You do not become a $2 trillion company by being nice to anyone, and today Procon-SP, the Brazilian consumer protection regulator called the company out for a number of ways it has been wringing every dollar from its captive market of consumers.
The company was fined $2 million “for misleading advertising, selling a device without the charger and unfair terms.”
Complaints include removing the charger from the iPhone 12 without an associated reduction in the cost of the handset, not repairing water-damaged iPhones despite the handset having an IP68 rating which meant water-proof until 6 metres, not helping users after software updates damaged their devices and exempting itself from all legal and implicit guarantees and against hidden or not apparent defects.
Apple defended not shipping the iPhone 12 with a charger on the grounds of environmental benefits, saying most buyers already had chargers, but given that the iPhone 12 shipped with a Lightning to USB-C cable and fast charging which only worked with new chargers, Procon-SP determined this was a lie, saying Apple “didn’t demonstrate environmental gain.”
Procon-SP Executive Director Fernando Capez said “Apple needs to understand that in Brazil there are solid consumer protection laws and institutions. It needs to respect these laws and these institutions.”
See Procon-SP’s full press release below:
Procon-SP fine Apple
Company fined more than ten million for misleading advertising, device sales without charger and unfair terms
Published on March 22, 2021
Procon-SP fined Apple Computer Brasil for several practices that violate the Consumer Protection Code (CDC). The sanction in the amount of R $ 10,546,442.48 will be applied through an administrative proceeding and the company has the right to defense.
Apple committed an abusive practice by selling a smartphone model without the power charger adapter, a necessary and essential accessory for its operation.
After complaints registered by consumers about the sale of smartphone models without the accessory, Procon-SP notified the company asking for explanations.
Questions about whether there was a reduction in the price of the iPhone 12 device due to the removal of the accessory; what the values ??of the device sold with and without the adapter and about the effective reduction in the number of adapters produced were some of the questions asked and not answered by the company.
Consumers complained at Procon-SP that their iPhone 11 Pro smartphone devices – whose advertising claimed to be water resistant – had problems without the company repairing them. When questioned by Procon-SP, the company reported that water resistance would not be a permanent condition of the device, and could decrease over time; and that to avoid liquid damage consumers should stop swimming or showering with the smartphone and use it in conditions of extreme humidity.
However, the model’s advertisements made statements such as: “rigorous tests and refinements helped to create a durable iPhone that is resistant to water and dust”, “water resistant to 4 meters for up to 30 seconds”, “made to take splashes and a bath ”and brought images of the cell phone receiving jets of water on the sides and on the top being used in the rain and in a water container.
Problems after system update
Procon-SP also received complaints from consumers who reported problems with some functions of their devices after updating the system. Despite being notified, Apple did not provide explanations about several questions asked, failing to provide information of interest to consumers and making it impossible to verify any harmful conduct to them.
In the analysis of the warranty term for the products, Procon-SP verified that Apple imposes some unfair terms – in one of them, the company is exempt from all legal and implicit guarantees and against hidden or not apparent defects; in another reports that “the software distributed by Apple, whether Apple branded or not (including, among other system software), is not covered by this warranty” and that “Apple does not guarantee that the operation of the Apple product will be uninterrupted or no mistakes” “. With these clauses, the company disclaims liability for problems with products or services and violates Article 51, I of the CDC.
There is another clause stating that the company may request authorization to charge the credit card for the value of the product or replacement part and shipping costs. Such clause is unfair and disrespects Article 51, IV, of the CDC insofar as it transfers to the consumer the risk of the activity and the cost of complying with the guarantee, offending the principle of good faith, balance and vulnerability of the consumer and putting you at an exaggerated disadvantage.
Company did not repair device
Apple did not fix a problem presented by a device purchased abroad within the period established by law, which is 30 days.
By failing to solve the problem of the Apple smartphone acquired abroad, but also marketed in Brazil, the company incorporated in this country as a distributor and provider of technical assistance services for Apple products, disrespected Article 18 of the Consumer Protection and Defense Code. (CDC).
In view of the infractions committed by the company, the executive director of Procon-SP, Fernando Capez made the following note: “Apple needs to understand that in Brazil there are solid consumer protection laws and institutions. It needs to respect these laws and these institutions ”.