Since the iPhone 12 series, Apple no longer ships the charging head and wired headphones as standard with the box. Now, the iPad, Apple Watch, etc. have all removed the charging head. The iPhone does not come with a standard charger except for specific markets. Apple’s reason for this is that it needs to protect the environment. However, Apple still produces standalone charging heads for sale, thus this is not entirely about the environment. A judge has ruled that Apple must compensate a Brazilian customer who recently bought an iPhone. The compensation is because the company sold the device without including a charger in the box, violating local consumer laws.
According to Article 39 of the Brazilian Consumer Code (CDC), “bundling” is an abusive and prohibited practice in Brazil. Thus, separate sales of mobile phones and chargers are actually illegal. As a result, Apple lost the case after it sold separate iPhone models and chargers to a consumer in the city of Goiania.
According to the judgement by Judge Vanderlei Caires Pinheiro of the Sixth Civil Court of Goiania, Apple must compensate consumers 5,000 reais ($1,082) for the “bundling” of the company’s devices. In other words, the judge believes that the iPhone without a charging head is an invisible bundle sale. This is because a smartphone is useless without charging it. Apple is inflicting more costs on users by making them spend extra money to buy the original charging head.
Selling a new smartphone without a charger in Brazil is illegal
Last year, Brazil fined Apple $2 million as punishment for violating consumer laws and disrespecting Brazilian customers. The consumer protection agency said Apple violated Brazilian consumer protection laws by not providing a charger in the device’s packaging. Apple’s response is that many customers already have chargers in their homes, which, coupled with the environmental benefits of removing them, also greatly reduces the footprint of the entire iPhone box.
Apple emphasizes that this move is for environmental protection because its survey shows that users often have available charging heads. However, this approach is attracting a lot of criticism. After all, there will definitely be consumers who need charging heads. In addition, there are doubts that Apple’s real purpose is to save costs and even save billions of dollars.
According to further reports, Apple’s defence in court is that the iPhone comes with a C2L data cable. Furthermore, it also claims that the USB Type-C interface chargers abound. Thus, it is not necessary to use the original charger. In addition, Apple reiterates that its approach is environmentally friendly. Nevertheless, the judge did not by any of these.
The outcome of this case is just for one consumer who sued alone and won the case. If more people follow suit in the future, the company may reconsider the standard charger situation in Brazil.