Samsung is suing the faulty Chromebook hinges cracking the displays

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Samsung has been sued for selling the Samsung Chromebook Plus 2-in-1 even though they have allegedly known for years of a flaw causing the displays to break.

The class action was filed by Tony McCoy by the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey and claims that Samsung concealed the Chromebook defect and denied covering the repair costs (reaching $ 350), even though the defect hit numerous customers.

The Chromebook Plus 2-in-1 with the alleged flaw was promoted as a laptop / tablet hybrid, featuring a 360-degree rotating touchscreen that made it easy for users to transform the device and switch modes.

The Samsung Chromebook Plus 2-in-1
The Samsung Chromebook Plus 2-in-1
Source: Samsung

The model launched in January 2017 at a retail price of $ 449, with marketing materials highlighting its “extreme flexibility”.

Samsung so promoted “Gorilla Glass 3” chemically hardened to indicate the durability and longevity of the Chromebook display.

A cracking problem

However, according to the complaint, the hinges that hold the display and connect it to the chassis are defective and typically come loose from their mounting points after a period of daily use.

Once the flaw manifests itself, the display will crack when opening or closing the Chromebook as the hinge hangs at an angle. This will also cause the underlying display panel to split or break, causing color and pixel issues.

“Unbeknownst to consumers, however, the display hinges of class devices are defective as they detach from the mounting point inside the display and cross the screen when the display is moved (the” Defect “). Defect manifests itself, the attempt to open an affected class device or change the angle of the display causes the screen to split, break or other serious damage “, says the complaint filed against Samsung.

“Defect renders Class Devices unusable by (1) breaking the display glass and / or (2) limiting the user’s ability to open or close the display and adjust the viewing angle without causing severe damage to the display glass. . “

Since the user is now unable to open or close the device, the complaint claims that he is also deprived of the 2-in-1 functionality, which was the Chromebook’s primary marketing premise.

McCoy's device broke after the screen
McCoy’s device broke after the screen

Denying intrinsic failure

According to the complaint, Samsung customers affected by the problem were forced to cover repair costs for the replacement of both the affected hinge assembly and the screen, as Samsung blamed them for the failure due to misuse.

“When consumers seek warranty compensation, Samsung typically refuses to repair or replace Class Devices or refund the purchase price. Instead, Samsung classifies the problems caused by the Defect as the result of” misuse “- as Plaintiff was told, “opening and closing the laptop too much” —or other user errors or accidents. Defendant takes this approach to avoid liability and costs associated with fulfilling the warranty. ” – Tony McCoy complaint against Samsung Electronics America, Inc.

Even if the hinge is replaced, Samsung presumably uses the same faulty spare part, so the screen cracking issue should reoccur in a couple of months.

The lawsuit alleges that due to widespread complaints about the problem, Samsung should have known about the problem by August 2021, when the defect broke the screen of the plaintiff’s Chromebook.

“The Defendant has deliberately, falsely and knowingly withheld various material facts regarding the quality, character and capabilities of the Class Devices. Rather than disclosing the Defect to Plaintiff and other potential purchasers of the Class Devices, the Defendant concealed the Defect “, reads the complaint.

After McCoy’s display broke, his wife filed a formal complaint with Samsung’s customer support team and spent many hours talking to representatives over the next few days, but to no avail.

After the issue was forwarded to a customer service supervisor, her concerns were dismissed and she was told that the damage was caused by “over opening and closing the laptop”.

McCoy’s class action action requires a jury trial and requires monetary compensation through an order granting effective, legal, punitive, triple and any other form of compensation and / or fair compensation, as well as court fees.

The causes of appeal presented in the motion are as follows:

  • Violation of the Magnusson-Moss warranty law
  • Breach of the implied warranty of merchantability
  • Violation of Oklahoma’s Misleading Business Practices Act
  • Violation of the pole of deception of the OCPA
  • Violation of the unfair pole of the OCPA
  • Unfair enrichment
  • Fraudulent omission or concealment

Finally, the lawsuit seeks an injunction to force Samsung to properly reveal and repair the hinge defect.

Not an isolated case

Bleeping Computer was able to find an abundance of online reports about the display hinge sticking out of the frame and causing the screen to crack on this particular device.

This hinge flaw appears to be a common complaint among device owners, with floods of negative reviews Samsung’s Chromebook Plus product page.

“I have had this Chromebook for over a year now and the left hinge suddenly came off and broke the screen. This is obviously an issue Samsung needs to consider as I have read about 8 reviews in a row showing the same problem” one owner indicated in a review on the product page.

“I had mine for a year and a half and loved it. I opened it today and the left hinge was just frozen. It tore off the bottom left corner of the display, breaking the screen. Never. handled. I just opened it like I did a million times before! As if Samsung didn’t know about their faulty hinges! Unreal! ”stated another review on the product page.

Attached to many of the negative reviews for the Chromebook’s faulty hinges are photos of the damage it caused, as shown below.

Photo of a broken hinge shared in a review
Photo of a broken hinge shared in a review
Another photo of the broken hinge shared in a review
Another photo of the broken hinge shared in a review

Customer complaints are not isolated on the Chromebook product page.

Dissatisfied customers also took to Reddit and Twitter to complain about the hinges, as shown in the slightly censored tweet below.

Twitter user complaining of unjustified damage
Twitter user complaining of unjustified damage

In addition, Bleeping Computer also uncovered another investigation underway for another class action lawsuit than the one presented by McCoy.

Bleeping Computer contacted Samsung with questions related to this lawsuit but received no response.

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