind things like Apple Pay.

This tight security is where things are headed, and the days of simple part swap repairs are likely numbered. Hell, your car repair analogy makes me think of my car's catalytic converter I replaced a few years ago. Went in for a smog test two years later and my car failed - the part was for a different car model. My car did still work with the invalid cat, but I have to wonder how long it will be until car computers will be required to shut down without the right parts. I'm sure you'll point out that the car still worked after the repair, but then again there was no issue of security involved.

posted on 12 Feb 2016, 07:42

41. marorun (Posts: 2930; Member since: 30 Mar 2015)


Installing a custom rom ect is done to modify your device this can be unothorized by the phone maker.

Repairing your phone somewhere else because Apple charge way too much for what its worth thats bad bad bad..

Mrochester you are idiot if you dont see the difference here.

posted on 11 Feb 2016, 22:08 1

21. nautiyalspandan (Posts: 10; Member since: 22 Jan 2015)


yeah.. lol apple is messing this up..
But its a caution to motorola users who've unlocked their bootloaders.. Don't update your phones via ota after you have unlocked your bootloaders.. Otherwise you'll get messed up badly.. regardless of the model.. Motorola doesn't even have a proper tool for Restoration of their phones..... :/

posted on 11 Feb 2016, 22:45 3

23. AkoSiKuting (banned) (Posts: 88; Member since: 09 Dec 2015)


Can't help, jealousy everywhere just can't accept Apple success, I bet their lawyers own iPhone and Mac as well

Haters gonna hate :)

posted on 12 Feb 2016, 01:07 5

29. Norris (Posts: 121; Member since: 26 Jun 2015)


How is this a success?

posted on 12 Feb 2016, 07:45 2

42. marorun (Posts: 2930; Member since: 30 Mar 2015)


As someone said earlier would you be happy if your car stop working because you changed the alternator in a third party Garage? Think about this before saying crap.

posted on 12 Feb 2016, 07:17

39. marorun (Posts: 2930; Member since: 30 Mar 2015)


They can block everything about apple pay if they wish but bricking the phone is where they are wrong.

posted on 12 Feb 2016, 13:57

46. VZWuser76 (Posts: 3642; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)


What I can't figure out is why at the very least they didn't leave an option to send their device into Apple with proof of ownership and get the device reauthorized? At least then it customers would still have access to their data and the device wouldn't end up in a landfill.

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