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Apple Facing Criminal Claims in France For Slowing Down Older iPhones

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The latest in the number of legal challenges faced by Apple since it admitted last week that it slowed down older iPhones to compensate for poor battery performance, is a complaint filed by French campaign group Halte a l’Obsolescence Programmée association (HOP), which claims that deliberately reducing the performance of older iPhone models is a criminal offence (via The Telegraph).

Apple

Although Apple explained that it does this to prolong life of older devices and prevent them from shutting down unexpectedly, the HOP’s complaint notes the practice is in breach of France’s “planned obsolescence” laws. Companies are not allowed to sell items that are designed to fail over time, according to regulations introduced in 2015. 

According to the HOP, breaching the law could mean jail sentences of up to two years for executives, and fines of up to €300,000 as well as 5% of a company’s turnover.

“It is our mission to defend consumers and the environment against this waste organised by Apple,” said Laetitia Vasseur of the HOP. The company already faces lawsuits in the US and Israel but this is the first attempt at criminal claims. It is up to French prosecutors to decide if the lawsuit is legitimate enough to take forward.

Apple has not yet issued any official statement regarding the matter.

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  • FragilityG4

    Yaaaawn…. imagine what Google and Samsung aren’t telling their clientele!

  • BigCat

    There is certainly a roll and a need for consumer advocacy. Having said that, if the HOP had their way we would still be watching black & white television on a glass tube.

    Supposedly, this whole story was kicked off about 20 days ago by a poster named TeckFire on Reddit. For those that believe in conspiracies the timing was nothing sort of genius. It almost makes you think that Steve Bannon was behind this. Just joking of course.

    It alway seems to be the stories that are most skinny on facts that snowball the greatest.

  • Kirk

    lol ikr??

  • Dansk

    Honestly people are blowing this way out of proportion! Apple acknowledged it and explained their reasoning for it. My only feeling on this matter is that Apple knew about it and should have reduced the battery replacement costs sooner.

  • Bill___A

    It is not “designed to fail over time” it does fail over time because of what it is made of and how it is used. I don’t know what is behind the law, but to say that Apple broke it is absurd. What is the point of this? If Apple loses, will all similarly “failing over time” devices be banned for sale in France? Such as no mobile phones? Where are they going with this? I am displeased with Apple over this thing, but not to the point of being absurd.

  • Ned K.

    It is definitely a crime. Cook is ruining what Jobs built. Good old days, Apple. Now go back to pre-Jobs era. Bye.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    I wrote this elsewhere, but it fits here as well: It’s a non-apology. They “apologized” for “how we have communicated that process” – well, they DIDN’T communicate. AT ALL.

    Most people seem to be missing the point that this is a DESIGN FLAW and NOT a normal process that happens with phones as the battery ages. Other companies such as HTC and Motorola have come out and said they don’t need to slow down their phones since their phones don’t have this DESIGN FLAW. Why are we expected to pay $29 for their error? They advertised their phones to be a certain speed and claimed batteries would not generally need to be replaced. Then they did a sneaky thing. And only now, once they have been caught, they offer a false apology and STILL make their customers pay for THEIR error.

  • It’s Me

    Once again, but not in unintelligible haiku?

  • Dansk

    Oh come on, to say Cook is ruining what Jobs built is ridiculous! Tim Cook has continued where Jobs left off! Tim Cook was Steve Jobs right hand man when he was running the company. Steve Jobs picked Tim Cook for a reason! Also all the same people behind those devices when Steve Jobs was there are the same people behind the devices that are out now.

  • Dansk

    Where has Apple or any company for that matter claimed batteries wouldn’t need to be replaced. This is just another example of someone blowing this way overboard, it’s unknown how widespread this is. The majority of people I know who have an iPhone 6/6s haven’t noticed anything. I can’t see any issue on my iPhone 6s when I tested it. God forbid Apple makes a mistake. They found a flaw, thought they came out with a suitable fix that when testing probably posed little disruption to users. I don’t know about everyone else but I haven’t heard that many people complaining before this was put out on reddit. Honestly flaws happen, its not like they intentionally designed it with a flaw. No matter how Apple handled this the people who are complaining would still be complaining! #firstworldproblems

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    The point isn’t that the batteries would never have to be replaced – but rather that phones from their competitors and even Apple’s previous and subsequent models don’t fail and shut down when the battery gets down to 30 or 40%. As such, those phones don’t need to be “fixed” by slowing them down DURING THE NORMAL LIFESPAN of the phone. A better fix would be a replacement phone that doesn’t need to be slowed down. They obviously finally figured it out and fixed it in the iPhone 8. So why can’t they recall these defective phones and replace them? Other companies have recalls, why can’t Apple?

    Being sneaky and slowing down phones without telling anyone is not a “mistake”. It’s called false advertising since they publicly declared how much faster these phones were than their old ones. Then they changed the speed behind everyone’s backs.

  • Dansk

    Again its being viewed as Apple being this sneaky company trying to hide what they did. Like they said this only affects iPhones with older batteries and felt they had come out with a fix that managed it. Clearly for some it didn’t for the vast majority it probably did hence why nothing was made of this until it was put on reddit and because its Apple it becomes a bigger deal than it really needs to be. I personally don’t see anything wrong with that has been offered. From a PR stand point again because its Apple and how overblown this is they should have offered free battery replacements not a replacement phone. Totally right other companies have recalls and so can Apple. Most likely affected devices would have been affected out of their warranty “a written guarantee, issued to the purchaser of an article by its manufacturer, promising to repair or replace it if necessary within a specified period of time.” Apple has offered a fair solution and price to replace the battery.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    “they should have offered free battery replacements not a replacement phone” The problem is NOT with the battery, it’s with the phone. After you get your $29 battery from Apple, it will happen again. It’s not a solution.

    “its being viewed as Apple being this sneaky company trying to hide what they did.” Because they DID try to hide what they did. Do you think that Apple is not aware that the speed of their phones is a selling point? They talk about the speed of their new phones quite a bit in their keynotes. After proudly showing how many times faster their new phone is than their old one and showing charts and demonstrations, perhaps one could suppose that that they were a little aware that the speed of their phones mattered. Do you really believe they accidentally didn’t tell anyone?

    What if I sold you a blender that had a super high speed setting for chopping ice. And so you bought it over other cheaper blenders that didn’t have such a high speed setting. But then after a few months it stops spinning at that speed and no longer chops ice. You think, that’s weird, it used to work. Must be my imagination. But then you find out in the news that Blendo sent out a secret “update” one night that took away that speed. But they had a good reason – we shipped a substandard motor so we had to do it. And all the Blendo fanboys rejoiced and said, of course! They did us a favour! Who needs to crush ice. We can just by a new Blendo blender anyway. Besides, they apologized and said it was just that they communicated it wrong. That’s all it was. They don’t owe us a new blender that actually does what they advertised at all. We should be happy to PAY for a replacement part that will soon fail too. This is great! Blendo must love us! All hail Blendo and if you complain, well, that’s just a first world problem because Blendo loves us all very much.

  • Dansk

    Do you not read. The main cause of all this is the older batteries, hence the discounted price for battery replacement for out of warranty phones. Your analogy is weak, we’re not talking about a device we purchased a few months ago. You continue with the conspiracy theory that Apple did this just to get people to upgrade. Maybe if you opened your mind up and took it for what it is a flaw that Apple thought they had a suitable fix with VERY little impact on the vast majority of users potentially affected. It didn’t work for everyone and now they have offered a solution for customers who are out of warranty and cover it for those under warranty. Get over it. You aren’t getting a free phone because you aren’t entitled to it.

  • Kuta

    So why did Apple keep denying this until they got caught. Why not just alert the customer to get battery replaced or the give the customer the ability to slow down the phone. Apple was trying to sell new phones. Which was dirty and underhanded

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    “Do you not read. The main cause of all this is the older batteries” Do you not think? Other phones with older batteries do NOT have this problem. That’s the whole point.

    “You continue with the conspiracy theory that Apple did this just to get people to upgrade.” As you say, do you not read? I never said this once and I never implied it. They made a defective phone and they should fix it. You have quite the wild imagination to think this is a conspiracy theory.

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