Italian Consumer Association Launches Lawsuit Against Apple for Planned Obsolescence

Italian consumer association Altroconsumo today announced that it has launched a class action lawsuit [PDF] against Apple for planned obsolescence (via Reuters).

iPhone slow
Altroconsumo is seeking damages of 60 million euros on behalf of Italian consumers who were "tricked" by the practice, with the lawsuit covering the iPhone 6, ‌iPhone‌ 6 Plus, ‌iPhone‌ 6s, and ‌iPhone‌ 6s Plus.

"When consumers buy Apple iPhones, they expect sustainable quality products. Unfortunately, that is not what happened with the iPhone 6 series. Not only were consumers defrauded, and did they have to face frustration and financial harm, from an environmental point of view it is also utterly irresponsible" said ​Els Bruggeman, Head of Policy and Enforcement at Euroconsumers. "This new lawsuit is the latest front in our fight against planned obsolescence in Europe. Our ask is simple: American consumers received compensation, European consumers want to be treated with the same fairness and respect."

These claims date back to the 2017 release of iOS 10.2.1, which included a feature that throttled the performance of older iPhones with degrading batteries to prevent device shutdowns at peak usage points. Apple did not make it clear that avoiding shutdowns would require device performance to be scaled down, which led to a huge consumer outcry and blowback that's ongoing today.

Italy in 2018 fined Apple 10 million euros for "dishonest commercial practices" for implementing an update that "caused serious malfunctions and significantly reduced performance, thus accelerating phones' substitution."

Apple has maintained that the idea of planned obsolescence is absurd, with the iOS 10.2.1 update designed to make iPhones last longer by preventing interruptions in usage. Following the fiasco, Apple implemented battery health features in iOS and debuted a $29 battery replacement program, but it has still faced multiple legal issues related to planned obsolescence claims.

The prior Italian lawsuit and fine were levied by regulators, while the current lawsuit seeks damages for consumers. Altroconsumo is seeking 60 euros on average for all owners of affected iPhones.

Apple is facing similar lawsuits in Belgium and Spain, and a fourth class action lawsuit is set to launch in the near future. Italy is also currently investigating Apple for improper commercial practices in regard to cloud computing services and recently fined Apple 10 million euros for misleading water resistance claims.

Top Rated Comments

CWallace Avatar
13 months ago
Cynical View:

Apple never should have enabled throttling, instead allowing phones with naturally-degraded batteries to just shut down and/or reboot.

The upsides would be they would have made more money because more people would have either paid for battery replacements at full price or bought new phones and Apple would not have had to pay all these fines and suffering the "bad PR" for actually trying to mitigate the problem.


Non-Cynical View:

Apple should have just made public what they were doing and why they were throttling. I'm sure there would have still been blowback (there always is when you try and do the right thing), but (hopefully) far less then they did by trying to just do it quietly.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dasmb Avatar
13 months ago
You can't win for losing here.

Apple uses the most robust battery technology available at the time, a technology that decreases in voltage as it ages.

Dropping voltage to any chip causes the chip to malfunction In this case, it causes phones to randomly restart under load.

Apple releases a patch that causes phones with reduced voltage to heal through the problem by reducing performance, rather than risking data loss or panics.

This move -- which effectively increases the usable lifespan of the phone -- is used to punish the company for "planned obsolescence."

You guys know what a knock sensor is? It's a little device that every car has that measures the quality of combustion in the engine. If it detects the wrong kinds of ignition, it reduces the fuel/air mixture to prevent too-powerful explosions from damaging the engine. In essence, it reduces performance to prolong the lifespan of the engine. And to my knowledge, no car company to date has been sued for "planned obsolescence."
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
calzon65 Avatar
13 months ago
I think Apple already does a decent job supporting older platforms for many years. At some point, Apple or any other company, is going to "move on" to newer technologies.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
xxray Avatar
13 months ago
This is ridiculous. Apple has always offered more years of software updates of any mobile OS. I understand they should’ve been more transparent with the battery situation, but still.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GeoStructural Avatar
13 months ago

I think Apple already does a decent job supporting older platforms for many years. At some point, Apple or any other company, is going to "move on" to newer technologies.
Right, if anything Apple is one of the big tech companies that supports their devices the longest.

Just the technological improvements alone, miniaturization, screen technologies, radio-communication standards, etc. make it very hard for these companies not to produce a new device periodically. That does not mean you have to buy it every year but they definitely will make it, otherwise their competition will.

I think Android devices suffer from early obsolescence more than iDevices. Same applies to Macs, I know people still rocking 2012 and 2013 devices that work decently.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mac Prodigy Avatar
13 months ago
And everyone in that class action suit, outside of the lawyers, might get .7 cents each...if they are lucky. Class actions suits are the biggest waste of time. They only get lawyers rich.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

hey siri

Lawsuit Accusing Apple of Recording of Confidential Siri Requests Without User Consent Dismissed

Wednesday February 10, 2021 3:36 pm PST by
A Northern California judge today dismissed a class action lawsuit that accused Apple of the "unlawful and intentional" recording of confidential Siri communications without user consent. The class action lawsuit was first filed in August 2019 after it became known that Apple had employed contractors to listen to and grade some anonymized Siri conversations for product improvement purposes. ...
apple independent repair program

FTC Report Highlights Consumer Harms of Manufacturer Repair Restrictions

Friday May 7, 2021 4:26 am PDT by
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has published an in-depth report looking at how the product repair restrictions that manufacturers put in place negatively impact consumers and small businesses in various ways. Titled "Nixing the Fix," the report covers a litany of methods that companies use to limit the ability for customers and independent business to repair their products. Focusing...
iphone 6s battery

Consumer Group Sues Apple in Belgium and Spain Over iPhone Throttling

Wednesday December 2, 2020 4:06 am PST by
An EU consumer advocacy group has filed class-action lawsuits against Apple in both Belgium and Spain for "unfair and misleading commercial practices" related to the iPhone performance management system it introduced in iOS 10.2.1 without informing customers. Brought by Euroconsumers, which describes itself as the "world's leading consumer cluster organization," the suits allege that the...
ios 15

iOS 15 Compatible With All iPhones That Run iOS 14

Monday June 7, 2021 11:58 am PDT by
Apple's new iOS 15 operating system is compatible with all of the iPhones that are able to run iOS 14, including the original iPhone SE, the iPhone 6s, and the iPhone 6s Plus. Apple's list of compatible devices confirms that ‌iOS 15 works with all of these iPhones: All iPhone 12 models All iPhone 11 models iPhone XS iPhone XS Max iPhone XR iPhone X iPhone 8 iPhone 8 ...
appstore

Australian Watchdog Wants iOS Users to Have More Control Over Preinstalled Apps

Wednesday April 28, 2021 2:04 am PDT by
In an report related to its ongoing investigation into Apple and Google app marketplace dominance, Australia's consumer watchdog has warned both companies that it wants consumers to have more choice when it comes to preinstalled apps on Apple and Android devices (via ZDNet). Specifically, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) wants Apple and Google to give users more...
apple products refurbished store banner

Class Action Lawsuit Over Apple Providing Refurbished Replacement Devices Proceeding to Trial in August

Friday March 5, 2021 9:53 am PST by
Initially filed in 2016, a class action lawsuit that accuses Apple of violating the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act, Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, and other U.S. laws by providing customers with refurbished replacement devices is set to proceed to trial August 16, according to a notice this week from law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP. Apple's repair terms and conditions state that,...
iphone 11 pro charger

Apple Fined $2 Million in Brazil for Selling iPhones Without Chargers

Saturday March 20, 2021 8:04 am PDT by
Apple has been slapped with a near $2 million fine in the Brazilian state of São Paulo over violations of the Consumer Law Code due to the lack of a charger in the box for newer iPhones, Brazilian tech news outlet Tilt reports. Procon-SP, São Paulo's consumer protection agency, decided to fine Apple following intense scrutiny over the decision to remove the power adapter from the boxes of...
14

Some Users Reporting Excessive Battery Drain Following iOS 14.6 Update

Tuesday June 1, 2021 5:50 am PDT by
Following the release of iOS and iPadOS 14.6 last week, some users have taken to social media and online forums to note that their devices have been experiencing excessive battery drain since installing the software updates. The Apple Support Community and MacRumors forums are riddled with posts from users stating their device now drains faster following the update. One user on the Apple...

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole thumb

ProMotion Now Expected to Remain Exclusive to iPhone 14 Pro Models, Not Expand to Entire Lineup

Sunday January 16, 2022 8:56 am PST by
Continuing the tradition set with the iPhone 13 Pro, only the highest-end iPhone 14 models will feature Apple's ProMotion display technology, according to a respected display analyst. Ross Young, who on multiple occasions has detailed accurate information about Apple's future products, said in a tweet that ProMotion will not be expanded to the entire iPhone 14 lineup and will remain...
AirPods Pro Gen 3 Mock Feature Red

AirPods Pro 2 Could Start a New Accessory Ecosystem

Friday January 14, 2022 2:34 am PST by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro could arrive alongside a new series of accessories, recent leaked images suggest. Alleged leaked photos of the next-generation AirPods Pro obtained by MacRumors showed a charging case with a metal loop on the side for attaching a strap. Apple has not used this design for any of its other AirPod models and it is unclear why it would be added in this...
Unlikely Products 2022 Feature

Six Rumored Apple Products You're Unlikely to See This Year

Saturday January 15, 2022 2:06 pm PST by
Much has been said about what consumers could see from Apple in 2022, but the company is also working on a handful of rumored products that aren't expected to be unveiled for at least another 12 months, and in some cases a lot longer. Of course, that's assuming they get released at all. Apple works on many potential products some of which ultimately never see the light of day. With that in...
safari icon blue banner

Safari Bug Allows Websites to Track Your Recent Browsing Activity in Real Time

Sunday January 16, 2022 3:37 pm PST by
A bug in WebKit's implementation of a JavaScript API called IndexedDB can reveal your recent browsing history and even your identity, according to a blog post shared on Friday by browser fingerprinting service FingerprintJS. In a nutshell, the bug allows any website that uses IndexedDB to access the names of IndexedDB databases generated by other websites during a user's browsing session....
ipad air 4 video

New iPad Air Rumored to Launch This Spring With A15 Chip, 5G, Center Stage Camera, and More

Saturday January 15, 2022 8:05 pm PST by
Apple is planning to release a fifth-generation iPad Air with similar features as the sixth-generation iPad mini, including an A15 Bionic chip, 12-megapixel Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage support, 5G for cellular models, and Quad-LED True Tone flash, according to Japanese blog Mac Otakara. Citing reliables sources in China, the report claims that the new iPad Air could be...
netflix2

Netflix Again Raises Prices for All Plans, 4K Streaming Now $20 Per Month

Friday January 14, 2022 12:46 pm PST by
Netflix today updated the prices for its streaming plans, and all of its offerings are now more expensive. The Basic plan is now priced at $9.99 per month, the Standard plan is priced at $15.49 per month, and the Premium plan is priced at $19.99 per month. The Basic plan is $1 more expensive, up from $8.99 per month. This plan allows users to watch on just one screen at a time, and it limits ...
top stories 20220115

Top Stories: iPhone 14 Pro Rumors, iCloud Private Relay Controversy, iOS 15.2.1 Released, and More

Saturday January 15, 2022 6:00 am PST by
Hole-punch? Pill? Hole-punch and pill? Rumors about what the front camera system on the iPhone 14 Pro will look like are evolving rapidly, and it now appears we might be getting a novel but potentially controversial design later this year. Other major stories this week included some confusion and controversy about iCloud Private Relay being disabled for some T-Mobile customers, increasing...
iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole 16x9 120hz

Analyst: All iPhone 14 Models to Feature 120Hz Displays, 6GB of RAM, and More

Friday January 14, 2022 7:02 am PST by
Apple is rumored to announce four new iPhone 14 models in September, and ahead of time, analyst Jeff Pu has outlined his expectations for the devices. In a research note with Haitong International Securities, obtained by MacRumors, Pu claimed that all iPhone 14 models will feature ProMotion displays, compared to only Pro models currently. ProMotion enables a variable refresh rate up to 120Hz ...