US tech giant Apple finds itself in deeper waters as it faces yet another class-action lawsuit, its third in Europe, over the practice of planned obsolescence of several iPhone 6 models. Italian consumer association Euroconsumers revealed on Monday that it filed the suit in Italy seeking compensation over Apple’s misleading claims about the battery life of older iPhones.
Els Bruggeman, head of policy and enforcement at Euroconsumers, an international consumer organization, said that owners expected sustainable quality products, which was not the case with the iPhone 6 models. “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,” he said. The models in question are the iPhone 6, 6S, 6 Plus, and 6S Plus, sales of which in Italy was around a million phones from 2014 to 2020. Apple was previously accused of slowing down their devices in connection with the battery degradation over time.
Altroconsumo, which is a member of Euroconsumers and the the one behind the lawsuit, revealed in a statement that it was asking for compensation on damages worth no less than 60 million euros on behalf of Italian consumers, who had been tricked and duped by Apple. This means the average compensation per iPhone user will be around 60 euros.
The lawsuit in Italy is the third of its kind to be filed in Europe against Apple, after similar suits being filed in Belgium and Spain last month. Unfortunately, things are expected get even murkier, with a fourth suit in Portugal to be filed shortly by Euroconsumers in the coming weeks.
Apple and lawsuits have been close for quite some time – the tech giant was embroiled in similar cases in the United States last year fighting claims that it misled consumers about battery power and software updates and intentionally slowed down the performance of older iPhones so that consumers buy newer models or new batteries. Apple had paid $113 million to settle an investigation by nearly three dozen states and bring an end to the “batterygate scandal.” Another lawsuit in France 12 months ago for capping the performance of aging devices had cost Apple an amount of $27 million.
Apple later denied the allegations regarding the Italian lawsuit, saying that it had never done anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades.