The absence of the plug adapter of the iPhone in the box yielded more headaches. An action of Uberaba Proconin partnership with the Procon-MG, resulted in fines and fines of up to R$ 20,000 to stores that sold the cell phone without the accessory. This is a defeat for the manufacturer, which has even had its product suspended by Senacon.
The initiative of consumer protection agencies was reported by the Mobile Time. According to the portal on Friday (21), the Procon of the city of Minas Gerais fined nine of the ten stores visited. In common, they all sold iPhone models, which reach consumers without the charger in the box.
The offensive is the result of customer complaints registered by the agencies since May. However, this is not the first time that Apple has suffered a setback with the decision not to include the accessory. In September, the Ministry of Justice and Public Security through Senacon banned the sale of the iPhone in Brazil precisely because of the absence of the plug adapter; the manufacturer, on the other hand, appealed.
But there is a difference between the two cases: while Senacon penalized Apple, the performance of Procon in Uberaba (MG) and Procon-MG targets stores that sell cell phones. And then the question arises: is this possible?
Procon fines stores for selling iPhone without charger
O technoblog contacted experts to ask questions about the case. According to the lawyer specializing in consumer law, Bruno Boris, the sanction is aimed at Apple. Procons, however, have the legitimacy to determine that shopkeepers stop selling the product.
“Procon can act and punish those who resell [o iPhone] on behalf of Apple”, said Victor Hugo Pereira Gonçalvez, president of Instituto Sigilo. “So, Procon can fine the stores, because they are acting jointly and severally with Apple itself”.
The founding partner of Poliszezuk Advogados, Marcos Poliszezuk, follows a similar line. For him, Procon “not only can, but must” act. The lawyer recalled the Senacon process that suspended the sale of iPhones in Brazil. The action also determined the imposition of a fine of R$ 12.2 million to Apple.
The order pointed out that the sale without the accessory configures a “tied sale”, because, to use the cell phone, it is necessary to have the plug adapter. In addition, the decision is still supported by other typifications: “sale of an incomplete product or without essential functionality”, “refusal to sell a complete product due to discrimination against the consumer” and “transfer of responsibilities to third parties”.
And what is the role of stores in the midst of all this?
Indeed, it is a nuisance to buy a cell phone and be taken by surprise. This happened with my iPhone 13: I already had Lightning cables with a USB-A tip. The box, however, brought a wire with the USB-C connector. That is, if I didn’t go home after the purchase, I wouldn’t be able to use the smartphone because I wouldn’t have a compatible charger.
No wonder, lawyer Bruno Boris notes that the merchant must inform that the product is marketed without the charger. After all, selling the smartphone with the plug adapter has always been a market practice. And evading this rule forces the supplier to be transparent so that everyone is aware.
“I personally understand that Apple can sell the device without the charger, with some discount to the consumer, for example, leaving the option of purchasing the product with or without the charger up to the consumer,” he said. “However, due to administrative and judicial decisions, this clear communication to the consumer and to the consumer protection and defense agencies seems to have been insufficient or presented some noise.”
Marcos Poliszezuk stressed that the duty of information is fundamental in the commercialization of these products. “It turns out that some reseller companies have filed legal measures to question the validity of the rule, whether it would apply only to Apple or also to its resellers, and injunctions were granted authorizing the marketing of these products by resellers”, he said.
With information: Mobile Time