A Brazilian court on Thursday fined Apple 100 million reais ($19 million) and ruled that battery chargers must come with new iPhones sold in the country.
The Sao Paulo state court ruled against Apple in a lawsuit, filed by the association of borrowers, consumers and taxpayers, that argued that the company commits abusive practices by selling its flagship product without a charger.
Apple said it will appeal the decision.
Previously, the tech firm argued that the practice had the purpose of reducing carbon emissions.
"It is evident that, under the justification of a 'green initiative,' the defendant imposes on the consumer a required purchase of charger adaptors that were previously supplied along with the product,"
said the court's decision.
Sao Paulo consumer protection agency Procon-SP was the first to open an investigation into Apple's practices in late 2020. It announced in March 2021 that its investigation had stalled after Apple had stopped responding to its requests for information. It fined the company R$10.5 million (then $1.9 million) and told it to put the chargers back in the box for the first time.
This year in September, the Ministry of Justice and Security of Brazil fined the company $R12.28 million (about $2.34 million) — again for omitting the charger from the box.
Apple defends its stance by saying that it's friendlier to the environment. Apple executives said on stage during the iPhone 12 announcement that the switch to smaller and lighter packages was predicted to prevent two million tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere each year. It was also meant to reduce the number of unused chargers that become e-waste but analysis after the fact has found that the impact of the change was likely minimal.
Brazil's National Consumer Secretariat says that Apple could employ more effective measures to protect the environment, like replacing the Lightning port with USB-C. Brazil announced a proposal to make USB-C mandatory in all phones starting on July 1, 2024, earlier this year.