Brazil fines Apple $2 million for choosing not to ship chargers with the iPhone 12

mongeese

Posts: 483   +109
Staff member
Why it matters: Apple made waves when they announced that the iPhone 12 would ship without a charging brick to prevent unnecessary electronic waste. It’s since become apparent that the environmental benefits were mostly fanciful, but it’s too late; recent sales figures show that Apple’s customer base wasn’t deterred by the charger’s absence.

Procon-SP, the consumer protection agency of Sao Paulo, Brazil, is biting back at Apple with a R$ 10.5 million ($1.9 million) fine. They haven’t accepted Apple’s justifications for the charger’s removal, and have added it to their list of charges against the Cupertino company.

When Apple confirmed the charger’s removal, they said that the reduction in e-waste and the reduction in emissions caused by the smaller and lighter boxes had a cumulative effect equal to preventing two million tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere. Analysts have since concluded, broadly, that the real benefits were less significant than that, but that the change did increase Apple’s profits by a handsome margin.

Last November, Procon-SP announced that they were investigating Apple’s decision to remove the charger. But midway through their investigation, Apple reportedly stopped responding to requests for information. Procon-SP weren't able to get clear answers to their key queries, which sought to determine if Apple passed on their cost savings to the consumer, and if Apple slowed charger production. Without a response, the agency was forced to reach a guilty verdict.

"Apple needs to understand that in Brazil, there are solid consumer protection laws and institutions. It needs to respect these laws and these institutions."

Parts of the fine are also for misleading advertising, bad customer support, and unfair terms of service. Procon-SP cites Apple’s refusal to repair some iPhone 11 Pros damaged by water, after advertising them as waterproof, as an example of all three.

Apple has the option to contest the fine in court. They'd have good chances if they did. Some of Procon-SP's charges have already fallen flat elsewhere, and because other device manufacturers have started ditching the charger, they could probably pass it off as reasonable.

Image credit: Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

Permalink to story.

 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 4,726   +5,137
I wish Apple would hire me, just so when they get these frivolous lawsuits, I could be the person there to hand shred them in the best industrial shredder money can buy.

I'm actually willing to work for free.
 

envirovore

Posts: 150   +344
TechSpot Elite
"and the reduction in emissions caused by the smaller and lighter boxes"...

...is immediately offset by consumers having to order a charger separately, which arrive in their own boxes, with more packaging waste included in them than there would have been if they just shipped the damn thing with the phone to begin with.

Not an Apple specific dig here either.

Though with nearly every phone now going usb-c, I can see why manufacturers would stop including them and expect users would have a usable charger.
Why not give us the option of buying a set with or without charger? Think of a better reason than packaging waste (which is a totally legit reason, if what you're doing *actually* does result in less waste).
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 1,447   +1,045
What a moronic decision.

Yes people hate Apple because they are the market leaders and charge premium prices. This sort of success always attracts hate, albeit usually from the lowest common denominators among us.

But think about this, this sets a precedent. Now if a company wants to make an environmentally friendly decision they have to do so without let making profit in the process or risk getting fined. Which means basically companies won’t bother.

People need to put the environment above their petty irrational hatred/jealousy of a successful corporation.

Removing the charger is an excellent decision from Apple. The people calling for Apple to reverse it are disgusting human beings.
 

ikesmasher

Posts: 3,100   +1,492
Removing the charger is an excellent decision from Apple. The people calling for Apple to reverse it are disgusting human beings.

I love most of my apple products, but sentiment and talk like this is disgusting in itself.

Apple removed the charger from the box one year after switching to usb-c bricks instead of USB-A. Now theres a ton of extra waste anyway as people switch from usb-a to usb-c, because apple includes a type C cable in the box. There aren't really good name brand A to C adapters for charging, and they wouldnt support fast charging anyway.

And don't get me started on the amount of waste generated from apple refusing to use usb-c on iphones and other accessories. An entire industry of proprietary chargers, adapters, dongles, etc...And now they're doubling down on it with magsafe and their rumored transition to a portless phone.

This was a decision to offset the decrease in profit margin that 5G modems caused and to fit more iphones into a single shipping container, nothing more.

I don't really care about it not including the charger, so I don't have skin in that game, but there are 50 ways apple could make their products generate less waste than the way they did.
 

VitalyT

Posts: 5,491   +5,080
to prevent unnecessary electronic waste
The only waste that we see is Apple's bullshit all over the planet. It comes largely in the form of unnecessary adapters they enforce upon buyers. Production of those creates more than 10 times more electronic waste than an actually useful charging adapter.

They also of course chose to ignore the fact that ordering and getting delivered the the charging adapter separately creates way more pollution than what they save by not including one.
 
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duckofdeath

Posts: 293   +393
What a moronic decision.

Yes people hate Apple because they are the market leaders and charge premium prices. This sort of success always attracts hate, albeit usually from the lowest common denominators among us.

But think about this, this sets a precedent. Now if a company wants to make an environmentally friendly decision they have to do so without let making profit in the process or risk getting fined. Which means basically companies won’t bother.

People need to put the environment above their petty irrational hatred/jealousy of a successful corporation.

Removing the charger is an excellent decision from Apple. The people calling for Apple to reverse it are disgusting human beings.
"Excellent" is a grave exaggeration. Like the comment above said, the environmental damage is significantly offset for everyone buying a charger for a charger-less phone. My 25W charger for my S21 Ultra was delivered separately by a taxi courier, driving all across Dublin.
I can buy the "money saving" argument for consumers if they'd done it like Samsung, by substantially lowering the device price compared to the previous generation phone, while also lowering the price of the suitable charger. Apple RAISED the base price of the iPhone 12. That just reeks of greed.
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 1,447   +1,045
I love most of my apple products, but sentiment and talk like this is disgusting in itself.
I stand by it. If Apples profits or the minor inconvenience of buying your own charger is more important to you than big corporations reducing plastic waste then you are a deplorable person.
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 1,447   +1,045
"Excellent" is a grave exaggeration. Like the comment above said, the environmental damage is significantly offset for everyone buying a charger for a charger-less phone. My 25W charger for my S21 Ultra was delivered separately by a taxi courier, driving all across Dublin.
I can buy the "money saving" argument for consumers if they'd done it like Samsung, by substantially lowering the device price compared to the previous generation phone, while also lowering the price of the suitable charger. Apple RAISED the base price of the iPhone 12. That just reeks of greed.
Why is Apples “greed” important? Are you not able to “buy” the argument that it’s an environmentally friendly decision that Apple profits from? And if so why not? What’s wrong with profiting out of doing a good thing for the environment?...

The fact is when companies can profit from doing environmentally friendly things we will be making massive progress and we may finally start to turn the tide (albeit with companies making billions along the way).

But if the general population has a problem with big companies making profit then we aren’t going to get anywhere. Please put your hatred for capitalism aside when it funds environmentally friendly moves.
 

duckofdeath

Posts: 293   +393
Why is Apples “greed” important? Are you not able to “buy” the argument that it’s an environmentally friendly decision that Apple profits from? And if so why not? What’s wrong with profiting out of doing a good thing for the environment?...

The fact is when companies can profit from doing environmentally friendly things we will be making massive progress and we may finally start to turn the tide (albeit with companies making billions along the way).

But if the general population has a problem with big companies making profit then we aren’t going to get anywhere. Please put your hatred for capitalism aside when it funds environmentally friendly moves.
Because it's fraudulent to sell environmental care purely for profits. If you don't belive me, read the story above.
The fine there is most likely there as a warning to get it official black on white. If they keep it up there will most likely be zeros added to the end or outright sales bans.

Being a "reputable" brand doesn't exempt you from the law.
 

arrowflash

Posts: 326   +337
I have already said it elsewhere, but one thing I find concerning about companies removing chargers, is support for third party chargers.

One of the benefits of manufacturers packing chargers with phones, is the assurance that buyers are getting a quality, certified charger that won't damage the product. Many people will end up purchasing no-brand, low quality third party knockoff chargers that could harm the device's durability or cause accidents (exploding batteries, etc). Will warranty only cover the use of original chargers from the manufacturers (that have to be purchased separately at a premium), or are they going to support any charger?

This is more concerning precisely in countries like Brazil, where many people end up purchasing things like no-brand third party chargers from street stalls and itinerant street vendors who advertise their products in stoplights and public transportation, because it's cheaper.

I stand by it. If Apples profits or the minor inconvenience of buying your own charger is more important to you than big corporations reducing plastic waste then you are a deplorable person.

My god.
 
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Squid Surprise

Posts: 3,918   +2,986
Non-story.... wow, Apple is fined less than $2 million... will it affect ANYTHING? Nope... It would cost Apple far more to fight the charges in court... why bother?

Apple makes more than that every hour....
 

mattferg

Posts: 149   +153
Is anyone in this comment thread living in reality?

Most won’t order a new charger. Most already have one. This decision saved a tonne of emissions.

/thread
 

Hexic

Posts: 935   +1,292
TechSpot Elite
Is anyone in this comment thread living in reality?

Most won’t order a new charger. Most already have one. This decision saved a tonne of emissions.

/thread

Most Apple users that already have a proprietary charger (MASSIVE e-waste for the sole reason of corporate profit for the past 13 years... Thus negating any alleged current environment-friendly PR stunts) that will switch to USB-C in the next 5 years always, thus forcing everyone in the Apple universe to buy more charging hardware anyways?

And if Apple doesn't adapt the USB-C STANDARD of charging/data transfer in the future; then they're causing further environmental harm for the sake of profits. Again.

Once you look at the bigger picture, it's not as noble as Apple's PR will lead you to believe.
 

brucek

Posts: 767   +1,062
TechSpot Elite
This article did not explain what specific law was broken. Does Brazil have a law stating that all electronic devices must come with a power source? If so, Apple clearly broke that law. If not, what is the specific violation?