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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Mac News > Best of MacNN: Apple Canada sued for demise of Time Capsule

Best of MacNN: Apple Canada sued for demise of Time Capsule
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MacNN Staff
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Jun 28, 2016, 03:56 PM
Editor's Note: crazy lawsuit stories are a special favorite among the staff as we reminisce on the stories that stood out as particularly memorable, and we have plenty of them. For every legit-but-ultimately-unsuccessful patent lawsuit or the exceedingly rare occasion where Apple is found guilty of something, there's a dozen "huh?" lawsuits. We are proud of our in-depth analysis and reporting of the Samsung-Apple battles, or the DOJ-Apple court fight, or our coverage of the California hiring-agreement case, where Apple was very clearly in the wrong. Forgive us, though; its hard to summarize those complex cases, and easy to smile at the memories of hopeless schemers and dreamers who tried to work the system and cash in quick on dubious claims.

Lawyer Perminder S. Tung, a personal injury attorney in Surrey, British Columbia, has filed a lawsuit against Apple Canada for the demise of his nearly three-year-old Time Capsule. According to the court documents filed earlier this week, Tung accuses Apple of being in breach of contract for failure to provide promised services and goods, and is seeking over $25,000 in damages for the failure of the networking device and the loss of the "sole backup" of his iPhone, containing irreplaceable "information and memories" not stored anyplace other than the phone and the router.

Tung said the router and backup unit failed on or around March 14 of this year, nearly three years after he purchased it. He then called Apple tech support who refused to troubleshoot as the product was clearly out of the one-year warranty. A day later, he brought the Time Capsule into Apple Specialist Simply Computing's Langley location, who also told Tung that it was out of warranty, and suggested he bring it back to the Apple Store where it was purchased.

Six days later, the genius at the Apple Store in the Pacific Centre in Vancouver indicated the data on the Time Capsule was lost and unretrievable, but admitted that previous models were known to develop problems. Tung was offered a replacement unit at a lower-than-retail cost, but refused the offer.

Before Tung could institute a replacement backup solution procured on his own, his iPhone failed, and data from the birth of his first child were lost, as well as "other significant memories" stored in the phone which were apparently not stored in iPhoto, iCloud storage, or an iTunes backup of his phone. The court documents accuse the company of a "breach of contract and negligence of Apple and its employees" as the root cause of Tung "suffering losses," including replacement costs and loss of data.

The court documents filed also refer to an "implication made known to Apple and it's representatives" at the time of sale by Tung that he required that "if the product were to fail, the stored data would be retrievable," thus allegedly proving that the failure of the product lies in Apple's hands. While a very specific range of Apple's Time Capsule was issued a repair extension authorization, the dates and serial numbers of the recalled units are very narrow, with a sale date between February and June of 2008.

Tung purchased his time capsule in June of 2009 -- a year after the cut-off for the repair extension. The model he bought was most likely the second version of the product, which addressed the known issues in the first version. Specifics of the Time Capsule's mode of failure are not available, nor is the reason for the iPhone's demise. Apple Canada has yet to comment on the filing.

Follow-up: MacNN has periodically tried to contact Mr. Tung, both during the original case and for years afterwards. The case appears to have been quietly dropped shortly after it was filed, and Tung has never responded to our offer to tell his side of the story.
( Last edited by NewsPoster; Jun 28, 2016 at 03:59 PM. )
Fresh-Faced Recruit
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Jun 28, 2016, 09:02 PM
Sounds like an ID-10-T error, damn that Apple and all their hype. I here they have since fixed this error but it was replaced in following years with a PEBKAC error😀
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Jun 28, 2016, 09:17 PM
Every spinning disk hard drive, such as the one inside Apple's Time Capsule, will typically fail in the 3-5 year range. This guy's failed at 3 years, still within the expected failure time frame. It's not Apple's fault if the guy did not follow "best practice," which with regard to backup policy is to "backup often and in many places," Time Capsule, iCloud, etc, etc.

The man does not have a case.
Earth is Heaven in Drag.
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Jun 29, 2016, 09:05 AM
@rexray "Every spinning disk hard drive, such as the one inside Apple's Time Capsule, will typically fail in the 3-5 year range."

You've got to be kidding I still have a 12" PowerBook G4 2003 that my parents use to this day and it runs fine minus the battery. I have at 17" MacBook Pro from 2009 I recently upgraded to SSD but the old 5200RPM drive was fully functional prior to upgrading it.
2.66Ghz Mac Pro 2GM Ram 160Gig HD Ati X1900XT, 24" Dell 2407WFP
13.3" Mac Book Core Duo 2GIG Ram 80Gig HD
12" PowerBook 1.5Ghz 1.25GB Ram 60Gig HD
12" iBook 600Mhz (Late 2001) 640MB Ram 30Gig HD
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Jun 29, 2016, 09:22 AM
Yeah, perhaps it should be better worded as, "Every spinning disk hard drive, such as the one inside Apple's Time Capsule, should be watched for failure in the 3-5 year range."

Some disks die young (< 1 year), some disks die mature (5+ years), some disks never seem to die. I've had them fail within a year, within the 3 to 5 year range, and some disks I have (like the 10GB one included with my G4 Yikes! and the 20GB one I added later) are still operational to this day.

The one mistake a person could make is to assume their disks are in the "never seem to fail" category and take no precautions against failure.
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Jun 29, 2016, 11:54 AM
Let me say that I agree 100% that individual users are responsible for their data. But spending my days working with "joe user" I can tell you that there is a massive general-public misconception of what a "Backup" devices is. I nearly always have to explain that a backup device such as an external drive or Time Capsule is no more reliable (maybe even less reliable due to lack of cooling in many enclosures) than the primary storage in a computer. Because these drives are clearly marketed as "backup" devices however, people generally believe that the device is somehow not vulnerable to hardware failures. While it's hard for those of us who are tech-oriented to understand this misconception, it is a problem I think the industry should probably address.
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Jun 29, 2016, 02:29 PM
The only problem this guy had, though, wasn't that his backup failed -- it was that his backup clearly failed, and he took no steps to remedy that, then waited another stupidly long length of time, and then his primary copy of the data (e.g., his iPhone) failed.

This guy's problem isn't that his backup failed. It's that his backup failed, and he did exactly nothing about it. Literally all he needed to do was plug his phone into any computer with iTunes on it and perform a simple backup (or, take the damn discounted replacement Time Capsule when they offer it to you).
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