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Apple in New iPhone Legal Dispute

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Californian tech giant Apple is facing a class-action legal action over allegations that the Cupertino-based company has followed a programme of software updates that have deliberately resulted in the slowdown of older iPhones.

The class-action – also being referred to as the ‘battery gate’ scandal – has been bought by European consumer cluster Euroconsumers. The advocacy group, a conglomerate of five national consumer organisations, say that the action covers nearly 2 million iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S and 6S Plus devices in Spain, Italy, Belgium, Portugal and Belgium. The so-called ‘battery gate’ issue started in late 2017, when it was discovered that Apple had deliberately slowed down older iPhones, which it claimed would help avoid unexpected handset shutdowns. The issue was discovered when an iPhone user shared performance tests that revealed that a iPhone 6S had slowed down considerably as it had aged. However the handset suddenly sped up again after the battery was replaced, pointing to a deliberate policy by Apple to slow older iPhones.

As a result, Apple were forced to apologise and also lowered the price for replacement batteries to less than £25 from £65. However, they denied that the software upgrade programme was a way of forcing customers to upgrade to new handsets. Apple’s official position on the matter remains that lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying and maintaining peak current demands, as they age.

Apple insisted its slowdown (or throttling) was designed to stop older iPhones unexpectedly shutting down, so as to protect its electronic components.
Apple was hit with a 5 million euro fine in France back in 2018 for releasing software updates that “significantly reduced” the performance of its iPhones. Apple was also fined $12 million in 2018 in Italy, and in March 2020 Apple reached a litigation settlement of £430+ million in the United States. Then in October this year Apple also confirmed it was to pay £85m to settle an official investigation by 33 US states into its deliberate policy of slowing down older iPhone models.

European Group Action Claim

The Euroconsumers claim is an additional headache for Apple. The consumer group recently stated: 

Euroconsumers…today announced it has filed two class-action lawsuit sagainst Apple Inc, over the planned obsolescence of Apple iPhones…The lawsuits cover owners of iPhone6, 6 Plus, 6S and 6S Plus and alleges Apple engaged in unfair and misleading commercial practices.”

The lawsuits are seeking compensation of at least 60 euros for each affected consumer in Belgium and Spain, and the group said that it had taken the action after no response from Apple itself. If the lawsuits succeed, they could cost Apple €180 million ($217 million) in total, based on Euroconsumers estimates of the number of devices affected. It has also planning to launch lawsuits in Italy and Portugal.

Commercial Litigation Funding

If you are thinking about taking legal action against another individual or company but are worried about the costs involved, Advantage Litigation Services have the skills and expertise to help you find a way of funding commercial litigation without risking your personal finances or those of your business. Click here to contact us today or call 0800 160 1298 to see how we can help.



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