Apple is Facing Another Lawsuit Over Alleged Planned Obsolescence of Older Model iPhones
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
Apple is currently facing new litigation from Europe over allegations of planned obsolescence of iPhone 6 models; the tech giant faced two similar allegations earlier in the U.S. and although never admitting to anything, chose to settle for $500 million and $115 million respectively.
Purchasers of older iPhones such as the iPhone 6 series were allegedly uninformed of Apple’s practice of slowing phone function to preserve the end-life of batteries.
As batteries age, their energy capacity decreases, resulting in unintentional shutdowns when surges of energy are requested from the device. To combat this issue, Apple has admitted to slowing the function of older model iPhones in an effort to preserve battery life. In the U.S., users were frustrated to learn of this practice only after the fact, claiming that had they known their phone’s reduced speed was the result of energy conservation efforts for an old battery, they would simply have replaced the battery rather than purchasing an entirely new phone. The European lawsuits make similar claims, pointing out that users should have been informed of this practice before purchasing, and also touching on the environmental impact of selling phones the company knew would require new batteries to continue functioning.
Italy is the most recent European country to join the lawsuits against Apple.
Altroconsumo, an Italian consumer rights organization, is the third to join in the European lawsuits against Apple over this issue. Belgium and Spain were the first to lead the way in this type of litigation against Apple in December 2020. Italy is seeking 60 million euros to compensate consumer losses at approximately 60 euros per iPhone which required a new battery. Euroconsumers, a consumer rights organization helping to coordinate all three current European lawsuits against Apple, released a statement in no uncertain terms stating that consumers had been “defrauded” by Apple’s alleged practice of planned obsolescence. A speaker for the organization then went on to point out that if U.S. consumers received compensation, European consumers were entitled to the same. Portugal is reportedly also considering joining this litigation on behalf of their allegedly defrauded consumers.
While Apple has admitted to slowing phone performance to preserve battery life, they have not admitted to doing so in order to force new sales.
The allegations Apple has faced in this realm of litigation both in the U.S. and Europe revolve around the idea that Apple might be intentionally creating products designed to fail in order to drive consumers to purchase either a new battery or a vastly more expensive new phone. Apple’s failure to notify consumers of their energy-saving practice with older iPhones did little to help them combat these allegations. While Apple has never admitted to these claims, allegations of planned obsolescence in the interest of increased profits have not lost speed, and seem to keep cropping up in litigation faced by this tech giant around the world.