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Apple won’t repair my three-year-old MacBook Pro for free

<span>Photograph: ifeelstock/Alamy</span>
Photograph: ifeelstock/Alamy

Recently my three-year-old £1,300 Apple MacBook Pro’s backlight stopped working, rendering the screen completely black and usable. The laptop still works if attached to another screen, so the computer itself is clearly fine.

When I took my device into an Apple store, the technician kindly informed me that the problem I am having is a repeated, known one with 13-in MacBook Pro laptops and that Apple has a service programme that offers to fix these affected screens for free.

However, I was then told that this programme only applies to models released before February 2018 and that as mine was released in 2019, I am not eligible for the free repair. I was quoted £575.

I don’t understand how it’s possible that Apple can know of an existing technical problem with their computers but only offer to fix it for older models. I don’t want to shell out hundreds of pounds to either repair or replace an expensive laptop that is only three years old. What do you suggest I do?

AH, Bromley

A few years ago this was a big consumer issue, with Apple customers complaining their laptop’s screen no longer worked, to the extent that the company had to start fixing its customers’ MacBook Pros for free – but only those sold between October 2016 and February 2018.

At the same time it changed the laptop’s design to prevent the problem from happening, although your experience suggests it hasn’t gone away entirely.

Given all of the above, it seems somewhat unfair that Apple would refuse to make a contribution, but not entirely surprising.

Happily, I asked the company to take a look at your case, and it has now agreed to fix your laptop for free. No comment was offered.

Had it not, I would have cited the Consumer Rights Act, which gives buyers up to six years to claim against the retailer, which in this case was Apple itself. You could have argued that an expensive laptop such as that should have reasonably lasted six years, and as yours was three years old, Apple should have contributed, say, 50% of the repair bill. In general, I would recommend that Apple customers read up on the act’s protections before they take items back to the company. The Which? website has a good summary. In Scotland, buyers have up to five years to bring claims.

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number. Submission and publication of all letters is subject to our terms and conditions