A record-breaking lawsuit was filed against Apple's Russian office. The amount of the claim could be the largest during the entire history of the company's presence on the Russian market.
According to the Izvestia newspaper, it goes about tens, if not hundreds of billions of rubles, which Apple may have to pay in compensation for its single-handed decisions to cease imports to Russia and deprive Russian users of a number of functions of their Apple devices.
Should Apple lose the case, which could be possible, as experts acknowledge, its accounts and property in Russia will be seized. In another option, the US-based corporation will have to overturn the earlier imposed restrictions.
The lawsuit against Apple was filed on behalf of the Community Consumer Initiative. This is a non-governmental organization for the protection of consumer rights, which operates on a non-profit basis. Russia's consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor also takes part in the litigation. The agency will subsequently make conclusions on the legitimacy of Apple's actions.
"We are looking forward to this meeting as we receive hundreds of complaints from Russian consumers who already experience a decrease in the operation quality of the devices that they had purchased. Among other things, it goes about the decision to disable Apple Pay, to remove popular apps from the App Store, and other similar actions that the company has made to make the use of its devices more complicated. In addition, the company does not provide post-warranty repairs, and there is a high probability that warranty repairs may soon be terminated too,” Oleg Pavlov, the head of the Public Consumer Initiative, told Izvestia.
According to Pavlov, the goal of the lawsuit is to achieve justice for consumers. Manufacturers have no right to act like that, he said. They are obliged to comply with all their obligations both for after-sales services and for maintaining the declared capabilities of their products. Apple does not abide by these obligations in Russia and acts contrary to the Russian law and its requirements with no legal basis for it at all.
According to SPARK-Interfax, Apple's revenue in Russia amounted to 386 billion rubles (nearly $4.9 billion) in 2021. Net profit of the amount made up 11.5 billion rubles. Russian consumers had their trust in the US-based corporation, but Apple eventually decided to cancel out the Russian consumers.
Lawyers share different points of view regarding the possible outcome of the case. Some believe that the practice, when company's accounts could be seized, is quite rare. Such decisions can be possible in cases of large embezzlement under public contracts. However, Apple has demonstrated unprecedented behavior. The judge may satisfy claim requirements in whole or in part or set a specific date for the company to reinstate the previously blocked services.