MILLIONS of British iPhone owners could get a cut from an £853 million lawsuit alleging Apple deliberately slowed down devices to hide a battery fault.
Consumer advocate Justin Gutmann, who has taken Apple to court, claims the company failed to inform users that software updates would affect their device’s performance.
In this way, Apple can encourage consumers to upgrade to a newer model and avoid any battery-related setbacks, Gutmann claims.
This is a practice known as “throttling.”
The Competition Appeal Court ruled yesterday that Gutmann’s “Batterygate” lawsuit can be moved to full proceedings.
Apple tried to fight off the serious lawsuit but ultimately lost its bid.
The court said Gutmann’s lawsuit must be affirmed to stand but that there was a “lack of clarity and specificity” in the case.
According to Gutmann, Apple exploited its market dominance to deceive 23.8 million British customers by “throttling” seven different iPhone models.
Apple has always denied the claims.
Gutmann said last year he hoped to get £768m out of Apple through the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT).
But that pool of compensation money has grown to £853 million.
UK consumers who may be eligible owned the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, SE, 7 or 7 Plus models around 2016.
Gutmann’s case claims that starting in late 2016, many users experienced unexpected failures on their iPhones as processing demands caused the battery to run out.
In a statement, Gutmann said: “I am pleased that the Competition Appeal Tribunal has agreed to our ground-breaking claim to initiate a full process.”
“This paves the way for millions of consumers who have had to pay for battery replacements or new phone models to receive the compensation they deserve.”
“Facing a $2.3 trillion company like Apple is no easy challenge.
“The company has immense resources to defend its anti-competitive practices.
“However, today brings us one step closer to leveling the playing field and holding one of the largest and most powerful companies in the world accountable for its actions.”
The British ruling comes just months after Apple agreed to settle a similar class action lawsuit in the US for up to $500 million (£412 million).
Read more on the Irish Sun
In 2020, the company agreed to resolve regulators’ allegations that it slowed down older iPhones for $113 million (£92.7 million).
And in France, the company was fined €25m (£21.8m) by the consumer watchdog for failing to tell consumers that updating the iPhone’s operating system would affect the performance of older devices.
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