Greek Apple Support Company Sues Customer For Complaining About Service

from the not-a-way-to-win-business dept

A bunch of folks have been sending in this story about how Greek firm Systemgraph, which is an official support partner of Apple in Greece, is apparently suing a customer who complained online about the bad experience he had with Systemgraph. Apparently, the customer, Dimitris Papadimitriadis, brought his iMac into Systemgraph to be repaired because he had noticed "dark patches" on the screen. The company said it would clean out the machine and replace the LCD. However, after Papadimitriadis got the machine back, he felt the problem had become worse, not better. The company offered to try to do the fix all over again, but the guy no longer trusted the company -- and noted that under Greek law, he's entitled to ask for a refund or a replacement for the machine. Systemgraph responded by noting that since the machine wasn't bought through them, they weren't responsible for offering a replacement machine.

I actually agree that it seems like a stretch to demand a new machine from the repair company, but I'm not familiar with the specifics of Greek consumer protection law on the subject. Even so, what happened next is pretty silly on the part of Systemgraph. After Papadimitriadis wrote about his bad experience with the company, Systemgraph sued him for defamation, demanding €200,000 for damaging its reputation. Of course, it wasn't Papadimitriadis who damaged the company's reputation -- but the company's failure to properly fix his machine. And, in the long run, it seems like suing a customer -- even a disgruntled one -- is much more likely to damage one's reputation, than any random online review.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 3:51am

    hrmmm

    nope, hard to agree with you here.

    he's making shit up to demand things he doesn't deserve so he can get a new computer for free.

    he's attention whoring for profit, and needs to be sued to stop it.

    that's no customer mike.

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      AJ, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 4:02am

      Re: hrmmm

      I don't know about you Coward, but I make it a habit to purchase service from companies that like to sue their customers.

      /sarc

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 4:13am

      Re: hrmmm

      I remember a sign up in my local chip shop to remind their staff that:
      "No one ever won an argument with a customer".

       

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

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 4:26am

        Re: Re: hrmmm

        if you live by the motto: the customer is always right, you will always have bad customers that hurt your bottom lime.

        Treat good customers with respect. Do not give that same respect to people trying to rob you blind.

         

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

        •  
          icon
          Richard (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 5:01am

          Re: Re: Re: hrmmm

          Treat good customers with respect.

          Yes - and at the start ALL customers have to be regarded as good customers. You have to trust people at the start or you will soon have NO customers.

          It seems to me that this guy has a good case. He was sold a defective product and deserves a replacement not kust a repair that doesn't work.
          Probably his legal rights were initially against the seller - but the cost will all come back to the manufacturer in the end anyway - so these actions by the service agent are a waste of time and effort. What they are trying to do is to fob this guy off and get him to go away - it's a bad move that will backfire.

           

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

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 5:19am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: hrmmm

            If I walk into your store, and try to walk out the front door with all your merchandise, unpaid for, would you...

            a: offer to give it to me for free just to make sure I come back again.

            b: detain me and call the police.

            Treat your "customers" with respect. Not the thieves.

             

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

            •  
              icon
              Gabriel Tane (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 5:39am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: hrmmm

              What are you talking about? This guy wrote up a description of his experience. From what I could read in the translated copy of his write-up, he didn't curse, insult, or slander anyone. Is he stretching his interpretation of the law in insisting on a new computer for his troubles? Maybe. And the laws of his country will deal with it. But he's not trying to steal anything. And the point of the article is that a company is responding to negative press with a lawsuit.

              I really hope you don't lead the customer relations for wherever you work. I'd hate to do business with someone who assumes I'm a thief until proven otherwise.

               

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

            •  
              icon
              Richard (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 6:37am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: hrmmm

              If I walk into your store, and try to walk out the front door with all your merchandise, unpaid for, would you...

              That scenario is nothing to do with the current topic.

              The guy had bought and paid for a computer. The computer didn't work.

              They tried to fix it - it worked worse after that.

              He asked for his money back/ a replacement. They refused.

              He took the case to the ombudman. The ombudsman will decide its merits.

              However in the meantime he wrote up his experiences factually on the internet.

              The company sued him for slander/libel. If they have a good case then I reckon the guy has a good case against YOU for what you have implied about him.

               

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

            •  
              icon
              Joe (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 11:13am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: hrmmm

              I gather you're not one who subscribes to that whole "reading comprehension" theory, are you?

               

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

        •  
          icon
          Richard (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 5:11am

          Re: Re: Re: hrmmm

          if you live by the motto: the customer is always right, you will always have bad customers that hurt your bottom lime.

          Suing customers is hardly a strategy that will help your bottom line - given the legal bill and the bad publicity.

           

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

        •  
          icon
          Berenerd (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 7:42am

          Re: Re: Re: hrmmm

          I hate when my customers mess with my limes at all...after all I am a computer repair person, WTF are they doing touching my fruit...

          Also, AC, you are an idiot. I now wait for your lawyers to come and tell me I owe you money cause I cost you money.

           

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 4:24am

      Re: hrmmm

      Even so the right response is to send him packing not sue.
      More if he is only one people don't tend to believe sporadic rants, the instances when one person can really harm others is rare in this cases.

      Is like Mike suing you for posting your opposed view on some subject, like the one you just expressed.

       

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

    •  
      icon
      Mr Claypole (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 4:28am

      Re: hrmmm

      He doesn't appear to be making anything up; he posted a bad review based on the fact that they failed to repair his product, and by all accounts actually made it worse. He then asked for a new unit, and they refused. If those are the facts, then how can he be sued for defamation?

      As for his rights under Greek law, I suspect it may be related to his insistence that they actually caused more damage to the unit while attempting to repair it. If they've further damaged the computer, perhaps Greek Law decrees that they should replace it entirely.

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      abc gum, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 4:32am

      Re: hrmmm

      I wonder if there is any evidence to support your claims. If so, care to share?

       

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

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 4:36am

        Re: Re: hrmmm

        lets see... hes trying to slander a service provider for not living up to the warranty sellers legal requirements, he refused to allow them to fix what might have been an honest mistake, and instead threw a hissy fit to get a new computer.

        what more proof do you need?

        oh, you want to see whether or not he "made up" the dark splotches? I'm sure alot of people would like to see this proof.

         

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

        •  
          identicon
          abc gum, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 5:20am

          Re: Re: Re: hrmmm

          To recap, here are two of your statements from above:

          "he's making shit up to demand things he doesn't deserve so he can get a new computer for free."

          "he's attention whoring for profit, and needs to be sued to stop it."

          Now you claim that he is guilty of slander too. I still would like to know if there is any evidence to support your claims. I'm guessing not.

           

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

        •  
          icon
          Gabriel Tane (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 5:51am

          Re: Re: Re: hrmmm

          Superfail.

          slander (noun)
          1: the utterance of false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another's reputation
          2: a false and defamatory oral statement about a person
          http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/slander%5B2%5D?show=0&t=1294234946 (emphasis added)


          Libel (noun)
          a : a written or oral defamatory statement or representation that conveys an unjustly unfavorable impression b (1) : a statement or representation published without just cause and tending to expose another to public contempt (2) : defamation of a person by written or representational means (3) : the publication of blasphemous, treasonable, seditious, or obscene writings or pictures (4) : the act, tort, or crime of publishing such a libel
          http://dictionary.weather.net/dictionary/libel (emphasis added)


          So I think you mean libel; but youre still wrong. Both libel and slander have to be false information. Now, do you have anything that shows his account of the event contains false statements? Id love to see it.

           

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

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 5:59am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: hrmmm

            you know that part where he says they owe him a new computer for having the audacity to try and help him?

             

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

            •  
              icon
              Richard (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 6:42am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: hrmmm

              you know that part where he says they owe him a new computer for having the audacity to try and help him?

              You mean the bit where he asserted his legal rights...

              "I insisted that such computer ceases to be credible and relied on Article 540 of the Civil Code and section 5 of Act 2251, pursuant to which I have legal right to ask for a refund or replacement with my new PC under warranty. "

              Sorry - if you don't read up the background then you end up saying incorrect things.

               

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

              •  
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 6:52am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: hrmmm

                hes demanding it from the warranty service provider instead of the warranty seller. its slander cause hes accusing the wrong party of not providing his legal rights.

                 

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

                •  
                  icon
                  Gabriel Tane (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 6:58am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: hrmmm

                  ~sigh~ It's not slander. It's not even libel. He hasn't made any false or misrepresented statements. Let me try to make this clear... sorry I can't use crayons in an internet forum...

                  First, just so I don't have to keep typing "slander/libel", I'm grouping them under "defamation" since you can't seem to tell the difference between spoken and written (even though I gave you the definitions)

                  Disagreement does not equal defamation. Reporting a disagreement does not equal defamation. Posting the factual accounting of an event DOES. NOT. EQUAL. DEFAMATION.

                  Clear?

                   

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

                  •  
                    identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 7:37am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: hrmmm

                    no its slander. its not libel. get over what you percieve to be the definitions and accept that forum posts are not publications they are akin to casual conversation.

                    as such, it is slander and not libel. I'm not explaining this again.

                     

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

                    •  
                      icon
                      Gabriel Tane (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 7:42am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: hrmmm

                      Unless you have something to back up your claim that a blog post or forum post is "verbal" and not "written", I don't care if you want to explain it again or not. Wrong is wrong.

                      And besides which, it's neither. He did not make false or misrepresented statements. So it is not defamation, regardless of which flavor you want to claim it to be.

                       

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

                    •  
                      icon
                      Jeremy7600 (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 11:33am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: hrmmm

                      I want to believe you are the biggest idiot to ever grace the internet, but I am sure someone will come along and prove me wrong (that there is a bigger idiot around)

                      First of all, what you think in your head doesn't make it so. You are wrong. Man up and accept the fact.

                      Second, "Libel is defined as defamation by written or printed words, pictures, or in any form other than by spoken words or gestures." (credit to dictionary.com, which also has a legal definition farther down the page.)

                      ANY FORM OTHER THAN BY SPOKEN WORDS OR GESTURES.

                      Do I need to print this out, roll it up and shove it up your ass? I think thats about the only thing that will get this through your head. Which is firmly stuck up your ass, so it will get their quicker if I shove it right next to your head (in aforementioned asshole.)

                      And third, it has to be proven that what he wrote was false. So now you are in possession of all of the evidence from both sides and have made a judgement in a court of law?

                      Get fucking real.

                       

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

                    •  
                      icon
                      Nastybutler77 (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 3:55pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: hrmmm

                      no its slander. its not libel. get over what you percieve to be the definitions and accept that forum posts are not publications they are akin to casual conversation.

                      as such, it is slander and not libel. I'm not explaining this again.


                      Hmm. Lack of capitalization and intelligence. Hey TAM, welcome back to Techdirt!

                       

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

                •  
                  icon
                  Richard (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 7:01am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: hrmmm

                  Do you know who the liable party is in Greek law.

                  This guy clearly knows his law - down to the law sections.

                  The fact is that between Apple, systemgraph and the original retailer someone certainly is liable. The three organisations clearly act in concert on many matters. For them to punt responsibility back and forth while the customer cools his heels isn't good business practice. The liability will be passed back to Apple in the end anyway so systemgraph may as well accept liability.

                   

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

    •  
      identicon
      Michael, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 5:52am

      Re: hrmmm

      Well, making things up seems to work just fine for you here doesn't it? I don't know how you have all this inside information about the situation, do you work for the company?

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      New Mexico Mark, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 6:18am

      Re: hrmmm

      If we accept the premise that he's an attention whore for profit, how does suing him make things better? "Gasoline on a fire" comes to mind.

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 4:43am

    Really maybe they should do like Tunisia and just beat and kill those people.

    Are you saying the guy doesn't have a right to a refund?
    And if he complains and tell others how he was treated is justification to sue someone?

    Right.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Michial Thompson, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 5:17am

    "In his opinion" WTF

    Assuming the facts are straight, he took it in for repairs, they did something and returned it and he feels it's not right, so they OFFERED to take it back and do more...

    Seems to me they have done their part. They sold NOTHING, the did a repair and the guy feels it's no better than before. So they offered to make that right...

    The guy needs more than a lawsuit, he needs a pipe upside the head for being STUPID... Then again little mikee feels the company should just cave in and give him exactly what he wants.... Because EVERYTHING should be free in little mikee's world...

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 5:22am

      Re: "In his opinion" WTF

      hey douche-nozzle.... He did not say the company should have 'cave in and give him exactly what he wanted' he is saying suing they guy is silly.

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      abc gum, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 5:25am

      Re: "In his opinion" WTF

      Michial Thompson keepin it classy as ususal with the little mikee stuff.

      "A pipe up side the head" - seriously? What are you some kind of caveman? Welcome to the real world where such actions put you in jail, unless you are rich - are you rich?

       

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

    •  
      icon
      Gabriel Tane (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 5:54am

      Re: "In his opinion" WTF

      Where's the [Everyone Point And Laugh At The Troll] button for this post? I guess that would be too big of a button... Maybe an acronym? EPALATT... hmm potential, methinks.

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    redrum, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 5:20am

    Fix dark patches in an LCD screen?

    That's the part that I can't get past. How would one do this? Either the screen is working or not. And if not, it's an easy and cheap job to replace the LCD. I just don't see how you can fix it though. They either did A) nothing and claimed to repair it, or B) they replaced the LCD with a unit that was worse/used/whatever. But that should've been pretty obvious to the tech who replaced it.

    It looks to me like they were the ones who tried to pull a fast one, and then freaked when called on it.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    V, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 5:31am

    Idiots...

    So, without knowing anything whatsoever, you pigeon-hole the guy into "attention whoring for profit"

    Here's another scenario...

    You take your car into the shop for an oil change. When you get it back, it runs extremely rough, the inside is stained with oil and one of the headlights is busted.

    Would you REALLY want that company to do ANYTHING else to your car?

    Sure, under U.S. law you couldn't demand a refund, but you probably WOULD want to take it to the dealer or other very reputable place to have it fully inspected to see what had been done AND you'd expect anything not related to the oil change to be paid for by the original shop, since they damaged your vehicle.

    Companies try to get away with crap all of the time. For all your know, the guy got the computer back and half the screen was dark. That would make ME worry. Especially if I used my computer for my livelihood.

    Let's get more facts before condemning either party.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 5:43am

    This is so last week. Why are you re-releasing it?

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 5:53am

    What I am not getting is this: If he has a lemon computer, he would be addressing himself to Apple, not to the repair company. The repair company isn't going to give him a new computer just for the hell of it.

    Remember, the computer was defective enough in the door that it was brought for service.

    His demand for a replacement machine from them is stupid. That is the wrong place to take up the issue. Getting upset and posting an agressively bad review (and dinging them for not giving him a new computer) seems a little off the map.

    It would be something he should have taken up with the Apple distributor, not a repair company.

    I don't think this story is quite as cut and dry as TD is trying to make it sound.

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Gabriel Tane (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 6:38am

      Re:

      Actually, this company is where Apple directed him. They are a licensed/authorized/whatever repair facility in Greece for Apple.

       

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

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 7:14am

        Re: Re:

        It doesn't matter. If the computer is a lemon Apple is the to look for to satisfaction, not the repair place.

         

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

        •  
          icon
          Gabriel Tane (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 7:46am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Not quite... if this repair shop is who Apple says "go talk to them for repairs", then the repair shop is acting as an agent for Apple. This means they are considered the same entity in terms of honoring warranty and such. Now, of course, this is US law I'm talking about... I don't know that it's the same in Greece.

           

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

  •  
    icon
    Overcast (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 6:13am

    Seems like just about anything to do with the 'human' side of Apple is full of fail.

    DRM
    Customer Support
    Allowing people to use their own devices, their own way.

    I have nothing personal against them, nor am I a Linux/MS fanboy - just the way it appears..

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    NullOp, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 6:24am

    Yeah!

    Most, if not all, companies would like to abuse their customers for not giving glowing reports on their service. It goes along with the "We exist therefore we are entitled to be successful and profitable" train of thought.

     

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

  •  
    icon
    Steve (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 7:34am

    Sigh... Apple related posts

    Is really is amazing to see all the harping back and forth and the trashing of the customer/Apple etc. If this was a story about any other computer company I have a feeling the discussion would have stayed (more or less) on topic... "Company Sues Customer for Bad Review". Should anyone really care about the small details here? The real point is whether or not it is a good business practice to sue your customers over reviews. What kind of results are they looking to achieve? Silence him? Chilling effect of others? In my opinion, the Streisand Effect is in full force.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Grouch, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 7:50am

    "he's making shit up to demand things"?

    "Systemgraph, which is an official support partner of Apple in Greece" (sic). Seems to me that this company is an authorized Apple retailer and authorized repair center. If this is so and Greek law provides the customer with guaranteed consumer protection. If first fix does not work then replace it. Someone needs to apologize to the customer for exercising his rights. Wish we had that kind of protection in the United States. Consumers do have rights. The computer was obviously, although not stated under warranty.

     

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

  •  
    icon
    interval (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 8:41am

    Macs are indeed superior...

    With a PC if you have display problems you get a new display for prolly less than $100, plug it in, and you're good to go.

    The only way I would be slowed down by a failing display that that I can see is if my display (LCD, actually) is part of some other part of the system. Kinda like some Macs.

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Gabriel Tane (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 9:09am

      Re: Macs are indeed superior...

      Hey Steve... here's your off-topic thread about "Mac this blah blah" and "PC that blah blah". :/ You had to say something, didn't you. ;)

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 10:06am

    stuck with the lime

    quote:
    "if you live by the motto: the customer is always right, you will always have bad customers that hurt your bottom lime.
    "

    I am still stuck with the mental images caused by the "bottom lime". What was the article about?

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Gwiz (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 2:02pm

      Re: stuck with the lime

      I am still stuck with the mental images caused by the "bottom lime"

      Me too. I think I might need to clean the drawers in refrigerator out now. That bottom lime must be pretty nasty by now...

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    Dushan, Jan 6th, 2011 @ 8:45am

    I'd love a Troll button.

    And what is it with all this hostility against Michael Masnick? He never wrote that tangible goods should be for free. You start to wonder if trolls do get paid for fishing for emotions thus deluting the importance of a debate.

    Personal attacts, Mr. Michial Thompson? Sad, very sad.

     

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


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