Apple Claimed Liquid Damage and then sent me a questionable photo

My MacBook keyboard stopped working, and 9 days after dropping it off for repairs, Apple claimed “liquid damage”. There has been none at all, I am certain of it. Only option was to pay for repairs or have it returned to me without the repairs done. When I disputed their claim, they sent me a photo (attached) which was apparently “my MacBook” showing corrosion.

I refused to pay as I have spilt nothing at all on the MacBook. and am currently making do with an external keyboard.

The next photo I have attached is my actual MacBook after I received it back, not repaired. As you can see, there is NO sign of ANY corrosion. I believe I was totally scammed. The photo Apple sent me is not even of my MacBook.

I have now spoken to an independent repairer who has confirmed that they believe the photo Apple sent me is not my MacBook.

It is just not right what they have done. The liquid damage claim is absolutely untrue and an unreasonable assumption. There is no accountability for Apple, and it was my word against theirs about the liquid damage, that is, until they sent me a photo that does not match to my MacBook.

Hopefully you can see the photos attached to this post. I’m curious if other users have received the same photo from Apple?


Welcome to the community @sarah4

A quote and report from the independent repairer would be useful if you need to argue further with Apple or take a complaint to your state/territory Consumer Affairs.

As a first post you may not be able to add a photo. Noted @phb has updated your settings.

Apple has had a number of past issues with the keyboards and “butterfly” key switches. Supposedly not an issue with the latest models, our 2023 purchase has developed an intermittent keyboard fault. Apple were unable to replicate it when returned for remedy.


Hi @sarah4, welcome to the community.

I have adjusted your trust level within the community should you wish to post the photos for other members to review. You should be able to post photographs now using the upload button at the top of the post edit window.

I would be going back to Apple and advising that you will be providing your laptop to an independent testing authority and should the photographs Apple took or their assessment prove to be wrong, you will be seeking legal advice and taking action against Apple. This may prompt them into reconsidering their assessment.


I spoke to Apple today as a one last ditch to try to resolve my issue before taking things further.

Apple asked me if they could record the phone call. I said yes. Then I asked if I too could record the phone call, and they said yes. About a minute later I was informed that I was not allowed to record the phone call, it’s their policy.

I said that in the case of my issue not being resolved, I wanted a record of the call. I was then told the call would need to be disconnected as I was recording, so I stopped recording at that point.

Not sure why Apple have an issue with me recording the call. It does not seem fair for them to record conversations, but not allow customers to do the exact same thing. Very hypocritical. What do they have to hide if they are showing integrity and fulfilling their obligations to replace a faulty product under warranty?


Power. They own the recordings they have control.

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The fact that they are not allowing you to take a record of the call gives you a reason to request communication via email. That’s an acceptable record of the interaction. Email them with your issue and mention why you need email communication.
Good luck


Noted the edit to add the 2 photos, the upper being not your Mac. They appear to be of the MagSafe power connection port. Whether the keyboard has suffered some form of spill damage one might need to see the keyboard assembly and switches for hard evidence. Enough said!

Rather than search for others with a similar experience, is the real need to have Apple accept the keyboard has a defect?
Consider Apple staff may have made a mistake unintentionally in how they responded.
If your keyboard has defective keys one would suggest it is no longer fit for purpose if it requires an external keyboard to be used.

I’d note on a recent visit to an Apple Store and their tech support table a plentiful supply of the following brochure was strategically placed on every table. Just to note the ACCC does not usually respond to individual consumer complaints other than to create a record, the respective state/territory organisations delegated responsibilities are as listed on the LHS of the pic.

Apple may have a lingering issue with sticky mechanical butterfly design key switches. They were very slow to say so before agreeing to a remedial program for previous model Macbooks in the US.


I spent 2 hours in the Apple Store on the weekend, asking them to show me evidence of the “liquid damage”, and they refused to show me the liquid damage to my MacBook. There is no accountability at all. They said it is their policy that they cannot open a device in front of a customer.

After an extensive effort on my part, they finally agreed to take a magnified photo of the external charging part of my MacBook, which I had been told had corrosion due to “liquid damage”, and they had previously sent me a photo of said corrosion. After 25 minutes of them having my device out the back of the store, they came back and showed me an extremely magnified photo of something black, that had absolutely no discolouration or signs of corrosion. I asked for a copy of the photo and they refused, saying it is their intellectual property, and that I am not allowed a copy of the photo, of MY MacBook. I then asked them to save the photo on my file and they also refused, saying that they already have photos and they won’t save this photo. I believe they knew that there was no sign of corrosion, and so didn’t want to keep the evidence.

Yes they gave me the exact ACCC brochure. How nice of them :roll_eyes:

This is the other photo they emailed me showing the internal damage. I have confirmed with my local repairer, this is not the inside of my MacBook! They have outright lied to me.


It looks like Apple ‘claiming’ water damage isn’t new. This thread on the Apple community sounds very familiar to your experience…


Yes I know there are lots of people out there with the same issue, which does make it a concern for the ACCC to investigate. I am aware of this forum. I have posted to it twice and Apple deleted both my comments. I wonder how many other comments have been deleted from it? It is a very active thread. Most of the comments are quite recent.

I received an email from Apple saying that I had breached the Apple Community guidelines so they deleted my comments. I read the terms and conditions very carefully and could not see where I had breached them. Of course, they send it from a “do not reply” address so you can’t ask for specifics.

Hence why I have decided to post about my issues on this forum.


Assume that is a reference to Apple claiming failure due to moisture damage? Or rather excluding warranty because excess moisture may have been present?

To note most Apple devices have some form of indicator paint or patches that respond to excessive moisture. LCI is how Apple refers to them.

A further question is whether Apple techs or your independent repairer can verify any of the indicators are showing evidence of excessive moisture. If any of those indicators have been activated it becomes a far more difficult argument. One position might be the indicators are on their own not absolute proof a failure has been caused by excessive moisture. However it appears to be Apple’s position the indicators are evidence.

To note a class action 2013 against Apple claiming an earlier version of the indicators was unreliable succeeded in the US.

To note the current MacBooks appear to be rated for use in an environment of 10-35C and less than 95%RH (non condensing what ever that means).

Would one reasonably expect a MacBook to be any less reliable or durable than any other brand of laptop?

I’ve had numerous laptops ranging from low end Acer to high end IBM ThinkPads over 25 years. We’ve also had continuously a selection of Apple mobiles and iPads etc over 14 years. Think tropical N QLD at one extreme and the far south of NZ (fog so dense you could eat it) at the other. None - zero have ever had major failures or issues arising in everyday use from moisture.

Would it be surprising if the Apple devices LCI were showing past exposure to high levels of moisture in the past?
It could be a long and complex argument such as the one raised in the OP.

Does Apple need to prove a failure where an LCI is indicating prior moisture is actually due to moisture? Or are the products not fit for purpose given how the average consumer may use them?

Apple excludes all warranty and Apple Care cover if it believes the device has been exposed to excessive levels of moisture.

Apple is not alone in warranty exclusions. Lenovo also goes to great lengths to point out CID (Customer Induced Damage) is excluded. Evidence of moisture around keyboards being just one example.


Basically water remains as water vapour rather than condensing and becoming dew. So it is at a temperature above dew point for that amount of water in the air. So if 95% RH non-condensing the amount of water vapour has almost reached where it has saturated the air. An example based around the stated values would be 35 C at 95% RH the amount of water vapour in the air is roughly 37.7 g/m3 and a dew point close to 34 C and to compare at 30 C the same RH would mean that there was about 28.7 g/m3 and a dew point of 29 C, 100% RH at 35 C has 39.6 g/m3 water vapour and a dew point of 35 C (i.e. it will produce dew or rain if it is falling from the sky):smile:

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I prefer to take my gear to an independent Apple serviceman. If under warranty you need someone properly Apple certified so it doesn’t void your warranty. There’s a lot of difference between a Mac friendly tech and a proper Apple certified tech. I can highly recommend Geekworks in Brisbane if you are in Qld.


It’s the vibe. Even if there’s no evidence supporting their belief, there’s… it’s a photo from a different laptop, it’s humidity, it’s justice. It’s the vibe.

It’s all there in this ACCC brochure. Not any particular section, it’s the whole thing.

My son had a similar problem. His MacBook suddenly had problems with external communication through the USB/C ports. Still under warranty he took it to Apple. Thery tested it and confirmed that the USB/C ports had failed so it was left for repair.
Apple subsequently contacted him to say they had found evidence of water damage and they wouldn’t repair it under warranty. The computer has only ever been in an air-conditioned environment and has never had any fluids spilled on it. He’s argued with Apple who won’t budge so they have reached an impasse.


It’s a shame that this is not just a one off mistake from Apple, but it seems to be a common intentional scam.
My concern is that there is no accountability or transparency for Apple to prove their “liquid damage” claims. When I asked for proof, I was told that they would open my MacBook out the back of the store, but they then said if it stops working completely from the staff opening it, then I would be liable for that. I’m surprised at the poor customer service.
Unfortunately we now have to go to NCAT. So disappointed in the Apple warranty process.

I encourage everyone with the same issue to report it to the ACCC. The more people that report the false “liquid damage” claim, the more chance of ACCC looking into this issues and making Apple accountable. It’s not right what they are doing, and they should be held to account.


Appears there is more than one unhappy Mac owner. However without hard numbers how it may appear could be difficult to verify. Apple Mac’s have at last count a 14.7% share of the Aussie PC market. IE 1 in 7 sales. In 2023 the Aussie market supposedly purchased more than 4 million units, or for Apple’s share around 600,000 Mac’s of all models.

Finding failure or warranty rates data might prove difficult. Assuming 1% (some might suggest is a low rate) as the typical failure rate per year. Apple would see around 12,000 warranty claims on average for units up to 2 years old. One would expect if there is a routine within Apple to reject claims due to apparent water damage thousands of these unhappy customers would already be speaking up. Apple has a patent on their indicators likely backed up by copious scientific assessment.

Without an independent and recognised technically competent assessment, one that can demonstrate for the repair required, moisture is not a contributing factor, it may be very challenging to get traction. There is the option to pay for an independent recognised technically competent Apple repairer to do as required. Whether they will provide back up acceptable for a claim by the Mac owner for one’s respective Consumer Affairs authority or N-CAT application against Apple is a second consideration. There is no guarantee of how it might turn out. Consider who ever is the first to succeed could in Apple’s mind open a flood gate challenging the proposition Apple’s moisture damage defence is unreliable.

Apple quarterly Mac sales globally are averaging around 6 million units, 24M annually.

To note.
Australia is around 2% of Apple’s Mac market. Without conclusive technical support it’s going to be difficult for the ACCC or any Aussie legally recognised consumer representative to take on Apple. It may be useful to also look to the EU or USA for evidence of consumer actions on similar issues.

As a long time Windows Notebook/Laptop owner/s we have never had a need to claim warranty on any Toshiba, Samsung, HP, IBM, Sony, Acer, Renard, (1993 - present). One hard drive failure after several years use the only item of note. We do now have our first MacBook, although one of the family has had an older model for many years without issue.

It will be informative to hear from others with a similar issue to that raised, and the actions taken in seeking resolution.


It seems that Apple has some sort of liquid detection mechanism that they like to keep ‘proprietary’ and secret from their product buyers. Just as Apple have always kept much of their products over the years proprietary and secret.

And why I have never had anything to do with their products. But that is another issue.

The ACCC are not much concerned with individual grievances. More about patterns of bad behaviour in the job they have looking after the consumer law. If it was more than a few people having warranty claims rejected, then they may take notice.

So yes, everyone who has a problem dealing with Apple support and warranties should complain. Loudly.

My understanding is that they have a moisture sensor, something that changes colour when there is water. Trouble is, it can also be triggered by excessive humidity - and perhaps even there could be an unrelated problem with a separate humidity ( not water ) trigger of this chemical sensor, and as a matter of company policy they seem willing to jump to the conclusion that most suits their purposes. Seems it is doing the brand damage, I can only hope karma will catch up with them in the end.