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Seattle law firm considers filing a class-action suit against Apple for the "error 53" issue

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Seattle law firm considers filing a class-action suit against Apple for the
Last Friday, we told you about the "error 53" message that some Apple iPhone users have been receiving. The error message occurs when repairs are made to the Touch ID fingerprint scanner by non-Apple repair shops using unauthorized parts. Once the error message appears, the phone becomes unusable, the warranty is voided and photos, data and other content are gone forever.

The scary part of the "error 53" story is that it is a problem that lies dormant until you update your Apple iPhone 6 or Apple iPhone 6 Plus to iOS 9. At that point, the software is looking for authorized parts and shuts down the phone when it doesn't find them. In a statement issued on Friday, Apple says that those affected with the problem need to contact Apple support immediately.

On its website, Seattle law firm PCVA writes that it is investigating the possibility of initiating a class-action suit against Apple. The law firm believes that Apple has created the "error 53" issue as a way to force iPhone users to pay the higher prices that Apple charges for repairs.

"We believe that Apple may be intentionally forcing users to use their repair services, which cost much more than most third party repair shops. Where you could get your screen replaced by a neighborhood repair facility for $50-80, Apple charges $129 or more. There is incentive for Apple to keep end users from finding alternative methods to fix their products."-PCVA Law firm

We should mention that if you think that by winning a class-action suit against Apple you will get enough money to buy a new iPhone, guess again. Most class-action suits pay very little to the members of the class while the lawyers wind up with a decent pay day. In addition, most class-action suits make you give up your right to sue individually.

If you're confident that you will be able to get more by appealing to Apple's sense of fairness than two quarters taped to a postcard, you might want to consider taking matters into your own hands by placing that call to Cupertino yourself.

source: PCVALaw via AppleInsider

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posted on 08 Feb 2016, 17:08 6

1. Derekjeter (Posts: 1070; Member since: 27 Oct 2011)

All class suits only benefit the lawyers. This is nothing but BS of a firm trying to get rich. Since there's so many Apple haters and wannabes the law suit will most likely happen.

posted on 08 Feb 2016, 17:16 13

3. maherk (Posts: 4820; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)

Expect AlikMalix to award this comment as the post of the day lol

posted on 08 Feb 2016, 19:21 3

28. AlikMalix (unregistered)

Herk, oh no, I agree with the crowd on this one. Apple messed up big on this. The fact that there are so many ways to deal with potential security problem that can arise from this - bricking it was wrong. Hopefully this lawsuit wins and Apple forced to figure another way to keep devices secure that don't have original parts.

Too bad the layers will get a big check and the ones affected get the "if you were affected by this, please sign and mail it back to receive your $5.47".

PS: post of the day! +1.

posted on 08 Feb 2016, 20:13 7

40. ibend (Posts: 6633; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)

yeah right, they have the right to void warranty, but deleting all data and bricking the phone is obviously too much...
last year, a couple can sue apple because their staff deleted their recent honeymoon photos (they get 2000 eur), I guess the people who get error 53 deserve to get more than 2000 eur each :-/

posted on 09 Feb 2016, 09:30

62. xondk (Posts: 1904; Member since: 25 Mar 2014)

This is the point of the matter.
They can disable all services they have on that phone that requires interaction with Apple in one way or another. Breaking a eula and similar means you use everything forward from that point, they cannot take anything away you've already bought, this includes that they can't brick the users product. Doing so is very illegal.

Though that said it is unfortunate that class law suits are the only real way to sue such companies, especially since lawyers are the only ones really gaining anything.

posted on 08 Feb 2016, 19:24 9

32. NoToFanboys (Posts: 2942; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)

I wouldn't be surprised if he defended Apple on the court itself.

posted on 08 Feb 2016, 20:06 1

36. AlikMalix (unregistered)

If they paid me what the paid their lawyers.... You would too, I'd hire techie to write my opening and closing statements.

posted on 08 Feb 2016, 20:23

45. NoToFanboys (Posts: 2942; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)

LOL that would make the session longer than it should be.

posted on 10 Feb 2016, 09:53 1

72. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 14136; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)


My opening statement would start off saying "Apple is raping their customers" and since raping is a crime, you have no choice but to find them guilty.

posted on 08 Feb 2016, 17:19 3

4. Mxyzptlk (unregistered)

+1. This is just another dick move by some shady scumbag lawyers to profit off of stupidity. What part of UNAUTHORIZED parts did they not understand?

posted on 08 Feb 2016, 17:31 12

7. VZWuser76 (Posts: 4752; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)

If you read other articles, it's not unauthorized parts, it's non original parts. Apparently these parts have some kind of serial number or signature to show if they're original or not. From what I've read there is a process Apple does when repairing these devices to authorize the new parts, something a third party repair facility doesn't have access to.

In one case, a guy didn't even repair his device, it was damaged but usuable so he continued to use it as is and the update gave him an error 53.


I would say at the very least, Apple should've given people a warning before the update so they wouldn't end up bricking their device.

posted on 08 Feb 2016, 19:08 2

23. Mxyzptlk (unregistered)

Stuff happens. No one bats an eye when issues pop on Android, particularly Lollipop. How many freaking issues did it have?

The article here says unauthorized parts and that's not the first time something has happened from using unauthorized parts.

posted on 08 Feb 2016, 20:06 7

35. VZWuser76 (Posts: 4752; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)

How many times has Google or any of the Android OEMS intentionally bricked their users devices in the name of security, and without telling them no less? I'll wait.

Other articles are saying non original components. And with electronics, it's not unauthorized components that cause issues, it's out of spec or tolerance components that cause issues. As long as the part is electronically identical (same specs and tolerances) there will be no issues. Apple in this case (and in a way with their cables as well) have engineered there to be issues when using "non approved" parts. In the lightning cables, having that resistor in only serves to signal to the device that it has been made by an approved vendor.

If you'd read the article I linked to, you would've seen that it wasn't just devices repaired by third party techs either.

posted on 08 Feb 2016, 20:12 5

38. MrElectrifyer (banned) (Posts: 3960; Member since: 21 Oct 2014)

This move from apple is as stupid as having your MacBook get bricked 'cause you used an "unauthorized" USB peripheral. The fingerprint reader doesn't hold no data, It's a meh human interface device (HID) for the OS to receive input from the user, the OS then stores data in a "secure enclave" according to Apple.

Having a different HID wouldn't put the data that's already stored at risk, worst case would be the HID would be reading incorrect input data, thus the OS won't be able to match the input with what already stored. To avoid any risk, the OS can simply disable the HID device. But no, instead apple would rather screw their customer's data and brick the entire device...unfortunately they have mindless zombie followers like you defending this bullcrap.

posted on 08 Feb 2016, 22:14 4

49. vananucho (Posts: 76; Member since: 01 Jun 2011)

I have replaced my Razr's screen digi twice with the cheapest chinese parts available and it still rocks as brand new. I call this apple thing BS. But that's what you get with money grabbing evil companies and their stupid patent protecting tech & policies bs. Anyway, if you own an iphone, and happened to 'suffer' from this, is your fault, with so many reliable & repairable options in the market *cough* *droid turbo II* *cough*

posted on 10 Feb 2016, 09:58

74. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 14136; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)

Has nothign to do with it.

posted on 08 Feb 2016, 18:23 16

11. Furbal (unregistered)

That is an idiotic statement. non original part should void the warranty, and disable the fingerprint scanner, not break the device.

posted on 08 Feb 2016, 18:45 5

16. engineer-1701d (unregistered)

no all of you no matter apple fans or haters should know changing parts not at oem approved locations voids warranty nothing to do with disabling the item.
thats like having your brakes changed at local mechanics shop then passing 40mph and the brakes are turned off.

posted on 08 Feb 2016, 19:27 1

33. elitewolverine (Posts: 5192; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)

Actually with modern brake systems, especially ones electronic controls this CAN happen if repaired wrong. Or worse yet...not work at all.

They disabled the software that you DO NOT OWN. Your device still works, they did not destroy the functionality of the device.

posted on 08 Feb 2016, 20:23 7

44. PopeFrancis (Posts: 59; Member since: 05 Aug 2014)

It's funny watching fans trying to defend Apple on this one.

You just said it, if repaired wrong, it is not the case here. I can think of a dozen ways of handling the security problem, without rendering the devices unusable and without damaging their image with their loyal customers, but see, this is not only about security, is about having even more control, which ends up translating in money.

You're right, the software belongs to Apple, but is there a way to keep using the device if Apple disables the software? If Apple allowed to use the device with different software, I think I would agree to certain extent, but there is no other way than Apple's.

posted on 09 Feb 2016, 06:48 2

59. elitewolverine (Posts: 5192; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)

Good thing I am no fan of apple. I am a fan of defending idiots from not reading the terms.

Do I think it is stupid...of course. That doesn't make them wrong and the consumer right.

Simply stop buying their s**t, that's how you fix it.

posted on 09 Feb 2016, 11:52 2

64. VZWuser76 (Posts: 4752; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)

I think that's what they're risking here, losing those customers.

I left Apple when a similar issue happened. I sent my iPod classic in for repair, to Apple no less. The battery and hard drive had to be replaced. When I received the repaired device, it would no longer recognize me as the legitimate owner of the media I purchased. I spent a week back and forth with Apple support trying to solve the issue. When we couldn't come up with a solution to reauthorize my device, they told me to repurchase the media. I asked if they would credit me, and I was informed they couldn't do that. So because of an issue on their end, I was supposed to be out over $100 to get back what I'd lost. I left them after that incident.

The worst part was, I was all set to get an iPhone when it launched on Verizon, but because of their greed, they lost a customer and all the revenue I would've brought them going forward. Considering I pick up a new device every year, that easily outshines the money they tried to get from me earlier. If they're not careful, they'll be in the same boat but with a much larger group of people.

posted on 09 Feb 2016, 14:28 1

68. elitewolverine (Posts: 5192; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)

They should loose them, imo. While I like certain things about apple from a tech perspective in the job I am in and probably choose them over Android if I was forced too, there is still things that just keep me away from both platforms for the moment. I rather go down in flames with my win10 device.

If it fails, I will switch to a tablet with lte, and Skype#

posted on 09 Feb 2016, 01:16 2

53. vincelongman (Posts: 5048; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)

Terrible comparison
Brakes are critical
Fingerprint reader isn't and there's PIN already setup as fallback, more secure as well
And Apple bricked iPhones

Its like having your cracked windscreen replaced at your local mechanics, then your car not turning

posted on 09 Feb 2016, 06:51

60. Nopers (Posts: 462; Member since: 01 Jun 2015)

It's not though, I assume it is to protect personal data if somebody were to tamper with the Touch ID or other parts.

posted on 09 Feb 2016, 11:57 1

65. VZWuser76 (Posts: 4752; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)

That may be the reason. My two issues with their handling of it are that 1. They could've warned their users that this would happen, and 2. At the very least why was there not a way to send it into Apple with proof of ownership and have the device be repaired and reauthorized so that the device and the content stored on it could be salvaged rather than simply making it filler for a landfill?

Also it's not that the device wouldn't function after the repair, so the parts were correct, the issue was it wasn't repaired by Apple. Destroying all the user's content stored on the device and rendering it a paperweight to protect the user is a very shortsighted way of handling the issue.

posted on 10 Feb 2016, 00:06

69. vincelongman (Posts: 5048; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)

Just disable the fingerprint reader
Then their iPhone is now more secure than a new iPhone
No need to turn it into a $650+ paper weight

posted on 08 Feb 2016, 19:05 1

22. Mxyzptlk (unregistered)

Just like a faulty Galaxy S battery shouldn't fry the phone and cause it to burn up. Oh wait.

It's just like rooting your phone, you risk having it getting bricked or messed up.

posted on 08 Feb 2016, 20:02 3

34. NoToFanboys (Posts: 2942; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)

You are slowly becoming one of those you hate, albeit on a different side.

posted on 08 Feb 2016, 20:08 1

37. VZWuser76 (Posts: 4752; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)

You're comparing a hardware issue that can affect any manufacturer to something Apple did intentionally.

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