Brazil bans Apple from selling iPhones without a charger

While Apple is expected to announce new tech this evening, it’s facing some trouble in Brazil that may make it harder to get devices into the hands of users in the South American nation.

That trouble stems from Apple’s decision to remove the charger from its iPhone packaging. This move, which has been emulated by the likes of Samsung, has now earned Apple a R$12 275 500 (~R40 467 280) fine. More than that, however, the Ministry of Justice and Public Security (MJPS) in Brazil has banned the sale of iPhones without battery chargers.

Perhaps most alarming is that MJPS has told the National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) to cancel registration of the iPhone 12 effectively removing the product from the market.

The removal of chargers from phone packaging is often accompanied by claims that the decision is for the good of the environment. However, MJPS refutes these claims stating that there is no factual data to support the claim that chargers have an adverse effect on the environment.

At this point we need to bizarrely, side with Apple and Samsung. Ewaste is a growing problem and any move to help reduce the amount of technology we throw away is good.

Do we still want a charger in every box? No, but the option to include one – at no additional cost – would be nice. With that having been said, Apple’s faux pas in Brazil are largely due to anti-consumer behaviour from the firm says MJPS.

For one, iPhones didn’t benefit from a discount when the charger was removed and if first time buyers don’t have a charger, they need to spend more money to get one. The MJPS also says that selling an iPhone without the charger makes the product incomplete.

Apple will of course, appeal this decision but will also work with the Brazilian consumer protection agency, Senacon, to resolve concerns.

“We have already won several court rulings in Brazil on this matter and we are confident that our customers are aware of the various options for charging and connecting their devices,” Apple told Reuters.

One final note that gave us a bit of a chuckle at this excerpt from the MJPS statement. Note that this has been translated using Google Translate.

“For Senacon, the arguments presented were not enough, since the company’s decision to sell the devices without a charger ended up transferring the entire burden to the consumer. According to the agency, the manufacturer could take other measures to reduce environmental impact, such as the use of USB-C type connector cables and chargers, currently adopted as standard by the industry,” MJPS wrote.

It’s time to embrace USB Type-C Apple, here’s hoping tonight’s event does just that.


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