Pensioner Wins £2000 Damages From Apple After Botched iPhone Fix Deleted Photos & Videos

As reported in the Evening Standard, pensioner Deric White from Pimlico in London was awarded £2,000 in damages (£1,200 in compensation, and £800 in costs) after successfully suing Apple after a botched iPhone fix at one of their stores resulted in the loss of his photos and video.

How Did It Happen?

On 11th December 2014 Mr White took his Apple iPhone 5 to the Apple Store in Regent Street. He had gone there to complain to Apple that he kept receiving text messages twice daily during his honeymoon telling him to reset his password.

Staff at the Apple Store in Regent referred him to the ‘Genius Bar’ there to have the fault repaired. A member of staff took the phone away from him and then returned it saying that the fault had been “sorted”. On inspecting the iPhone at this point, retired Property Developer Mr White discovered that photos, video and other data had been deleted.

What Had Been Lost?

The ‘without warning’ deletions from Mr White’s phone included the contacts he’d accumulated over 15 years, and all of the treasured photographic records of Mr White and his wife’s ‘once in a lifetime’ trip to the Seychelles. These included a video of a giant tortoise biting his hand, as well as photos of African rhinos and elephants.

Mr White, who had just beaten cancer at the time, is reported to have said that the discovery that his prized photos, video and contacts had been deleted left him “livid”, and reduced his wife to tears. In comments to newspapers he is reported to have said that his anger lay in his belief that they knew they had done it but sent him on his way “like an imbecile”.

Negligence

In the final court showdown likened by some commentators to a ‘David and Goliath’ battle, Mr White represented himself at the London County Court within the Royal Courts of Justice after 12 months of pursuing Apple over the incident. In the end District Judge Ruth Fine ruled in White’s favour saying that "the defendant's employees were negligent in the treatment of the claimant's telephone, causing the claimant loss of photographs of particular sentimental value and the loss of all his contacts".

A court document showed that a spokesperson for Apple had argued that Mr White had not demonstrated how he suffered any loss. Judge Fine however pointed out that “Just because damages are difficult to assess does not disentitle a claimant to compensation."

The Importance of Backing Up

One obvious conclusion to reach on reading this story is that it is important to make sure that all valuable photos, videos and contact information should be regularly backed up in order to limit the risk of them being permanently lost if your handset is damaged, stolen, or is subject to human error during repair.

In Mr White’s case it was reported that he had agreed to sign up for iCloud, but only at the point that his phone was being handed back to him after the bungled repair.