Apple could face class action suit over iPhone 4 reception issues

You might remember them from such class action suits as "Swift vs Zynga", and this time they have Apple in their sights.

California law firm, Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff, LLP - who are well known for filing a class action lawsuit against Zynga for its advertising practices in online games such as Farmville and Mafia Wars are currently in the process of filing a class action suit against Apple relating to the alleged reception issues with iPhone 4. The firm is currently searching for individuals that have "recently purchased the new iPhone and have experienced poor reception quality, dropped calls and weak signals."

The device is not the first phone to have reception issues when held a certain way, but due to the level of sales, the widespread nature of the issue and the way that Apple has responded, KCR has seen the potential cash-cow at the companies expense. If you would like to participate and help in the case, as well as potentially receiving a gift card, visit KCR's webpage.

Meanwhile, the folks over at BGR have discovered what looks to be the official policy for dealing with reception issues, as distributed by Apple to its employees:

1. Keep all of the positioning statements in the BN handy – your tone when delivering this information is important.

  • The iPhone 4’s wireless performance is the best we have ever shipped. Our testing shows that iPhone 4’s overall antenna performance is better than iPhone 3GS.
  • Gripping almost any mobile phone in certain places will reduce its reception. This is true of the iPhone 4, the iPhone 3GS, and many other phones we have tested. It is a fact of life in the wireless world.
  • If you are experiencing this on your iPhone 3GS, avoid covering the bottom-right side with your hand.
  • If you are experiencing this on your iPhone 4, avoid covering the black strip in the lower-left corner of the metal band.
  • The use of a case or Bumper that is made out of rubber or plastic may improve wireless performance by keeping your hand from directly covering these areas.

2. Do not perform warranty service. Use the positioning above for any customer questions or concerns.

3. Don’t forget YOU STILL NEED to probe and troubleshoot. If a customer calls about their reception while the phone is sitting on a table (not being held) it is not the metal band.

4. ONLY escalate if the issue exists when the phone is not held AND you cannot resolve it.

5. We ARE NOT appeasing customers with free bumpers – DON’T promise a free bumper to customers.

Apple typically provides instructions to its employees until it can deliver a fix. As of writing, it is unknown if Apple will offer a remedy to the problem in the future. Telling users to not hold a device a specific way is not necessarily the best business policy, but for the time being it is Apple's official stance. Steve Jobs has previously told users in an email to "stay tuned" and that "There is no reception" issue. 

 

Image credit: Engadget

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Google announces changes to operations in China

Next Story

PlayStation 3 firmware 3.40 arrives, brings PlayStation Plus [Updated]

62 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

If you work for Apple you seen the internal article not to encourage the bumpers to customers that we need to show customers how to hold there new phone. I work for Apple and it makes me laugh how they treat there customers. I would never buy there computers. The only thing I get from them is there iPods. When someone kills that markets bye bye apple you almost had me. lol

Even Microsoft in its most evil days still showed respect to the customer, this is just outright arrogant and incredibly twisted from Apple. It shows simply that this company doesn't care about the costumer thus making them untrustworthy. Fortunately I never had to deal with them, and hopefuly I'll never will.

Microsoft user: dammit, my pc is acting strange *goes on Microsoft answers and find solution*

mac os user: my MacBook pro is acting strange... *goes on apple tech support* "use disk warrior... I mean, stop holding it that way."

So basically, if you are upset about the phone reception issues Apple Support isn't going to do anything to make you a satisfied customer.

I'm not sure the law suit is necessary though. I mean, the ugly head of this issue presented its self the day the phone was release. BEFORE the phone was officially released, actually. AT&T has a 30-day return policy, and I would suspect Apple does to. Unless Apple is refusing to refund people's money with a return, there is no need for a law suit. This isn't the same as something like the RRoD on the 360 that took a few months to uncover.

I see reports of some people not having problems with the antenna. I just figured all these reports of random people not having the problem were just apple fanboys. But I managed to get an iPhone 4 yesterday and for the life of me I can't reproduce the problem. I will bridge the antennas at the lower left for 5 minutes and it will not drop a call or even a single bar. I also tried bridging the antennas across the other two black strips and even held the phone across all three strips at once and can't create the problem. I also tried this in several locations. Yesterday I talked to my sis two times. Once for 28mins and once for 36mins. I also talked to my Mom for 30mins today. I haven't had a single dropped call so far. I got my phone from the second batch that came in at the ATT store yesterday. I am curious if there is a manufacturing defect that may not effect these newer shipments. My wife and boss also got a phone from this batch and I can't reproduce the problem on those phones either. Very strange. I personally don't see how this phone works at all with exposed antennas like this.

ermax said,
I see reports of some people not having problems with the antenna. I just figured all these reports of random people not having the problem were just apple fanboys. But I managed to get an iPhone 4 yesterday and for the life of me I can't reproduce the problem. I will bridge the antennas at the lower left for 5 minutes and it will not drop a call or even a single bar. I also tried bridging the antennas across the other two black strips and even held the phone across all three strips at once and can't create the problem. I also tried this in several locations. Yesterday I talked to my sis two times. Once for 28mins and once for 36mins. I also talked to my Mom for 30mins today. I haven't had a single dropped call so far. I got my phone from the second batch that came in at the ATT store yesterday. I am curious if there is a manufacturing defect that may not effect these newer shipments. My wife and boss also got a phone from this batch and I can't reproduce the problem on those phones either. Very strange. I personally don't see how this phone works at all with exposed antennas like this.

Hmmm, wait... so the new batch doesn't exhibit the same behavior, but the new batch is the one that's defective?

Maybe there was a defect in the first one, hmmm? Still, even if 1 out of 10 people are experiencing the issue, the issue is still there, though I'm fairly sure it's more widespread than 1 out of 10. For those that are experiencing that problem, there should be a recall. Hence the lawsuit.

Metodi Mitov said,

Hmmm, wait... so the new batch doesn't exhibit the same behavior, but the new batch is the one that's defective?

Maybe there was a defect in the first one, hmmm? Still, even if 1 out of 10 people are experiencing the issue, the issue is still there, though I'm fairly sure it's more widespread than 1 out of 10. For those that are experiencing that problem, there should be a recall. Hence the lawsuit.

I am not saying there wasn't a problem. I am just thinking it may be a manufacturing problem that effects almost all of the phones out that shipped the opening week. I personally tested three phones from the same FedEx delivery at 10:30AM (EST) yesterday that didn't exhibit the problem. If it was a manufacturing problem that has been resolved they damn sure need to recall the 1.7M that do exhibit the flaw. I have only had my phone for a short time though. So it is possible the problem will pop up at some point. But so far I am very happy to not have to not have to hold the phone upside down while standing on one leg to get service.

What if you have your right arm amputated, what then? Will the almighty Jobs tell the amputees to use their right foot when making a call? My co-workers already are flocking towards other phones, we rely heavily on cell phones and mobile internet as a company.

lol so what do you Apple heads have to say now?? come on the first response from your Apple leader was " Well don't hold it that way". Haven't heard of any Windows phone having this issue or really any other phone for that matter. Kinda makes you wonder has Apple's head gotten to big that it can't fit through the front door?

"If you are experiencing this on your iPhone 3GS, avoid covering the bottom-right side with your hand."

That statement is just to move the buyers attention away from the fact iPhone 4 significantly reduces signal. If Apple say the 3GS does it if you hold it like so, it'll make a lot of users believe it's an unresolvable problem.

The "avoid holding it that way" is more of a sign related to Steve's integrity and thinking depravation.
I went over all the posibilities, but i just can't imagine what thinling does it take for the CEO of Apple to tell me to avoid holding my device however i want, after paying 600 euros for one.

you gotta change your behavior in order to have a good reception. what if you are injured on the hand by holding it weirdly? LOL.

well, this is good capitalism, if it happens.

I own one and I think I'll join in on the class-action suit if I can. Signal degradation while gripping a phone is one thing. Complete signal loss caused by holding a portion of the phone is another thing altogether, and if a software fix isn't in the works, it's a serious oversight.

Gripping almost any mobile phone in certain places will reduce its reception. This is true of the iPhone 4, the iPhone 3GS, and many other phones we have tested. It is a fact of life in the wireless world.

I wonder why I never noticed it then, maybe I have some magical hands. Sarcasm aside, I can only get my HD2 to drop a bar if I completely cover it with my hand; 5 bars dropping and a loss of a 3g signal isn't normal at all.

Great, needs to happen. Don't care how many suckers they suckered, releasing faulty products and then saying its the user's who are at fault is just redonkeylus.

"Gripping almost any mobile phone in certain places will reduce its reception. This is true of the iPhone 4, the iPhone 3GS, and many other phones we have tested. It is a fact of life in the wireless world."

a bar or two drop is acceptable. dropping from 5 bars on 3G to no bars on edge is not acceptable at all

ziggie216 said,
"Gripping almost any mobile phone in certain places will reduce its reception. This is true of the iPhone 4, the iPhone 3GS, and many other phones we have tested. It is a fact of life in the wireless world."

a bar or two drop is acceptable. dropping from 5 bars on 3G to no bars on edge is not acceptable at all

Seems how you hold all phones can be a problem: http://www.appleinsider.com/ar...grip_gets_called_on_it.html

sviola said,

Strange, I have a Nokia 3120 and I can hold it anyway and I don't get any bar dropping...

Yeah, i have an iPhone 4 and have not had any issues. Guess there are some lemons out there.

I think with the level of the knowledge of the consumer/general public and how fast it spreads these days has changed. Consumers are far more educated nowadays and things such as Apple's response to the issue just aren't going to go over well.

qwexor said,
I think with the level of the knowledge of the consumer/general public and how fast it spreads these days has changed. Consumers are far more educated nowadays and things such as Apple's response to the issue just aren't going to go over well.

I think most of the users will be unaware of apple's response, and there's even less chance of them hearing what Job's said.

qwexor said,
Consumers are far more educated nowadays and things such as Apple's response to the issue just aren't going to go over well.
Eh, I'd say informed and not educated.

Minimoose said,
I think most of the users will be unaware of apple's response, and there's even less chance of them hearing what Job's said.

Not that it matters. I've overheard a lot of people in the Apple store talking about the issue when I've been in there. People know, and that's still not good for Apple.

A software patch can't fix a hardware issue ..
If it was that easy it would have already be out.
Apple will only do a recall if pressured from a
lawsuit.

So, the only solution in my book is ..return it for
a refund and break you contract with AT&T an
select a different telco.

That's not fair for iPhone 4 users. Why should they get sacked with the ETF due to faulty hardware? If I was an iPhone 4 user I would just sit tight for the next few weeks to see how it plays out then determine if I'm going to raise holy hell or not.

Tim Dawg said,
That's not fair for iPhone 4 users. Why should they get sacked with the ETF due to faulty hardware? If I was an iPhone 4 user I would just sit tight for the next few weeks to see how it plays out then determine if I'm going to raise holy hell or not.

I think you can cancel your contract and return the phone within 30 days if you aren't satisfied with it, or it has issues, for free. Could be wrong though.

Why don't we wait and see if they can fix it with software, and failing that a recall.

Goddamn lawyers, how old is this problem anyway? a week? two? Give them time to figure out the problem and try to fix it before we start suing everyone on the damn planet!

I'm no fan of Apples high pricing "must have" gadgets, but I guess I hate lawyers more.

DavidM said,
Why don't we wait and see if they can fix it with software, and failing that a recall.

Goddamn lawyers, how old is this problem anyway? a week? two? Give them time to figure out the problem and try to fix it before we start suing everyone on the damn planet!

I'm no fan of Apples high pricing "must have" gadgets, but I guess I hate lawyers more.

Thats not the point. Instead of admitting it could be a possible design fault with the phone, Jobs called it a user error pretty much calling users a moron by saying they dont know how to hold a phone. He could of avoided a lot things if he would of just admitted that even the Jesus phone is prone to faults. Besides, if it is a software issue and it is fixed, and fixed quickly, the lawsuit will be quickly dismissed.

DavidM said,
Why don't we wait and see if they can fix it with software, and failing that a recall.

Goddamn lawyers, how old is this problem anyway? a week? two? Give them time to figure out the problem and try to fix it before we start suing everyone on the damn planet!

I'm no fan of Apples high pricing "must have" gadgets, but I guess I hate lawyers more.

I have to agree with this. They need more time, but treating customers like they are mentally challenged people and that they are only imagining problems is wrong. The customers know best and if they think something is wrong, then Apple messed up. But instead they treat them like they don't know anything and just lie their asses off so the customer goes away as if the problem was resolved when they were just given bull****.

Tell your customers the truth instead of telling them it's all in their head... Like maybe lawyers would stay away then.

Electric Jolt said,

I have to agree with this. They need more time, but treating customers like they are mentally challenged people and that they are only imagining problems is wrong. The customers know best and if they think something is wrong, then Apple messed up. But instead they treat them like they don't know anything and just lie their asses off so the customer goes away as if the problem was resolved when they were just given bull****.

Tell your customers the truth instead of telling them it's all in their head... Like maybe lawyers would stay away then.


I also agree with you, Apple needs to be honest with their customers about the problem.

"You holding it wrong" - is not very helpful is it?

DavidM said,

Apple needs to be honest with their customers about the problem.

But instead they treat them like they don't know anything and just lie their asses off so the customer goes away as if the problem was resolved when they were just given bull****.

Apple being honest with their customers? Not likely lol. They can't even inform their userbase when a security issue is found, and instead resort to secretly patching it.

DavidM said,

I also agree with you, Apple needs to be honest with their customers about the problem.

"You holding it wrong" - is not very helpful is it?

I'm not surprised at all. Apple has some cool products but Jobs is the biggest a**hole on the planet. I honestly don't think anybody has a higher level of Narcissism than him. I can see him smelling his own farts like in that South Park episode talking about how wonderful he is and how stupid the rest of the world is. I just wish something would knock him off his high horse once and for all. I truly believe Apple products would be much more inviting if the company was driven by someone with a soul. Yes he's creative and had some really amazing products but how does he see day light with his head so far up his own rear end??

DavidM said,
Why don't we wait and see if they can fix it with software, and failing that a recall.

Goddamn lawyers, how old is this problem anyway? a week? two? Give them time to figure out the problem and try to fix it before we start suing everyone on the damn planet!

I'm no fan of Apples high pricing "must have" gadgets, but I guess I hate lawyers more.


There is NOT going to be a recall. A recall of this magnitude would cripple Apple. The sales have reached almost 2 million iPhones within week. So don't even think about a recall. They may send out Bumpers for free to whoever wants it, but that's about it. Don't keep your hopes up so high.

DavidM said,

I also agree with you, Apple needs to be honest with their customers about the problem.

"You holding it wrong" - is not very helpful is it?

Typical jobs.

The same reason Jobs has been buried by MS and Intel for 25 years, just that he got a small hole to breath and survived.

Electric Jolt said,

I have to agree with this. They need more time, but treating customers like they are mentally challenged people and that they are only imagining problems is wrong. The customers know best and if they think something is wrong, then Apple messed up. But instead they treat them like they don't know anything and just lie their asses off so the customer goes away as if the problem was resolved when they were just given bull****.

Tell your customers the truth instead of telling them it's all in their head... Like maybe lawyers would stay away then.


+1

DavidM said,
Why don't we wait and see if they can fix it with software, and failing that a recall.

I can't see what they'd fix in software (other than to cover-it up when signal-loss happens). I don't believe you can change the behavior of a radio antenna in software.
Recall is the only way to go.

Jebadiah said,

There is NOT going to be a recall. A recall of this magnitude would cripple Apple. The sales have reached almost 2 million iPhones within week. So don't even think about a recall. They may send out Bumpers for free to whoever wants it, but that's about it. Don't keep your hopes up so high.

Uhhh, okay. And the users who bought the phone care? Would you care what it would do to the company you bought a defective hard drive from if you were to return it and get an exchange? I don't think so. Take a look at what Toyota did when the issue surfaced with their cars. They implemented a fix, and did so for free, not to mention also giving customers extra perks after fixing it. What does Apple do? They make a fix, i.e... add a bumper to it, but they also expect to charge customers for it, rather than giving it out for free AND offering something extra to go with it so the customer stays happy. How is that a good policy? If I had upgraded my iPhone, I definitely would have contacted the lawyers to join in on the class action lawsuit... that is provided I didn't go to the nearest AT&T store and ask for a full refund.

EDIT: I guess a class action lawsuit by said several million users wouldn't cripple Apple, eh?

Electric Jolt said,
I have to agree with this. They need more time, but treating customers like they are mentally challenged people and that they are only imagining problems is wrong.

They had all the time they needed, there was no reason they needed to release it before they'd tested it well.

Jebadiah said,

There is NOT going to be a recall. A recall of this magnitude would cripple Apple. The sales have reached almost 2 million iPhones within week. So don't even think about a recall. They may send out Bumpers for free to whoever wants it, but that's about it. Don't keep your hopes up so high.
Apple literally has over $40 Billion sitting in the bank. They're probably getting close to $50 billion. Recalling all 2 million ~$200 (their cost, not customer cost) iPhones would cost around $400-500 million.

That's not a drop in the bucket by any means, but they could easily afford it. And, if they fixed the problem and replaced everyone's phone? That awesome PR would last at least a decade.

Not to mention, this does not take into consideration that a lot of people are actually no affected by the issue.

Jebadiah said,

There is NOT going to be a recall. A recall of this magnitude would cripple Apple. The sales have reached almost 2 million iPhones within week. So don't even think about a recall. They may send out Bumpers for free to whoever wants it, but that's about it. Don't keep your hopes up so high.

Well, this is just plain wrong in my opinion. Customers come first. Even though i dispise the fruit, i believe in fairness to their customer base. if something is wrong with the fruit device, be man enough to own up to it and fix it at your expense. why belittle the customer who is loyal to you? it makes no sense to me.

"We ARE NOT appeasing customers"

Synonyms for appease - satisfy or relieve. So that can be written:
"We ARE NOT satisfying customers"
"We ARE NOT relieving customers"

So much for that "award winning" customer service.

nohone said,
"We ARE NOT appeasing customers"

Synonyms for appease - satisfy or relieve. So that can be written:
"We ARE NOT satisfying customers"
"We ARE NOT relieving customers"

So much for that "award winning" customer service.

+1

nohone said,
"We ARE NOT appeasing customers"

Synonyms for appease - satisfy or relieve. So that can be written:
"We ARE NOT satisfying customers"
"We ARE NOT relieving customers"

So much for that "award winning" customer service.


"...with a free bumper"

Kinda taking things out of context there, no?

Mike Brown said,

"...with a free bumper"

Kinda taking things out of context there, no?

Not really, they have a design flaw in their product and a bumper could potentially help the issue, instead of giving it away they want to charge you 30$ That is horrible customer service and a horrible business model for customer service.

Apple wants to profit off of their design flaw.

Heard a couple people complaining about it at the office, as well as something else regarding the iPhone 4. Wasn't paying too much attention though lol, but not surprised to see this.

KavazovAngel said,

Whats so mighty about it?

nothing. being sarcastic. not much of an apple fan. never have been, even in my youth. im 36 and appriciate the commodore 64 more.