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Lawsuit claims Apple sold iPhone 4 with bad on-off button

The tech giant is slapped with a lawsuit, which alleges it knowingly sold iPhone 4 smartphones with power buttons that broke shortly after the 1-year warranty expired.

Apple's iPhone 4.

A lawsuit has been brought against Apple for allegedly selling iPhone 4 smartphones with faulty power buttons. The suit, which seeks class-action status, claims that Apple knew about the issue and failed to fix the problem.

Debra Hilton filed the lawsuit in San Jose, Calif., alleging that she and "thousands of iPhone 4 users" were sold the device with on-off buttons that stopped working shortly after the 1-year warranty was up. The problem purportedly had to do with a defective flex cable that controlled the power button.

"The Apple iPhone 4 is plagued by a latent defect that causes its Power Button to fail, usually shortly after the 1 year warranty covering the device has expired, thereby rendering the phone unusable," says the complaint, which was filed last Friday. "Apple knew when it manufactured, marketed, and sold the device that this defect existed, but failed to disclose it, instead touting the purported superior attributes of the telephone in Apple's various advertisements and marketing campaigns."

According to the court filing, the defect in the power button prevented users from restarting the phone or being able to toggle it on and off. If the issue came up after the 1-year warranty expired, users allegedly had to pay a $149.99 replacement fee.

The complaint says that thousands of users complained of the problem in Apple discussion forums. A user by the name of CwissyBwear wrote on January 8, 2011, "Out of the blue today the power/lock button on my iPhone 4 became completely unresponsive. It doesn't seem to be jammed and it actually seems to be loose and a bit wiggly. Now I can't restart my phone and I can't lock it."

The class action suit is filed under the RICO statute, which is a federal racketeering law.

CNET contacted Apple for comment. We'll update the story when we get more information.

(Via GigaOm.)

Apple Power Button Lawsuit by jeff_roberts881