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HOP files suit against Apple for planned obsolescence

January 9, 2018

Following recent revelations by several media that the iPhone 6, 6S, SE and 7 are slowing down after updating the latest operating system, the HOP / Halte a l'obsolescence programmée association has filed a complaint against Apple on the basis of the crime of obsolescence scheduled.

With this complaint, France is the third country (after the United States and Israel) in which the Cupertino company is questioned for planned obsolescence. But unlike these two countries, France has made it a crime. The law on the energy transition of 2015 prohibits "the practice of planned obsolescence, which is defined by the use of techniques by which the person responsible for the marketing of a product aims to deliberately reduce the duration to increase the replacement rate ". The complaint is therefore criminal; the law provides for a maximum sentence of two years in prison, 300,000 euros fine and 5% of the annual turnover.

In its complaint, the association HOP (Stop Obsolescence Programmed) demonstrates on the one hand that Apple closes its old models of iPhone by means of an update of the operating system, and emphasizes on the other hand that this update takes place at the very moment of the release of the iPhone 8. The slowdown of older devices seems to have the deliberate intention of pushing Apple customers to purchase the new model.

According to Laetitia Vasseur , co-founder and general delegate of the association HOP: Everything is orchestrated to force consumers to renew their smartphones. However, at more than € 1,200 the phone, more than a SMIC, these practices are unacceptable and can not go unpunished. It is our mission to defend consumers and the environment against this waste organized by Apple .

Me Émile Meunier , the lawyer of the association, says: It has been several years that slowdowns are noted by Apple customers just at the time of the release of a new model. But this time, experts have demonstrated technically and Apple had no choice but to recognize it. Why this silence all these years? Why this slowdown at the time of the release of the new model? Why this phenomenon is not encountered at other manufacturers such as Samsung? These are the questions that the criminal investigation will answer , the lawyer hopes.

READ COMPLAINT

The association is not at his first attempt. It is behind the first obsolete complaint against printer brands , especially Epson (but Canon, HP and Brother are also targeted). The case is under investigation.

According to the association HOP, solutions could be implemented to avoid the planned obsolescence of smartphones. Heard by the Senate in 2017, she pleaded for more transparency and for the reversibility of software updates. It also requires the removable batteries.

In addition, several solutions can help consumers extend the life of phones: learn about repairability (thanks to IfixIt ratings), buy more durable brands (Fairphone, for example), repair cheaply through Repair Cafés, repairers or online tutorials (with SOSAV, in particular) or repackage its old device (with Back Market for example).

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