Because of missing iPhone power supply: Apple must pay penalty

A man in Brazil was awarded the equivalent of almost 1000 euros by a court because Apple did not supply him with a power adapter. This is standard procedure for the company. atechbook clarifies whether it is also worth suing in Germany.

An incomplete delivery is usually not a big problem. As soon as you notice that a part is missing, you should report it to the seller and have it delivered promptly. The case has been different for Apple since 2020: Since then, the company has deliberately not included a power supply unit and headphones with its iPhones – for the sake of the environment, according to Apple. An iPhone buyer from Goiânia in Brazil was not satisfied with this and filed a complaint. So far, so common. But the story now has an exciting twist that could cost Apple dearly.

1000 euros for buyer in Brazil because of missing power supply unit

The buyer did not agree with having to buy a power supply unit. The Brazilian web portal “TecMundo” currently reports on this. The man sued – and got right. According to the verdict, he is entitled to 5000 reals, the equivalent of around 1000 euros in damages.

The reason for the verdict was apparently given by the company itself. It did so back in 2020, when Apple justified the retention of its accessories – atechbook reported in detail at the time. According to the report, iPhone buyers are mostly repeat offenders and should therefore already have a power adapter. The decision was made primarily for environmental reasons.

Court accuses Apple of tying

A conscious, more economical use of resources may sound noble at first. At the same time, the company saves immensely on costs and thus secures significantly higher profits. The court in Goiânia sees one thing above all else: a “tying transaction”. This means that the conclusion of one transaction, such as an iPhone purchase in this case, requires the conclusion of a second one: the purchase of a separate power supply unit. And that, apparently, can lead to conviction in Brazil.

Also interesting: Users complain about defective iPhone 11 displays – Apple reacts.

The fact that the case happened in Brazil, of all places, is no coincidence, by the way. When the new delivery practice was introduced in 2020, the Brazilian consumer protection agency Procon-SP already condemned Apple to a hefty fine. Could we imagine something similar in Germany?

Is it worth filing a lawsuit in Germany?

The legal situation in Germany is, of course, somewhat different. atechbook therefore asked the Rhineland-Palatinate Consumer Center – and learned that we can save ourselves such a lawsuit.

Maximilian Heitkämper, Head of Digital and Consumer Law, points us to an amendment to the EU directive from 2014. According to this, a so-called Radio Equipment Act regulates that cell phone accessories must be uniform and compatible. “Legally, Apple can thus do without including a power adapter,” the expert says, “but must also ensure that other functioning devices are available in stores.”

Suitable power adapters are sold by Apple itself or also by various third-party suppliers. Thus, the conditions mentioned are fulfilled and the business practice is legal. A lawsuit here therefore has little chance of success.

Also interesting: How iPhones should – and should not – be charged

It could still be expensive for Apple

In Brazil, on the other hand, other iPhone buyers could succeed if they follow the example of the goiânian plaintiff. And if each of them gets 1000 euros, the claims for damages could soon add up to a tidy sum.