Los Angeles, CA: Apple is facing at least nine consumer fraud class action lawsuits following the tech giant’s admission in mid-December, 2017, that it deliberately slowed down certain iPhones, including the iPhone 6. The slowdown was managed through Apple's software updates. Apple claims the software was intended as a fix to deal with degraded lithium-ion batteries that could otherwise suddenly die.
The allegations include Apple’s failure to disclose in a timely fashion, the fact that its software updates deliberately slowed down older-model phones so batteries would last longer. Apple said it released the fix for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE and later extended it to iPhone 7, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Filed in US district courts in California, New York and Illinois, the lawsuits all allege that Apple’s failure to notify customers of the battery issues, and subsequent software slowdowns, led iPhone owners to wrongly conclude they needed to buy newer, more expensive iPhones instead of simply replacing the battery.
Allegations include consumer fraud, unfair business practices and breach of implied contract, specifically, asserting that when people buy iPhones, they do so with the assumption that Apple won't “purposefully interfere with” the phones’ “usage or value.” The lawsuit states Apple did not get iPhone owners’ consent before interfering, through software updates, with the phones’ speed. Another lawsuit claims fraud, false advertising and unjust enrichment.
North Carolina resident Kirk Pedelty, a plaintiff in the Illinois lawsuit, contacted Apple when he noticed his phone slowing down. However, the lawsuit states: "Nobody from Apple customer support suggested that he replace his battery to improve the performance of his iPhone. ... Frustrated by slowdowns and intermittent shutdowns of his iPhone 7, Pedelty purchased an iPhone 8."