It's being reported by The Guardian that Apple has come under pressure to scrap its controversial policy of permanently disabling repaired iPhone 6s when software is upgraded, following a global consumer backlash and claims the company could be acting illegally.
At least one firm of US lawyers (PCVA) said it hopes to bring a class action against the technology giant on behalf of victims whose £500 (US$720) phones have been rendered worthless by an Apple software upgrade.
In the UK, a barrister told the Guardian that Apple's 'reckless' policy of effectively killing people's iPhones following the software upgrade could potentially be viewed as an offence under the Criminal Damage Act 1971. The act makes it an offence to intentionally destroy the property of another.
Thousands of iPhone 6 users found an iOS software upgrade permanently disabled their phone, which was left displaying an "Error 53" code. Nothing could be done to restore it to working order.
Apple has described this as a security feature, but some have suggested the policy could be designed to increase revenues by forcing anyone needing a repair to their home button to pay the £236 the company charges in the UK (roughly US$340). People whose phones have been shut down and have complained at Apple stores have been told that nothing can be done and they must buy a new handset.
Within hours of publication of the Guardian story, the Seattle-based law firm PCVA called for victims to get in touch, with a view to bringing a class action suit.
Consumers have reacted with disbelief and growing anger. "Show me where, in consumer law, the vendor has the right to render inoperable the hardware you just bought," said one poster on the Guardian's website.
PCVA said it believed Apple's stance may violate various consumer protection laws in the US, and is offering to represent victims for free.
About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.