French Consumer Fraud Group Investigating Apple for 'Alleged Deception' and 'Planned Obsolescence'

French consumer fraud group DGCCRF, part of the country's economy ministry, last week launched a preliminary investigation into Apple over "alleged deception" and "planned obsolescence" of Apple products, reports Reuters.

The investigation follows Apple's admission that it slows down some older iPhones with degraded batteries during times of peak power usage in order to prevent unexpected shutdowns.

iphone 6s colors
Apple introduced the power management feature in iOS 10.2.1 following complaints of unexpected shutdowns in the iPhone 6s, but Apple did not make it clear to consumers that it was due to battery deterioration nor did Apple inform customers that it could cause occasional performance slowdowns.

Apple has since apologized for its lack of communication and introduced a new policy that allows iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, and SE owners to receive a one-time no-questions-asked $29 battery replacement for their devices, as a device with a depleted battery that is affected by throttling will return to normal performance with a battery replacement.

According to Apple, the power management features that prevent unexpected shutdowns by occasionally throttling older iPhones with batteries in bad condition are designed to preserve the life of the iPhone for as long as possible and were not implemented to force upgrades. From Apple:

First and foremost, we have never -- and would never -- do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.

Despite Apple's efforts to correct the issue, in addition to the French inquiry, the company is now facing more than two dozen lawsuits accusing it of intentionally slowing down older iPhones and failing to disclose the changes that it introduced in iOS 10.2.1. One of those lawsuits also stems from France, filed by French consumer group "HOP," which translates to "Stop Planned Obsolescence."

The French watchdog's investigation could take months to complete, and based on the findings, the issue could be escalated to a judge for a more in-depth inquiry or dropped all together.

If Apple is found guilty of planned obsolescence in France, the punishment could be a fine of up to five percent of its annual sales.

Related Forum: iPhone

Popular Stories

Apple WWDC24 Apple Intelligence hero 240610

Apple Explains iPhone 15 Pro Requirement for Apple Intelligence

Wednesday June 19, 2024 4:48 am PDT by
With iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, Apple is introducing a new personalized AI experience called Apple Intelligence that uses on-device, generative large-language models to enhance the user experience across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. These new AI features require Apple's latest iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models to work, while only Macs and iPads with M1 or later chips will...
Apple Vision Pro 2 Feature 2

Apple Reportedly Suspends Work on Vision Pro 2

Tuesday June 18, 2024 8:17 am PDT by
Apple has suspended work on the second-generation Vision Pro headset to singularly focus on a cheaper model, The Information reports. Apple was widely believed to have plans to divide its Vision product line into two models, with one "Pro" model and one lower-cost standard model. The company is said to have been deprioritizing the next Vision Pro headset over the past year, gradually...
M4 Real Feature Red

M4 MacBook Pro Models Expected to Launch in Late 2024

Tuesday June 18, 2024 10:50 am PDT by
MacBook Pro models with an M4 chip are expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2024, according to display analyst Ross Young. In a tweet for subscribers, Young said that panel shipments for new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models are set to begin in the third quarter of 2024, which suggests a launch toward the end of the year. Apple started its M4 chip refresh in May with the launch...
iPhone 16 Pro Max Generic Feature 2

5 Biggest Changes Rumored for iPhone 16 Pro Max

Wednesday June 19, 2024 5:00 am PDT by
Given Apple's rumored plan to add an all-new high-end tier to its iPhone 17 series in 2025, this could be the year for Apple to bring its boldest "Pro Max" model to the table — the kind of iPhone 16 upgrade that stands tall above its siblings, both figuratively and literally. If you have been holding out for the iPhone 16 Pro Max, here are five of the biggest changes rumored to be coming...
Apple Intelligence General Feature

Apple Intelligence Features Not Coming to European Union at Launch Due to DMA

Friday June 21, 2024 9:44 am PDT by
Apple today said that European customers will not get access to the Apple Intelligence, iPhone Mirroring, and SharePlay Screen Sharing features that are coming to the iPhone, iPad, and Mac this September due to regulatory issues related to the Digital Markets Act. In a statement to Financial Times, Apple said that there will be a delay as it works to figure out how to make the new...
2022 back to school apple feature

Apple's 2024 Back to School Sale Launching This Week

Monday June 17, 2024 12:27 pm PDT by
Apple will launch its annual Back to School promotion for university students in the United States and Canada this week, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Apple's back to school sales provide students with a free Apple gift card when purchasing a Mac or an iPad, and this year's promotion could help Apple push the new M2 iPad Air and M4 iPad Pro models. Last year, Apple offered U.S....

Top Rated Comments

bladerunner2000 Avatar
84 months ago
Apple is most definitely guilty of planned obsolescence. That actually is a far greater problem than their lies and deceit about the battery life. Soldered RAM, non-removable batteries, etc? That's disgusting.

HOWEVER, to be fair, plenty of other companies are guilty of planned obsolescence as well. Each one of these scumbag companies needs to be taken to the cleaners over it.
Score: 83 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rafark Avatar
84 months ago
For the good of the company in the long term and us the consumers, I hope they get hit hard, otherwise they'll never change.
Score: 63 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Act3 Avatar
84 months ago
Yeah thats right. Batteries who's chemistry is failing over time is now
'Planned Obsolescence'
some folks just don't get what happened here. Communication would have prevented all this.

Apple wouldn't have apologized and offered $29 battery replacements if something wrong didn't happen.
Score: 50 Votes (Like | Disagree)
likegadgets Avatar
84 months ago
I am an Apple loyalist, a business customer, a decades long repeat consumer and a shareholder. I despise prosecutorial abuses and opportunistic lawyers who look for an opening to take advantage.

That said, I also last week experienced what is like to try to get the battery replaced at an Apple store. There was inefficiency, there was arrogance from management, there was massive inconveniencing a customer. They expected 3 visits to the store and long waits (plus the $29) to replace a simple battery on a phone. While sometimes things get blown out of proportion, even a relatively decent and successful company like Apple needs balance and checks. Be these regulation or legal challenges. This issue is going to be very costly to them. Batteries, PR, possibly some lost sales. I am hopeful the lesson will result in improved transparency and a simplification of a simple battery replacement process.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
aevan Avatar
84 months ago
Apple is most definitely guilty of planned obsolescence. That actually is a far greater problem than their lies and deceit about the battery life. Soldered RAM, non-removable batteries, etc? That's disgusting.

HOWEVER, to be fair, plenty of other companies are guilty of planned obsolescence as well. Each one of these scumbag companies needs to be taken to the cleaners over it.
That would be fine if consumers didn’t constantly want thinner, lighter, sexier devices that are waterproof. And before you say they don’t - they totally do.

One of the big reasons people buy Apple devices is their longevity. Apple knows this. Planned obsolence is a quick way for them to start loosing money. All these issues are the consequence of the market, a comprise they make while trying to compete with other, similar companies, with Pixels and Galaxies, not some malicious plan to get you to upgrade. In fact, people are more likely to upgrade if they are happy with their previous phone. If that phone runs like crap, you probably wouldn’t be willing to pay a lot of money for the next one.

Personally, sure, I would love to be able to replace the battery myself, but this iPhone would probably have a design that most people here would call boring, me included. We pressure all these companies to bring us tiny bezels and incredible performance and amazing cameras but we also hate creaky, plastic devices that can be opened or repaired easily.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lazard Avatar
84 months ago
planned obsolescence...probably. Alleged deception...absolutely.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)