Apple MacBook owners suffering from faulty keyboards may have an early holiday present. A $50 million class action lawsuit settlement by Apple has been given preliminary approval by the presiding federal judge in California, according to Law360. Roughly $33m of that will be assigned to lawsuit class members, who can now look forward to a payout of up to $395 each.
U.S. District Judge Edward J. Davila said the deal is fair and reasonable, especially considering the various risks of continuing litigation that has involved over two years of negotiations and more than 1 million pages of documents.
Find out if you're among the affected users eligible for a payout.
Apple MacBook Lawsuit: The Context
The class action lawsuits have focused on the widely disliked butterfly keyboards used on MacBook models in the last decade. Users complained that the keys tended to exhibit several problems, according to Apple's own Keyboard Service Program:
- Letters or characters repeat unexpectedly
- Letters or characters do not appear
- Key(s) feel "sticky" or do not respond in a consistent manner
Apple initially put out an apology to the “small number of users [who] are having issues with their third-generation butterfly keyboard”, according to MacWorld. Following two class action lawsuits launched by affected users in 2018, Apple then discontinued the design, starting in 2019, and offered affected users replacement keyboards through their Keyboard Service Program.
Still, this wasn't enough for many affected users, who continued to pursue litigation. Judge Davila granted class-action status to one of the plaintiff lawsuits in March 2021. Apple finally reached a $50 million settlement with plaintiffs (still subject to the judge's review) in July 2022, as reported by Reuters.
Apple Macbook settlement: Payouts
Now that the court has issued preliminary approval, affected class members can expect the relief. Here's a breakdown of the settlement tiers, per Law360.
|Group||Member Details||Maximum Payout|
|Group 1||Members who received two or more replacements for their keyboards within four years of purchase.||$395|
|Group 2||Members who received one replacement keyboard from Apple and attested that the repair did not resolve their keyboard issues.||$125|
|Group 3||Members who got replacements for their keycaps.||$50|
If you had an affected keyboard repaired or replaced by Apple, the company will contact you automatically about your payout. More information will be shared at the official KeyboardSettlement.com website once it goes live.
Ben Demers manages digital content and engagement at Kiplinger, informing readers through a range of personal finance articles, e-newsletters, social media, syndicated content, and videos. He is passionate about helping people lead their best lives through sound financial behavior, particularly saving money at home and avoiding scams and identity theft. Ben graduated with an M.P.S. from Georgetown University and a B.A. from Vassar College. He joined Kiplinger in May 2017.
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