Consumer Leads the Charge

Charging up a class action

An Apple consumer in Illinois has accused the company of misleading customers and providing a product that is not complete or sustainable for proper use. According to her complaint, plaintiff Elizabeth Steines alleges that as far back as last year, Apple sold its iPhones without chargers. Although there is printing that indicates the absence of the charger, the unit packaging may not necessarily illustrate an obvious warning that the iPhone Lightning Cable and power adapter are sold separately. The plaintiff is seeking punitive and compensatory damages on behalf of herself and additional claimants.

Naturally, consumers who purchase a new iPhone may assume that the item that they are purchasing includes the specific devices required for continual use. If the charger is not included, however, it may be further presumed that the total iPhone package should cost less money. Despite this rationale, the new iPhones have actually increased in price from previous models and now include a caveat of needing to spend even more money to separately purchase the charger. The plaintiff has also posed the question of justification for the increase in iPhone price. If the functionality is compromised by the absence of a charger, the answer to that question is unclear.

Among the accusations against Apple, the plaintiff is highlighting fraud and misrepresentation, as well as breach of contract and violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. In response to the lawsuit, Apple is adamant that the decision to remove the charger from the iPhone purchase is rooted in environmental reasoning. The plaintiff challenges Apple, and contends that the company’s efforts to safeguard the environment did not have to create an inconvenience for consumers. Instead, Apple allegedly misled customers and provided an inadequate warning of the steps required to ensure long-term use.