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Apple hit with lawsuit over iPhone "touch disease"

MoneyWatch headlines
MoneyWatch headlines 01:07

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners are taking their grievances to court.

Apple (AAPL) is facing a class-action lawsuit over an alleged flaw called “touch disease” that some users makes the phones unresponsive to touch. As detailed by​, the problem is evident when a flickering gray bar appears at the top of the screen and touch functionality becomes faulty. 

The issue appears to be fairly common, although it’s unclear how many phones are affected, said the group, which calls itself a “free repair manual.”

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The lawsuit, which was filed Saturday in the U.S. District Court for Northern California, accuses Apple of concealing the alleged defect. Three of the plaintiffs named in the case claim they contacted the company after their phones started experiencing problems and were told that Apple wouldn’t cover the repairs. Instead, they say they were told they needed to each spend more than $300 to buy a replacement iPhone.

“Many other iPhone owners have communicated with Apple’s employees and agents to request that Apple remedy and/or address the Touchscreen Defect and/or resultant damage at no expense,” the lawsuit claims.
“Apple has failed and/or refused to do so.”

Apple didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

The problem appears to mostly impact iPhone 6 Plus models, although it has been reported in iPhone 6 phones as well. The problem is linked to two chips on the phone’s logic board, which can become loose if the device is bent or stressed.

Dozens of Apple customers responded to iFixit’s report with their own iPhone 6 and 6 Plus woes, with many expressing frustration at the response from Apple.

“I literally had to replace my iPhone 6 plus on 8/22/16 because of this issue,” wrote one customer, who reported he was told by Apple Store employees that he had to buy a new iPhone because he didn’t have Apple Care and they said fixing the screen wouldn’t resolve the issue. “Thoroughly annoyed.”

The class-action lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages, as well as an order that would require Apple to repair, recall or replace the iPhones. It also asks that Apple extend “applicable warranties to a reasonable period of time.”

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