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Denmark: Forbrugerstyrelsen Condemn Apple

Apple have denied it all along, but their iBook G4 indeed has an 'original design flaw'.

The Danish National Consumer Agency's Consumer Complaints Board have evidence of a hidden original design flaw in the iBook G4 and have ruled that Apple must compensate for the defective units. The controversy is further exacerbated by Apple's insistent denial there was any such flaw. But the Danish agency did their research.

Users of the iBook G4 find that the power goes off in the computer and the screen goes blank after just over one year's use. But when they contact Apple to have the flaw repaired or to return the computer, the complaint is rejected on the grounds that there is no question of a design flaw and that the 12 months guarantee has expired anyway.

But the Complaints Board, now having proof of the flaw, ruled last month that Danish consumers must be able to return their computers to Apple. According to the board there is still the possibility Apple will continue to deny the flaw outside Denmark.

Independent Study

The agency sent a flawed iBook G4 to an independent electronics laboratory; the investigation showed that a solder joint between two components was broken so that current would no longer pass through them. The breakage occurs because the solder joint is loosened slightly every time the computer is turned on and off.

'As the Complainant's computer continuously suffered from breakdowns, the Complainant complained to the Respondent, who rejected remedying under the right to complaint, referring to the fact that the defect arose outside the accompanying 1 year guarantee period and that the Complainant had not proved that the defect was an original defect.'

When the computer's turned on and off a sufficient number of times the joint breaks completely, resulting in a blank screen.

The laboratory examined the defective iBook G4 by removing the logic board and examining it by means of visual inspection, stereo microscopy, scanning acoustic microscopy, and X-ray microscopy of suspected components.

The suspected components were then cut out of the logic board and embedded in epoxy for subsequent micro-sectioning.

A few solder joints were further examined after micro-sectioning, in which the inner structure of these soldering positions becomes visible by microscopy.

The results can be seen in the above photos and in the official lab report linked below.

The National Consumer Agency of Denmark (Forbrugerstyrelsen) was created in 1988 through an amalgamation of the Consumer Complaints Board, the Consumer Ombudsman, and the former Danish Government Home Economics Council.

The principal aims of the agency are to create a foundation for a coordinated and active contribution in the field of consumer affairs and to contribute to the creation and maintenance of a high level of consumer protection by means of mediation and the exercise of influence.

As of 2 August 2004 the agency is part of the Ministry for Family and Consumer Affairs currently headed by Carina Christensen.

See Also
Report: Proof of Design Flaw in Apple iBook G4
Forbrugerstyrelsen: Press Photos of Flawed Apple iBook G4
Statement of Claim: 4031/7-1637, Respondent Apple International
Press release: Danish Complaint Case may have Global Consequences for Apple

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