A Brazilian consumer protection regulator has imposed a two million dollar fine to American tech company Apple. The fine, which is about 10,5 million in the local currency, was in light of the failure to include the charger inside the latest 5G-enabled iPhone 12 mini, 12, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max.
Additionally, the fine was applied on three different accounts; “for misleading advertising, selling a device without the charger and unfair terms.”
Procon-SP, the Brazilian consumer protection regulator, accused the company of failing to demonstrate environmental gains, which were provided as the main reason for not including the charger out-of-the-box.
The regulator also said the company didn’t respond to a request on whether it would reduce the latest iPhones’ retail price over the lack of a charger.
Last October, Apple unveiled four models of its latest iPhone 12 series with 5G support, a first for the company. The removal of the charging brick was also another first, which the company said was to help reduce environmental impact. It also nixed the Earbuds on similar grounds.
The company said the move would reduce iPhones packaging box in size and mass, allowing 70 per cent more packages to be shipped on a single pallet.
Apple estimates that the move would help cut over 2 million metric tons of carbon emissions annually, which, according to the company, equates to removing nearly 450,000 cars from the road per year.
While that move was commendable by some, sustainability experts were sceptical. And many things need to be done before the smartphone industry is considered environmental-friendly, which trumps axing the charger and selling them separately (which literally is what Apple and Samsung are doing as of now for their high-end phones).
Other accusation involved user “problems with some functions” that the company failed to address after a software update. Misleading advertising involved the company’s last-gen iPhone 11 Pro, where Apple refused to repair some user devices damaged by water despite water resistance rating.
And finally, Apple’s terms and conditions were considered unfair to consumers for exempting itself from all legal and implicit guarantees and against hidden or not apparent defects.
Of course, the $2million fine isn’t much of an issue to a company of Apple’s size. In its first-quarter results released in January, the company posted record revenue of $111.4 billion, up 21 per cent year over year.