Apple made the bold decision to stop packaging its new iPhones with a power adapter and EarPods this year. But while you might think Apple’s within its rights to control the accessories that its handsets come with, not everyone agrees.
In Brazil, the state of São Paulo has reportedly decreed that doing so is a violation of consumer rights. The announcement was made by Procon-SP, a public consumer protection agency in São Paulo.
A translated announcement of the decision reads, in part, as follows:
“Procon-SP understands that, when buying a new device, the consumer has the expectation that not only will the iPhone present better performance, but also the power adapter (charging the device faster and safer); remembering that the device is an essential part for the use of the product.
Apple does not demonstrate in its response that the use of old adapters cannot compromise the charging process and safety of the procedure, nor that the use of third-party chargers will not be used as a refusal to repair the product during the legal or contractual warranty.
In addition, because it is a significant and profound change in the way the product is marketed, since the smartphone is usually sold with the charger, the obligation to inform the consumer about this change is enhanced – which did not happen, in the analysis of the Procon-SP.”
Apple’s environmental argument
Apple, for its part, has argued that not packing the new iPhones with EarPods and a power adapter could have a substantial environment positive impact. That’s partly because of the reduced e-waste associated with manufacturing the accessories. But it also means that Apple can shrink the size and weight of the iPhone box. This reduces shipping costs and the associated environmental impact. (Of course, there’s also a bottom line-related benefit in the fact that it will likely boost accessory sales.)
Procon-SP acknowledges Apple’s environmental claims. But it says that Apple’s claims about reduced carbon emissions and electronic waste have not been properly demonstrated. The report notes that Apple’s conduct will be reviewed by a supervisory board. If violations of the law are found, it could be fined under the Consumer Protection and Defense Code.
Apple has faced a similar issue in France. In that case, it concerned the lack of EarPods supplied with the iPhone. As a result, France is currently the only country in the world where the iPhone 12 comes packaged with earbuds.