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Tribunal green lights class action against Apple for allegedly throttling older iPhones

Staff Reporter
December 8, 2023

Apple is facing a civil court class action over allegations of UK market abuse claims that it deliberately slowed down the performance of older iPhone models.

The Competition Appeal Tribunal has given the green light for the class action against Apple and its various divisions including Apple Retail UK Limited.

The case has been brought against Appe by former Head of Research and Insight at Citizens Advice Justin Gutmann, an activist in fighting market dominance. He has instructed law firm Charles Lyndon which specialises in consumer class actions against big business.

The claim alleges that Apple violated UK competition laws by exploiting its dominance through practices that caused harm to UK consumers and businesses. Allegations include “forcing iOS updates that strained iPhone batteries, resulting in increased shutdown risks, introducing a ‘throttling’ function causing significant performance drops, and lacking transparent communication about these issues”.

Gutmann, accuses Apple of withholding information about the update’s performance impact and is seeking compensation for reduced device value and potential additional costs incurred by consumers.

Justin Gutmann:accuses Apple of withholding information about the update

“This is excellent news for UK iPhone users, marking a significant step towards consumer justice underscoring Apple’s misleading updates that sidestepped addressing battery issues while deliberately slowing iPhone performance” he said

Apple opposed the action but the Tribunal upheld the collective proceedings order, citing an information disparity between parties. The case will proceed to trial pending further funding for the claimaints and be divided into two parts: the first assessing abuse assuming Apple’s dominance and the second focusing on other issues related to dominance and quantification.

Apple accused of “lack of transparency and exploitation of customer loyalty through iPhone slowdowns”

Charles Lyndon director Dorothea Antzoulatos said she was satisfied with the Tribunal’s decision, and criticised “Apple’s lack of transparency and exploitation of customer loyalty through iPhone slowdowns”

Owners of affected iPhone models (6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, SE, 7, or 7 Plus) may automatically join this collective claim against Apple.

Read the Tribunal’s judgment HERE

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