Up to 25 million iPhone owners in the U.K. could be the latest beneficiaries of Apple’s ongoing Batterygate woes.
Apple has faced several Batterygate cases in the U.S., following claims that the company deliberately hampered the performance of selected iPhones to improve their battery life. Apple has always denied the claims.
Now, a case is being brought in the U.K. for the first time, potentially leaving Apple facing another costly compensation bill.
The collective claim is being brought by Justin Gutmann, a former head of research at Citizens Advice and Consumer Focus in the U.K. He is applying to the Competition Appeal Tribunal to represent all U.K. owners of the affected iPhones, which include the iPhone 6, 7, 8 and X and their various sub-models, such as the iPhone 6 Plus.
On a website dedicated to the claim, Gutmann claims that “Apple has breached competition law by abusing its dominant position in the relevant iPhone and iOS markets, by selling iPhones with defective batteries that were unable to deliver peak power and pushing automatic iOS updates to iPhones which incorporated a power management tool which slowed down the iPhones and caused performance issues”.
Gutmann is seeking an aggregate award of £768 million, which is just shy of $1 billion. “Any aggregate award of damages will need to be distributed to eligible class members that come forward to claim their share,” the website claims.
However, any iPhone owner thinking of joining the claim will likely face a lengthy wait for compensation, even if the case were to succeed or Apple decided to settle out of court.
The website warns that “disputes of this size generally take a few years to resolve,” and that’s certainly been the case in the U.S., where Apple has already agreed settlements on Batterygate cases, but claimants are yet to receive payouts because of ongoing legal appeals.
Apple agreed to pay $310 million to settle one such case brought in California in March 2021, but there’s still no sign of claimants receiving their payouts, which are estimated to be around $65 each.