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Apple support firm drops case against customer

A support company that tried to sue a customer for complaining online about service drops its case and issues a mea culpa. However, the complainant still cannot get his iMac replaced.

A doctor who, in a fit of strangely modern communication, complained online about the service he received from an Apple support company in Greece, has won a partial victory.

Dimitris Papadimitriadis was not a happy man after he put his iMac in for a little repair with an official Apple support company called Systemgraph. There were gray shadows all over the screen.

However, there were gray shadows all over Papadimitriadis' face when Systemgraph sued him for telling his story (in a very polite way, for an angry man) online.

The company demanded 200,000 euros, which seemed a little steep when the worst word used in the online post was, allegedly, "shoddy."

However, a few days before the case was to go to court, Systemgraph dropped the case and issued what appeared to be a mea culpa.

The Google translation suggests that the company felt it was merely trying to defend its name (perhaps a strange thing to do, if you really have offered bad service).

The company also said: "We were led to an excessive and inappropriate response, and finally accepting that Mr Papadimitriadis' intention was not to undermine the reputation and credibility, withdraw such court action."

You might imagine that Systemgraph then agreed to fund a replacement iMac for its customer and perhaps asked him out for a glass of retsina at a local hostelry.

This doesn't appear to have yet happened.

One of the posts at #Systemgraph Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Indeed, according to Papadimitriadis, Systemgraph said that "it has no obligation towards me and of course refused to reimburse me for what I did for the costs of preparing my legal defense."

These costs are, he said, rather larger than the cost of a replacement iMac.

The Greek Consumer Ombudsman is now involved in attempting to broker an agreement. Apple has refused to comment on the case.

Speculation in Greece is that Apple put pressure on Systemgraph to drop the case but that the support company is holding out for a little pride in not immediately finding a way to compensate Papadimitriadis for his trouble.

Papadimitriadis even suggested at that a lawyer had intimated the ultimate responsibility with respect to compensation should be Apple's.

This was the first time that a Greek company had tried to sue a customer for an online complaint. And, as the high activity on Twitter at #systemgraph has shown, feelings are suitably passionate.

One can only hope that the situation is soon resolved completely, so that Papadimitriadis can use his new iMac to record more of his consumer experiences and so that Systemgraph can, perhaps, sign on to do a reality show based on the lengths to which it is prepared to go to ensure customer satisfaction.

Update at 1:07 pm PT: Since this post was written, Papadimitriadis has tweeted that he is unsure whether Systemgraph has withdrawn the suit or whether the company has merely put it on hold. He wrote (Google translation): "Please note that # systemgraph withdrew the application but not the right treatment, which can then be re ..." He continued: "full withdrawal requires in law and the waiver of the right." (Note: "treatment" is the literal translation of "lawsuit with a claim for compensation.")