By Kim Gyu-sik and Choi Mira
South Korean consumers will file a class-action lawsuit against Apple Inc. facing a slew of lawsuits in the U.S. and elsewhere after admitting that it slowed down older iPhones through operating system software updates to prevent abrupt shutdown.
The Citizen United for Consumer Sovereignty (CUCS), a consumer activist group in Korea, said Wednesday that it will file a lawsuit with the Seoul Central District Court on Thursday against Apple’s U.S. headquarters and Apple Korea. About 150 iPhone users joining the suit will claim 2.2 million won ($2,055) in damages per person.
The major issue at the heart of the lawsuit would be whether the U.S. tech giant deliberately slowed the performance of iPhones to force consumers to buy the latest models. If Apple loses the case, it could cost the company a fortune especially in countries like the U.S. where punitive damages can be sought. Users of Apple’s older models including iPhone 6, 6S and 7 are arguing that the software updates slowing down their phones cause frequent performance failures in transferring money, shooting photos and listening to music, to name a few.
Apple said in a statement released last month that it “has never, and would never, do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades.” But iPhone users keep arguing that the Apple’s action was intended to boost sales of its newer models. The CUSC said it also prepares additional lawsuits.