Citizens United for Consumer Sovereignty claims that Apple violated consumer laws because the company did not disclose to consumers that an operating software update would potentially slow down their phones, taking away “an opportunity for consumers to choose.”
CUCS is seeking approximately 2.2 million won ($2,055) per consumer in damages.
This will be the first suit against Apple regarding the battery issue in Korea, following similar lawsuits raised in other countries such as the US, France, Australia and Israel.
In Korea, law firms such as Hannuri and Hwimyung are also preparing suits. The two law firms have gathered more than 350,000 potential plaintiffs online, according to news reports.
The main point of contention in the lawsuit, which has gathered 150 plaintiffs, will be whether Apple’s lack of disclosure was intended to push consumers to upgrade to a newer model of the iPhone.
The iPhone 6 was released in 2014.
After facing global backlash, Apple released an official statement on Dec. 28.
“We have never -- and would never -- do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades,” the company said.
According to Apple’s explanation, the iOS update designed to better manage power use in older iPhones led to some consumers experiencing “longer launch times for apps and other reductions in performance.” The company has promised to release a new update early this year to make battery health more transparent to users.
It is yet unclear how negative consumer sentiment from the current situation will affect Apple’s market position in Korea.
Apple is currently preparing to take on direct offline distribution in Korea with the opening of the first Apple Store in the Garosugil shopping district, which is currently in the last stage of construction. The offline store is expected to partially alleviate Korean Apple users’ complaints about difficulties in receiving repair and after-sale services.
By Won Ho-jung (firstname.lastname@example.org)