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Taiwan's Consumers' Foundation deems not providing iPhone charger 'exploitation'

Consumers’ Foundation asks Fair Trade Commission to investigate if prices reflect missing accessories

Taiwan's Consumers' Foundation deems not providing iPhone charger 'exploitation'

(AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Consumers’ Foundation accused Apple of exploiting consumers by not providing chargers to go with new iPhones, saying such a policy is a de facto price increase in a press conference on Monday (Sept. 13).

In a press release, the Consumers’ Foundation said while Apple’s claim that the decision not to include chargers was to protect the environment was not invalid, it also infringes upon consumers’ rights, as chargers are essential to the operation of the iPhone.

“If a phone manufacturer produces a phone but does not include a charger or charging cable, even if consumers purchase a fully functional and well performing high-end smartphone, of course they would not be able to turn on and use the phone normally,” said the Consumers’ Foundation. It added that “It is therefore even more unreasonable to ask consumers to use public or wireless chargers to get power.”

Since Apple stopped including chargers with their iPhone 12 series, new customers who switch from Android must pay an extra NT$590 (US$21.30) to obtain a 20W USB-C power adapter and another NT$590 if they wish to purchase a set of Lightning earphones to enjoy all the functions of the phone. This is a form of double exploitation, according to the Consumers’ Foundation.

As for returning customers upgrading from older versions of iPhone, the foundation said that while they can still charge their new phone with an old 5W charger, they are unable to enjoy the improved charging speed of 50% power in half an hour. Unless they spent the NT$590 on the 20W charger, the fast-charging function is there for nothing.

CNA reported that Consumers’ Foundation Secretary-General Hsu Tse-yu (徐則鈺) said the absence of chargers only leads to consumers having to pay higher prices to use the phone, demonstrating that there has been no reward in value.

Huang Yi-teng (黃怡騰), Consumers’ Foundation Chair, told CNA in an interview that the foundation will ask the National Communications Commission to provide administrative guidance to telecommunication providers so they can offer diversified sales plans. It will also ask the Fair Trade Commission to investigate whether Apple is misusing its status within an oligopolistic market to exploit consumers and if so, to demand the company rectify its policy according to Taiwanese law.