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Apple sued in Europe over iPhones that wear out too quickly

An iPhone displays a "disabled" message
Apple Inc. is facing lawsuits in several European countries over misleading claims about the battery life of older iPhones.
(Los Angeles Times)

Apple Inc. is facing lawsuits in several European countries seeking about $217 million over misleading claims about the battery life of older iPhones.

A group of five European consumer organizations filed class-action suits in Belgium and Spain and plans to sue in Italy and Portugal over the coming weeks, Euroconsumers said in an emailed statement Wednesday. The lawsuits concern users of various iPhone 6 devices.

The lawsuits mirror U.S. cases over claims that the company misled consumers about iPhone battery power and software updates that slowed the performance of the devices. The Cupertino, Calif., company last month agreed to pay $113 million to settle a case with multiple U.S. regulators. Meanwhile, customers are seeking approval from a U.S. court for a class-action settlement that could be worth as much as $500 million.

“Consumers are increasingly upset by products wearing out too quickly, the iPhone 6 models being a very concrete example of that,” said Els Bruggeman, head of policy and enforcement at Euroconsumers. “Not only does it cause frustration and financial harm, from an environmental point of view it is also utterly irresponsible.”

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The group sent a cease-and-desist letter to Apple in July, asking it to stop a practice that allegedly forces users to install updates that slow down their phones so much that they become obsolete and a new model is needed.

Apple said in a statement that it would never “do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades.”

The Financial Times previously reported on the European lawsuits.


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