- BBC World News
A class action lawsuit against Apple has paid off in Chile and paves the way for more such claims in the rest of Latin America.
The technology giant from Cupertino, United States, promised to pay US $ 3.4 million to Chilean users affected by the “planned obsolescence” of several of its iPhone models acquired between 2014 and 2017.
Specifically, some 150,000 iPhone 6, 6 Plus users, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus y SE in Chile they sued the company together.
They alleged that their cell phones began to underperform after the updates to software scheduled by Apple prior to December 21, 2017.
That new software it would have caused faster battery drain or unexpected terminal blackouts.
And also cell phone overheating.
This led them to accuse Apple of having purposely shortened the life of some products to force users to replace their phones sooner than necessary.
The agreement in Chile provides for a registration period for affected customers, who must prove the poor performance of their devicessaid the lawyer for the consumer body, Odecu, Juan Sebastián Reyes, in a statement collected by the AFP agency.
Each customer can get a maximum compensation of US $ 50, which will decrease if there is more than one serial number claim, as in the case of second-hand phones that have had more than one owner.
“The final payment amount (per user) will be calculated after registration formal of the beneficiaries, and may reach up to that amount per team involved “, specified Odecu on its website.
How can you claim?
The Chilean consumer association explains that it only takes complete a form with the personal data and write the serial number (or IMEI) of the iPhone.
“The enrollment begins August 15 and ends on November 15, 2021. This is an estimated date, since there are still some milestones to be able to assign certain dates for this stage of the agreement, “said the organization.
What happened to those Apple cell phones?
At the end of 2017, the company led by Tom Cook, acknowledged that it was indeed deliberately slowing down their phones as they got “old”.
He argued that it was doing this because battery performance naturally declines over time and that with blackouts, for example, it was protecting the iPhone and extending its life.
“Lithium-ion batteries become less able to meet power demands in low temperatures, when they have low battery power, or when they age, which can cause the device to turn off unexpectedly. to protect your electronic components“, the company explained then.
But many consumers who saw the performance of their phones decrease they decided to initiate class action lawsuits, like the one in Chile, taking the problem to court.
Why do lithium batteries deteriorate?
Lithium batteries degrade over time because of what happens during the charge and discharge cycle.
During those two events, the lithium ions move through the material that makes up the battery.
Some studies with electron microscopes revealed that each time the ions migrate, they cause small changes in the physical structure of that electrolyte (a substance that conducts electrical current).
The effect is “like rust that creeps unevenly through steel,” according to a scientist who has studied the phenomenon.
The changes erode the material, which can then hold less charge and can hamper your ability to provide a constant power supply.
Higher voltages cause erosion to occur more quickly, as do higher temperatures.
Although this demand is the first of its kind in Latin AmericaApple has already faced heavy outlays in the United States and France, and to a lesser extent in Italy.
In March 2020, Apple agreed to pay up to US$ 500 million to settle a class action lawsuit over slowed iPhones in America.
It was followed by another in November of that same year by other US$113 million to resolve a dispute with more than 30 US states on the same problem, recalls AFP.
The company also settled a case with the French consumer watchdog for nearly $ 30 million. for failing to inform iPhone users that updates to software could slow down older devices.
Italy, for its part, has fined Apple and Samsung with almost US $ 12 and almost US $ 6 millions respectively by planned obsolescence of smartphones.
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