Guy Sues Apple For $25k Because His Time Capsule Device Died

from the that's-not-how-this-works dept

People will file lawsuits over almost anything these days. Perminder Tung has apparently sued Apple because his Time Capsule device broke and no one at the Genius Bar could fix it. I can certainly understand the frustration here, but it's difficult to see how there's any sort of legit claim. Technology fails all the time. There's nothing that promised this device would work forever. Claiming, as Tung does, that the failure of Time Capsule represents "a fundamental and total breach of contract," seems like a huge stretch. Man. If I could have legitimately sued every time a technology -- especially a backup storage system -- failed without being repairable, I'd have a hell of a lot more money. But we don't do that, because we know that there is no implicit promise when you buy technology that it works forever.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Zauber Paracelsus (profile), Jun 18th, 2012 @ 8:41pm

    "If I could have legitimately sued every time a technology -- especially a backup storage system -- failed without being repairable, I'd have a hell of a lot more money."

    I know how that feels. I've had five SATA devices fail over the years: four hard drives and one DVD burner. The DVD burner bricked in unison with a hard drive. I'm placing the blame on the PSU in my computer, which failed after three years of usage (almost to the day I first turned on the computer).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Hooter McBus (profile), Jun 18th, 2012 @ 8:50pm

    One of the few times I disagree with you, Mike

    One of the few times I disagree with you, Mike.

    The selling point of these devices is that:

    1. They will last for a long time (hence the name, Time Capsule); and

    2. That they are a secure backup for when you encounter problems on your Mac.

    You cannot then deny any responsibility with an argument that "all technology fails". That may be true, but when you sell an item based on a promise, you cannot resort to that defence.

    This is in contrast to, say, an iPhone, which may fail at some point, but is not sold on the premise that it will have longevity.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    aerilus, Jun 18th, 2012 @ 9:05pm

    when you build idiot proof technology you have to deal with idiots

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    samoanbiscuit (profile), Jun 18th, 2012 @ 9:27pm

    I want to sue Apple too!

    I also purchased a Time Machine device from Apple, yet was bitterly disappointed that my plan to quickly and cheaply find myself among Morlocks and Eloi did not pan out! How was I to know that only digital files would be sent back and forth through time? Now if only I could save up money for a Wacom digitizer.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2012 @ 9:49pm

    He should go back in time and stop himself from purchasing the time capsule.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), Jun 18th, 2012 @ 9:50pm

    Re: Right!

    ...and no matter how idiot proof you make something, there will always be a better idiot who can still break it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2012 @ 9:51pm

    Re: One of the few times I disagree with you, Mike

    They will last for a long time (hence the name, Time Capsule);

    That is not the genesis of the name at all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jun 18th, 2012 @ 10:08pm

    Wait wait wait

    He sued Apple when one of their products broke and didn't deliver as promised...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Drhead, Jun 18th, 2012 @ 10:33pm

    This guy needs to learn that it takes two copies to make a backup. If the hard drive containing the only copy of something fails it's your own damn fault, and not an excuse to sue Apple for enough money for 100 replacements.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    David, Jun 18th, 2012 @ 10:38pm

    No wonder Mr. Tung sued: he's a lawyer. I wonder, though, what his contract with Apple says about something like this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2012 @ 10:39pm

    Re: One of the few times I disagree with you, Mike

    It obviously lasted long enough for the warranty to expire. That means a minimum of 1 year, which in apple tech terms is a long time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Donnicton, Jun 18th, 2012 @ 10:49pm

    Re: Re: One of the few times I disagree with you, Mike

    Actually, in Apple tech terms it's "Why hadn't you trashed it and bought our newer model six months ago?"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2012 @ 11:07pm

    ROFL This is just about as bad as a 400lb lady trying to sue the makers of sex swings when they fail.

    To be fair they do come with a warning on the side.
    "No elephants allowed."

    Same goes for the time capsules.
    "Device might fail if inserted rectally."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2012 @ 11:43pm

    Anyone here remember the light-bulb that has remained lit for 100 years and still works today? That's because at the time, light-bulbs and other pieces of technology were made with quality in mind.
    Today, most if not all electronics companies make items of poor quality and short durability so that they break quickly and people are forced to buy new ones.
    Light-bulbs don't last 100 years. Some printers are purposefully made so that some parts will fail after a certain number of uses.
    Most of the time, manufacturers don't try to make their products last. Sometimes, they even lower the life of their products on purpose.

    A lot of stores today will sell you televisions with only a 3-6 month warranty. If you want to extend the warranty, you have to pay extra. Why? Don't these stores trust that the stuff they sell you will last more than 6 months? They're basically telling you "We can't promise it will still work after a few months"! Why do we accept this as normal when we should be telling these stores "Well if you don't think your TV can last longer I won't buy it"?

    Maybe we do need some lawsuits over failing electronics. Those devices aren't cheap (they're affordable perhaps, but not cheap). They can also be very important - back up storage, cellphones, laptops with our work on them... we can't afford to have them fail or spend more than a few days in the repair shop.
    Yes, technology fails sometimes, I can accept that. The question is, why does it fail? And if the answer is "because the manufacturer doesn't care about making a durably product" then that's wrong.

    Not only does this make us shell out more money to replace broken devices, but it also hurts the economy by wasting resources. The natural resources and the time spent making a replacement iPad could be used elsewhere. If only that first iPad didn't break and didn't need to be replaced, right?

    Devices have to last for a reasonable amount of time; "reasonable" should be defined with regards to the importance of the device (storage and work devices should definitely be built with durability in mind), the cost of the device (few people can and should spend $1000 on a new TV every 6 months), and the use the device is designed for (some devices are designed for heavy tasks that will damage them faster, such devices should therefore be allowed to have shorter warranties).

    We NEED manufacturers to focus on durability. And if the only way to do this is to sue, then why not? I know devices will fail, but did Apple try very hard to make a device that lasted a long time? Durability should definitely have been one of their concerns when they developed the product, so perhaps a lawsuit is warranted here.
    We have minimum standards for safety, so why not minimum standards for durability?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2012 @ 11:47pm

    Re: Re: One of the few times I disagree with you, Mike

    A time capsule is a device in which are stored items (or sometimes information), for long periods of times (usually several generations, so about 100 years at least).

    The purpose of course is that future generations will one day find these preserved relics of ancient times. And that requires the time capsule to be solid and able to protect it's contents for a long time.

    Apple's device is indeed aptly name considering it's purpose (but one can question whether the device lives up to it's name).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2012 @ 11:49pm

    Re:

    Perhaps Apple could learn that same lesson and sell their Time Capsule in packs of 2, then?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    RyanNerd (profile), Jun 19th, 2012 @ 12:04am

    Re:

    Right on!! This is what I want to know. How is this a $25,000 claim? Based on Apple's stock price? I am not a fan of Apple at all but these types of excessive gold digging law suits should be thrown out of court and the plaintiff fined for his stupidity.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    Andrew F (profile), Jun 19th, 2012 @ 12:12am

    Apple Store Employees

    Sounds like the complaint is based on a conversation with an Apple Store employee:

    "It's crucial that this if this backup fails, I can always recover my data."
    "Yes sir, it does that."
    "Always?"
    "Always"
    "OK, I'm just asking because I don't know a thing about technology and am totally relying on you to tell me how this works."
    "Of course. I'm a genius. I guarantee your data will be recoverable."

    Unlikely the conversation actually went like that, but if it did, man, that Apple employee's probably out of a job.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Jun 19th, 2012 @ 12:15am

    This story is obviously a lie! Everyone knows that Apple produces perfection!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Jun 19th, 2012 @ 12:19am

    This just in: Apple don't liek you burying their shit in open gardens, break time capsule!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    drew (profile), Jun 19th, 2012 @ 12:32am

    Re:

    Yep, it's walled gardens only from here on in...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    Anonymous Coward of Esteemed Trolling (profile), Jun 19th, 2012 @ 12:34am

    Re:

    Moral of that story is always get a good psu.
    One that fails without taking everything with it.
    A bit like those cheap "silent" psu's that are noisier than an aeroplane taking off, Apple's "Time capsule" is marketed as bullshit it aint.

    This guy should have to learn the hard way.
    Everyone knows Apple marketing is utter lies and propaganda.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Azrael, Jun 19th, 2012 @ 1:06am

    Re:

    The minimum legal warranty period for a new product from US is one year - 2 years in EU. If it's less then that product isn't new and you get what you pay for.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    Keroberos (profile), Jun 19th, 2012 @ 1:08am

    This seems like a case of a clueless end user not understanding what a backup is. Having a single copy of anything is not a backup, regardless of what it's stored on. Also I'm quite sure that Apple puts in the "No guarantee as to fitness to purpose" and the "No responsibility for damage from events beyond our reasonable control" clauses in their EULA like all other software/hardware manufactures do. Hardware breaks--most of us understand this, this is why we buy backup devices--to lessen the risk by having more than one copy of important files. No company (including Apple) should be held responsible for random unforeseen hardware/software failures--that's the end user's job.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    Zimzat (profile), Jun 19th, 2012 @ 1:22am

    What I wonder...

    What I wonder is why Apple doesn't make their Time Machine devices as RAID-0 with two mirror hard drives. That would the easiest way to ensure the backups are almost always available so you almost never lose historical data, even if one drive fails. That's what I have in NAS, is two 1TB identical drives. On the other hand that would increase the size and cost of the device.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jun 19th, 2012 @ 2:01am

    Re: One of the few times I disagree with you, Mike

    It sounds like you're reading far too much into a brand name for what is essentially an external hard drive. Do you also complain that Windows tablets don't last as long as their stone counterparts, or is your derision reserved for Apple products?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    icon
    JackHerer (profile), Jun 19th, 2012 @ 2:02am

    Re:

    I know that it is just an example to make your point but it is a bad example.

    The now 110 year light bulb (http://www.centennialbulb.org/) has not lasted so long because it is of higher quality, if anything it has lasted so long because it is a bit crap. The filaments are extremely thick so have not burned out and it still works, the downside of this is it is extremely dull and probably uses a great deal electricity to supply it's meagre dull glow. I also suspect that the cost of the thing at the time it was made compares pretty poorly with the cost of 100 years worth of modern lightbulbs at today's prices.

    Also technology moves on at an ever increasing pace, whilst perhaps todays televisions do not last as long as those made 40 years ago, but then today they do not need to. These days with TVs and most technological devices they are replaced with an new, better, more advanced equivalent after en increasingly shorter timer that products simply do not need to last as long. Very few people these days would pay what it cost to build a TV that lasted for 15-20 years because they they expect to have replaced it with a bigger/better/higher definition model long before that 15-20 years is up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jun 19th, 2012 @ 2:03am

    Re: Re: Right!

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe." - Albert Einstein

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Robbie, Jun 19th, 2012 @ 2:34am

    Sale of Goods Act

    If his country's Sale of Goods Act is anything like the UK's, he's able to expect his product to last up to 6 years, regardless of manufacturers warranty. So while it may not last 'forever', the consumer can certainly expect it to last longer than 1 year. But it seems Apple did actually offer a full refund, and he refused it.

    As for suing over the additional losses, I'd assume the product comes with a 50 page disclaimer covering them for that kind of thing. And of course, most people should be aware to keep additional, secondary backups.

    I don't see any mention of him trying to recover the data - he's just taken the Apple' guy's word that the data is lost. If he's so upset about the loss of data, why hasn't he sent the drive in to a data recovery company?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2012 @ 3:08am

    Re: One of the few times I disagree with you, Mike

    "1. They will last for a long time (hence the name, Time Capsule);"

    Right. That's why I sued HTC when my phone failed to produce any sort of "Magic". I also sued Ford, because when I went in to buy a horse, I came out the door with a car. What the hell? What is wrong with these people!?


    /idiot

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jun 19th, 2012 @ 3:16am

    Re: Sale of Goods Act

    "If his country's Sale of Goods Act is anything like the UK's, he's able to expect his product to last up to 6 years, regardless of manufacturers warranty."

    Do you have a citation for that? As far as I understand it, 6 years is the length of time you're allowed to put in a court claim, not necessarily the length of time you can expect a product to last for. Lots of things fail well before that time, under perfectly normal usage conditons.

    Even so, it's a shaky bunch of claims. For starters, the described loss of functionality could be due to physical damage, a power surge, or something else outside of Apple's control. He seems to be highlighting the fact that similar models had known defects, but nothing suggests this model was one of them (unless that's part of the mysterious proof he's withheld from the initial claim). He claims loss of data, but given that the devices connected to the device are not claimed, that means he was using it as the sole source for that data - something I'm sure they advise against in the manual. The losses of the data from the iPhone sounds fishy (it would usually be backed up on one of his computers, which would then back up on the capsule - what happened to the data in his iTunes install?). On top of that, Apple did offer him a discounted replacement, which he refused even though his product was 2 years outside of warranty, yet he's gone out and purchased extra equipment for which he's now trying to get refund - should Apple really be liable for the cost of replacing equipment after he refused their own offer to replace it?

    Unless he can prove that Apple had advertised the product as a permanent, failproof device or that the model was one with a known defect, I don't see where he stands. Either he had totally unrealistic expectations of a hard drive-based device or he's just trying to get free money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2012 @ 3:18am

    Re: Re: One of the few times I disagree with you, Mike

    He should probably stay away from Apple products. He might try to eat them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2012 @ 3:44am

    Re: Re: Re: One of the few times I disagree with you, Mike

    That is the definition of an ordinary time capsule, maybe, but it definitely does not guarantee the same for technology.

    Just a list of devices I can no longer connect to my current PC:

    ISA/EISA cards
    PCI cards
    25 pin parallel port devices
    9 pin serial port devices
    parallel ATA drives
    PS/2 mouse or keyboard
    15 pin Dsub video cables
    coax network cables

    I bet some of these can still be made to work, but my point is that the chances are that USB and Firewire in it's current form just don't exist anymore in 20 years from now, let alone 100 years. By then you have a brick which in theory *could* work, but you have no means to access the contents. And that's just the connectors. Operating Systems of that time probably won't be backwards compatible with current file system format.

    I think this guy only has a chance at this if the contract with Apple says they guarantee they can retrieve the data, and that this is no longer possible. Which I doubt, data retrieval companies can retrieve data from drives that have been overwritten 3 times and have been in a fire, submerged in water, and what not. Even if all of that applies.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2012 @ 4:00am

    Depends what he was told when he bought it.

    My friend (stupidly) bought all Apple products, including a Time Capsule. The sales guy told him "Unlike other brands of backup devices the Time Capsule won't fail after several years. You could keep it for 50 years if you want."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2012 @ 4:11am

    Re: One of the few times I disagree with you, Mike

    First, understand, I am no Apple lover, but...

    Let me get this straight. Because the name of the backup device is "Time Capsule" it should last a long time? You know the device it backs up is an Apple, does that mean I should be able to eat it (and it should contain, roughly, the nutritional values of an "Apple"? Using your logic that should be true.

    How about my Dodge RAM Truck. By it's name I should be able to "RAM" 2500 times, and come away with both the vehicle and me unscathed. No?

    What's in a name? Nothing! It is, and has for a very long time been, nothing more than a marketing tool. I could list hundreds probably thousands of products that do not live up to their name.

    In point 12 the complaint claims: "The defect with the Time Capsule, which invariably destroyed the stored data..." I would simply contend that the data was not destroyed, it is simply not retrievable using normal methods. In fact the data may be forever locked within the Time Capsule. Thus the Time Capsule did do it's job as per it's name.

    The "promise" made by Apple is contained in the warranty, a copy of which was provided to the end user at purchase and in the EULA which I am willing to bet the end user agreed to while setting up said device.

    Caveat emptor!

    The truth is that if he really wants the data back there are several data recovery businesses that can retrieve most data from nearly any drive that is not physically destroyed or wiped via DOD methods. The truth is that if his data was valued at $25k he shouldn't be depending on any single device, especially a consumer grade device, to store the data forever.

    Some people simply should not be allowed to use technology. If they can't be bothered with understanding, even at a basic level what it does and how it works then perhaps they should not purchase or use it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2012 @ 4:22am

    Re: Depends what he was told when he bought it

    Really? I was told that; eating a Big Mac would not make me fat; a certain brand of battery would "keep going and going and going"; gym membership would turn me into a muscle bound god. Need I go on?

    Caveat emptor! This is especially true when talking to a salesman who is paid on commission.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Robbie, Jun 19th, 2012 @ 4:24am

    Re: Re: Sale of Goods Act

    "Do you have a citation for that? As far as I understand it, 6 years is the length of time you're allowed to put in a court claim, not necessarily the length of time you can expect a product to last for."

    http://www.oft.gov.uk/business-advice/treating-customers-fairly/sogahome/sogaexplained

    A s a consumer, you have 'up to' 6 years to make a claim against the retailer. It has nothing to do with when you are allowed to file a court claim - it's about your legal right to an 'expectation' of product life. This will of course vary depending on the product in question, which is why these cases often go to court - retailer and consumer cannot agree on a reasonable product lifespan. But in theory the Sale of Goods Act exists so consumers shouldn't have to go to court in the first place.

    Should a product like a Time Capsule last longer than 1 year? IMO, yes, most definitely. But that point is moot, because Apple did actually offer to refund the guy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    NullOp, Jun 19th, 2012 @ 4:41am

    Failed...

    I WISH we could legitimately sue over something failing that should not have. I sue the living crap out of our government as it has most certainly failed the citizens of the U.S.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jun 19th, 2012 @ 5:03am

    Re:

    I love the way people attack Apple whenever their name is brought up. The anti-fanboy reaction to their very name tends to be a lot worse than the fanboy defenses of their mistakes.

    "My friend (stupidly) bought all Apple products, including a Time Capsule."

    No he didn't. If the products met his needs and he's happy with the manufacturer's products, then he made a rather sensible buying decision.

    The sales guy was stupid for having claimed such a thing, and your friend was stupid if he believed his claim and/or based his decision solely on the claims of a salesman. However, unless you think that buying only from one manufacturer is inherently stupid, his decision to buy only Apple is no different from another person's decision to only buy Dell, HP or whatever.

    "Depends what he was told when he bought it."

    Was the salesman employed by Apple? If not, why should they be held accountable for what a 3rd party falsely claimed about their product? If so, I hope someone's reported him to Apple for falsely representing their products.

    Years ago, I worked at a major electrical goods store that stocked Apple products. One particular salesman had a habit of lying outright to customers about iMacs so that he could get the higher commission rate for selling them instead of Windows PCs. Even when I had to deal with the umpteenth angry customer wanting to know why their Windows software wouldn't run on OS9, I didn't hold Apple accountable for this idiot's lies. In fact, I was more likely to blame the customer for blindly accepting the word of a commission-earning salesman instead of doing some actual research before parting with 1000+.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jun 19th, 2012 @ 5:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Sale of Goods Act

    OK, so first we're talking about retailer vs. manufacturer (e.g. more about how it was sold, rather than what it actually does). In fact, one section of the link you provided (which is advice for businesses, not consumers) states: "This does not mean that everything you sell has to last six years from the date of purchase!". It also says "A customer cannot hold you responsible for fair wear and tear".

    In other words, it's really down to expectations and 3 years isn't necessarily an excessively short lifespan for a hard drive-based piece of equipment, depending on how it's used and treated. Sure, many devices last longer and you'd normally hope they would, but the nature of the device means that moving parts may fail and data could be compromised if they do. The data's even probably still retrievable, but not for free.

    "Should a product like a Time Capsule last longer than 1 year? IMO, yes, most definitely. But that point is moot, because Apple did actually offer to refund the guy."

    Indeed. The customer would have a reasonable expectation that such a device would last longer than one year, which it did. That's of course where the warranty kicks in. The device lasted 3 times longer than the warranty, and he refused a perfectly reasonable offer of a replacement because the lack of warranty meant he had to pay. Apple shouldn't be liable for that, unless it can be proven that they were aware of some inherent flaw in the design of the model in question.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Jason4207, Jun 19th, 2012 @ 5:16am

    Re: What I wonder...

    I think you mean RAID-1. I hope your NAS drives are not in RAID-0. If 1 drive fails your whole array is kaput.

    Best to have a local copy and a copy at a remote site (cloud). Any kind of RAID is not a good backup strategy. RAID is for up-time, not backup.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2012 @ 5:32am

    Warranty should be: life of owner + 70 years.

    I agree with just about everyone else that a backup is meant to be used only in an emergency where the primary copy is lost. No hardware manufacturer should be held responsible for lost data.
    The lawsuit doesn't seem to be about lost data at all. It seems that the device failed out of warranty and therefore Apple won't repair it. The article make no mention of any attempt to actually recover the data on the device. In fact the article says the device "would not turn back on", which could be as simple as a power supply failure. The hard drive used in the device might still be functional and data may be recoverable.
    We all know, no device works forever.
    It seems Mr. Tung is suing because the warranty expired.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    icon
    AndyD273 (profile), Jun 19th, 2012 @ 6:05am

    Recovery Cost?

    Maybe the $25k is to cover the cost of getting the data recovered?
    I think everyone here agrees that one copy does not a backup make, and preferably you want to have a copy as far off site as you can, either a physical media copy or a cloud copy.
    However, Apple does a lot to market their products to people that don't know computers.

    Not saying this guy has an excuse for not having a second backup. Or keeping a copy of everything on the computer at the very least.

    I'd rather have a less expensive external HD for local backup combined with a backup service like Carbonite or Jungle Disk or one of the many other online backup options than an over priced external hard drive.

    For $299 at least get one with multiple drives for redundancy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2012 @ 6:10am

    Re:

    They make sex swings?...I gotta get out more.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2012 @ 6:16am

    Wha-?

    One of the items he's trying to claim recovery costs on is for a wireless router. Did Apple implode his router too?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    icon
    Mike M (profile), Jun 19th, 2012 @ 6:28am

    Re:

    This guy needs to learn that it takes two copies to make a backup.

    This, I worked for a company that made backup devices running Windows Home Server. EVERY loss of data call included "But that was my only copy!" to which we'd inevitably answer, "Then it wasn't a backup".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Robbie, Jun 19th, 2012 @ 7:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Sale of Goods Act

    "OK, so first we're talking about retailer vs. manufacturer (e.g. more about how it was sold, rather than what it actually does)."

    No, in the UK when a consumer buys goods, their contract of sale is with the retailer, not the manufacturer. So if you wish to sue over a product, the Sale of Goods Act expects the consumer to sue the retailer.

    The Sale of Goods Act (UK) is a contract between buyer and seller, not buyer and manufacturer. However, in the current example, the guy bought it from the Apple Store, so retailer and manufacturer are one and the same.

    As for it being targeted to businesses - it's a guide for businesses selling to consumers, so it's still the same Sale of Goods Act (which in this example, is generally the same laws for B2B purchases as well).

    "This does not mean that everything you sell has to last six years from the date of purchase"

    As I said, the Sale of Goods Act allows the consumer to expect a product to last 'up to' six years, depending on the product. And yes, wear and tear is not included. The consumer has to prove the product contained a manufacturing fault or has an inherently bad design that is destined to failure within an unreasonable amount of time. These times are ultimately decided by a judge based on the product and the specifics of the situation.

    With so many hard drive manufacturers offering 3-5 year warranties by default, I would argue it is fairly reasonable to expect an apple hard drive product to last more than 3 years. I even suspect the drive inside it, if purchased separately from WD or whoever, would most likely come with such a warranty.

    EDIT - I misread the filing, it looks like Apple didn't offer to refund the customer, he was offered a replacement for payment of $252. In that case, I think the guy could have pursued for a replacement, but I still think the rest of the claim is ridiculous.

    I have no idea how the system works in this guy's country, but in the UK most people who can be bothered to make claims under the sale of goods act are typically quite successful (via small claims court). The key issue though is that most people either can't be bothered, or just don't know that they have additional protection beyond the manufacturers 12 month warranty.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    icon
    Almost Anonymous (profile), Jun 19th, 2012 @ 7:31am

    Re: Re:

    Errr... I have to ask for a citation on that one. I've never heard of a law that regulates warranty periods on new products. I suspect that a manufacturer could offer absolutely no warranty if they wanted to.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2012 @ 7:31am

    Re: Wha-?

    The "Time Machine" is a router with a backup drive built in. If your Time Machine fails, you have lost both.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2012 @ 7:32am

    Re: Wha-?

    I meant "Time Capsule".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jun 19th, 2012 @ 8:38am

    Re: One of the few times I disagree with you, Mike

    You cannot then deny any responsibility with an argument that "all technology fails". That may be true, but when you sell an item based on a promise, you cannot resort to that defence.


    Ad copy and names mean literally nothing. They're certainly not a promise. The promise is in the warranty (which probably says that there is no promise of fitness for any particular use.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    icon
    dento77 (profile), Jun 19th, 2012 @ 9:18am

    doesn't your state gov protect consumers or is Maine the only one?

    http://www.maine.gov/ag/dynld/documents/clg4.pdf

    Consumer Goods and Maine Express and Implied Warranty Laws

    my family and i have used this to have items replaced way beyond anything stated by the manufacturer. a 1 year warranty like the one Apple (or any other company) has is a complete joke and should not be tolerated imo.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2012 @ 11:20am

    Re: Re: What I wonder...

    Actually, Raid-1 is a great on-site backup strategy. Since it mirrors data onto two drive, it gives you redundancy. Which is what backup is, redundancy. The odds of two drives failing at the same time is low. The controller failing is an issue, of course, but thats why its best for onsite backup. It is useful for uptime, yes, but many companies use it for backup. A strategy I've seen employed is having 4 NAS boxes with raid 5 made of 4 1TB drives, rotated weekly. The NAS being rotated out is then taken offsite.

    Raid is as good for uptime, as you say, as it is for backup, when handled appropriately. (Uptime is ensured by the redundancy, which is the same as having a backup onsite)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    icon
    ChrisB (profile), Jun 19th, 2012 @ 11:28am

    Re:

    > Also I'm quite sure that Apple puts in the "No guarantee as to fitness to purpose"

    All items sold in North America have an Implied Warranty of Merchantability, which means the thing does what you'd expect it to. So yes, a backup drive should work like a backup drive.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    Robbie, Jun 19th, 2012 @ 11:37am

    Re: Re:

    Don't know about the US, but in the UK (which is in the EU...), there is no requirement for a manufacturer to provide a warranty. However, most consumers expect a minimum of 12 months. And I can assure you that most products in the UK come with 12 month warranty, not 2 years.

    But in the UK all buyers of products are covered under the Sale of Goods Act, so while a manufacturer warranty makes it a lot easier to claim when there's a problem, it doesn't trump the Sale of Goods Act rights.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2012 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: What I wonder...

    "Actually, Raid-1 is a great on-site backup strategy."

    Um... No, Raid-1 is NOT a great backup strategy. Raid at any level is not a backup strategy at all. It can however be a tool used in a good backup strategy, but that is totally different.

    RAID-1 Increases throughput more or less linearly by keeping multiple copies of data on multiple drives. It is not, nor was it ever, designed to be a backup solution.

    A backup has at least two purposes. The primary purpose is to recover data after its loss, be it by data deletion or corruption. The secondary purpose of backups is to recover data from an earlier time.

    RAID-1 fulfills neither of the goals of a Backup. If I delete a file from a RAID-1 array it is deleted from both drives i.e THERE IS NO BACKUP! If I want to recover last weeks version of a Database, I can't do that from a RAID-1 Drive unless there is a BACKUP stored on the drive.

    Anyone who works in IT should know that RAIDxxx != Backup.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), Jun 19th, 2012 @ 12:33pm

    Re:

    "Today, most if not all electronics companies make items of poor quality and short durability so that they break quickly and people are forced to buy new ones."

    Really? When was the last time you had to change the burned out vacuum tubes of your home computer?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    icon
    Get off my cyber-lawn! (profile), Jun 19th, 2012 @ 2:00pm

    Help! My time capsule broke and I can't get up!

    A broken piece of technology seems like THE perfect time capsule piece to represent our current society! Something quick and easy which doesn't last but creates legal cases which will outlast the final cockroach.

    Just sayin....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jun 19th, 2012 @ 2:21pm

    Re: Recovery Cost?

    I'm admittedly a tech-minded guy, but my take is what someone mentioned elsewhere - if the only copy of his data was on the capsule, he didn't have a backup of any kind. He had a single copy of data that happened to be stored on a backup device. If he didn't bother to actually back things up in the real meaning of the term (i.e. having multiple copies of the data, preferably in multiple physical locations), he only has himself to blame. I will still maintain that the symptoms he's describing still means that the data is recoverable, just that Apple won't get it on their dime.

    "I'd rather have a less expensive external HD for local backup combined with a backup service like Carbonite or Jungle Disk or one of the many other online backup options than an over priced external hard drive. "

    Having used one of these devices before, I'll defend them to some extent in that it's more than simply an external hard drive, and it doesn't introduce the external issues a cloud provider can introduce. Overpriced? Perhaps, but anyone even considering Apple products should realise that. But, simply comparing it to an external hard drive or cloud service is missing the point somewhat.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jun 19th, 2012 @ 2:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Sale of Goods Act

    "No, in the UK when a consumer buys goods, their contract of sale is with the retailer, not the manufacturer. So if you wish to sue over a product, the Sale of Goods Act expects the consumer to sue the retailer. "

    I apologise. I did realise that, but my response was a little badly worded. The lawsuit above doesn't mention where the product was purchased, and from the description it may have been bought through a reseller rather than an Apple store, in which case he seems to be suing the manufacturer rather than the retailer - a rather different tactic.

    "With so many hard drive manufacturers offering 3-5 year warranties by default, I would argue it is fairly reasonable to expect an apple hard drive product to last more than 3 years."

    Perhaps, but I suppose it depends on which part fails. The device in question is essentially an overblown enclosure for the hard drive, and the drive itself would not be manufactured by Apple so could theoretically have a different warranty that might be covered. The description is of a failure in the enclosure, so the drive might be in perfect working order outside of that. Apple may simply have not wished to cover the recovery at their own expense.

    I'd agree that a longer warranty might be nice, but anyone who's worked in I.T. for any length of time has encountered devices still operating 30 years later and devices that happen to fail the day after the warranty expired, sometimes from the same source. Hoping that the one device you choose to hold your data on is the one that lasts longer is foolishness.

    "The key issue though is that most people either can't be bothered, or just don't know that they have additional protection beyond the manufacturers 12 month warranty."

    To be perfectly honest, in my 3 decades in the UK before I moved away, I didn't bother at all with the small claims system. I rarely encountered any real wrongdoing, and the time and effort for pursuing a claim like the above simply wouldn't be worth my time. I was generally prudent enough to research products before I bought them, and I never left my only copy of anything important on a system prone to failure (i.e. all of them). I've suffered data failure due to my own mistakes of course, but the data's always recoverable if it's worth the effort.

    I understand that non-techies might have a different take, but in my opinion the only reason a device might be worth more than its original purchase price due to the data stored is the user's own mistake.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    identicon
    Robbie, Jun 19th, 2012 @ 4:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Sale of Goods Act

    The lawsuit above doesn't mention where the product was purchased, and from the description it may have been bought through a reseller rather than an Apple store

    In section 9:

    The Plaintiff was told by Simply Computing representatives to take the TimeCapsule back to the original Apple Store where it was purchased.

    TBH, its not entirely clear to me if he's going after Apple the manufacturer or Apple the retailer, but as he's stating the Sale of Goods Act, I guess it's whatever ties in with that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jun 20th, 2012 @ 12:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Sale of Goods Act

    Ah, my apologies, I somehow missed that while skimming last night.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    icon
    Hooter McBus (profile), Jun 20th, 2012 @ 12:47am

    Re: Re: One of the few times I disagree with you, Mike

    Little bit different.

    There is clearly a connection between the name and the product purpose, as opposed to a brand name or a model (such as your example of Magic and car names).

    Not saying this is the be all and end all, but is a relevant consideration (misleading and deceptive conduct?)

    My point is, prima facie, it appears that Apple sold a product on the basis that it would last...and it didn't.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    icon
    PicBack (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 2:20pm

    So Mr Tung asked Apple if the data from Time Capsule could be recovered. Apple said no, but has he asked for a second opinion?

    Apple are great at lots of things, but not data recovery experts. This is what we do here at PicBack.
    We have successfully recovered data from many damaged Time Capsules. They can be a little more difficult to work on but are still just hard drives at the end of the day.

    While we can't guarantee that data can be recovered every time, we have all the right tools for the job. If anyone else is in the same position then they can read more about out service here - http://picback.com/time-capsule-recovery

    This story should stand as a warning that drives do fail and that it is always a good idea to have several backups of your valuable data.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This