The Ministry of Justice guided this Thursday (12) that the more than 900 Procons in the country sue Apple and Samsung because of their stance on cell phone chargers. The National Secretary for Consumer Protection calculates that the economic impact of the measure would be in the order of R$ 9 billion to the companies’ coffers. In an exclusive interview with TechTudothe director of the Department of Consumer Protection and Defense, Laura Tirelli, says that the expectation is for consumers to have access to the charger again when they buy a new smartphone.
The matter is far from pacified. It’s been two years that the press reports the removal of the item, considered essential by many customers. Apple maintains the global decision, while Samsung made the component’s free shipping program permanent in Brazil. In the following lines, Tirelli clarifies the main doubts about the orientation of the folder.
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iPhone connected to charger — Photo: Thássius Veloso/TechTudo
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TechTudo – What does this guideline consist of?
Laura Tirelli – Senacon is responsible for coordinating the national policy on consumer relations. This articulation impacts state and municipal Procons when there are indications of violations of consumer rights at the national level.
Why is Senacon acting only now?
The secretariat started monitoring the market in 2020, as news of the removal of the shippers from the packages emerged. We concluded the analysis after the companies expressed their views, in 2020, and initiated an administrative proceeding in December of that year. Samsung in the meantime started a campaign to deliver the chargers and the lawsuit continued against Apple. Now he is in an instruction phase. We still don’t have a final decision.
Meanwhile, the Procons of Fortaleza and São Paulo applied millionaire fines. We are also aware of many court rulings requiring companies to supply chargers. Now the Senacon guides that the Procons also investigate the practice in each state and municipality.
Is there a risk of a legal battle?
It’s unpredictable. We have no way of knowing what will happen. We fulfill our role of guiding pro-consumer bodies.
How did you arrive at this calculation of R$ 9 billion in fines?
The Consumer Defense Code stipulates a ceiling for convictions that reaches approximately R$ 11 million. If half of the Procons started the administrative process and fined the companies, this amount would total.
Users do not usually have direct access to the fines amounts. Why?
The amounts paid by companies go into consumer rights funds. Our measures are not for damage repair. The customer who wants this interest should seek Procon, which will bridge the gap with the company or the Judiciary.
Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus — Photo: Thássius Veloso/TechTudo
THE Samsung in Brazil sends the charger to the customer who performs a registration. Why is she mentioned?
Our current orientation is not to apply a fine, but to start investigating how companies operate. Last week the foreign press reported the possibility of Samsung removing the chargers. You need to find out what’s going on.
Several customers complain about the delay in receiving the free charger from Samsung.
We meet collective demands. Let’s say a Samsung customer complains that the company is giving away the item, but that it takes time and that person needs to buy the charger. As this becomes widespread, we will act. You need to find out what’s going on.
How was the dialogue with the apple?
Negotiations between Apple and Senacon are reserved. The company maintains the environmental defense discourse, but we know that they are profiting from it. iPhone consumers should also have been educated on the environmental point.
What can happen from now on?
We would hope that the companies regularized the situation and that the smartphones returned to have the charger in the box. There is a study being done in Europe on the standardization of chargers for the USB-C format. Apple uses a different technology and even removed the charger. She can’t assume that everyone has a charger or a computer that recharges their device.
See what companies say
“THE apple will not comment at this time.”
“THE Samsung has consistently responded to the demands of consumer protection agencies in relation to its charger policy. The company clarifies that it has made permanent (during the manufacturing period) the free availability of a plug charger for all consumers who purchase the products. Galaxy S21 5G, Galaxy S21 Plus 5G, Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, Galaxy S21 FE 5G, Galaxy S22 5G, Galaxy S22 Plus 5G and Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G, Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G and Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G made in Brazil. Redemption must be carried out respecting the respective rules, which include a period of thirty days from the issuance of the invoice for the respective request.”
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