The sleek new iPhone 7 may draw some pretty profits for Apple, but it may also drag a lawsuit along as upgraders are getting angrier about the company's preorder system.
More specifically, iPhone upgraders filed a lawsuit against Apple for prioritizing new customers over existing ones. Disgruntled Apple fans claim that the company is handling the new orders first and postponing those from Apple Upgrade Program members looking to trade in their older iPhone to get the latest iteration.
"While scores of customers signed up for the program and were ready to take advantage of the every-year upgrade with the release of the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, Apple had a different plan in mind," the lawsuit alleges [pdf]. "It allowed non-iPhone Upgrade Program customers to snap up the limited inventory of the new devices while telling countless iPhone Upgrade Program customers to 'check back later.'"
For those unfamiliar with the system, Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program allows members to get new iPhones in monthly installments spread over 24 months, with the possibility to upgrade every year if they so prefer. Those in the iPhone Upgrade Program should be able to preorder the new iPhone 7 and Apple confirmed as much, but the company failed to be transparent regarding how it would be handling and prioritizing preorders.
Seeing themselves left behind while Apple lets new fans cut in front of the line, loyal iPhone users looking to upgrade are now seeking to sue Apple and obtain an injunction, as well as damages.
The lawsuit was filed Monday, Sept. 12 in a North California U.S. District Court, on behalf of Emil Frank and other iPhone Upgrade Program members. According to the complaint, iPhone upgraders are not only left waiting now for the chance to buy the iPhone 7, but the situation would affect them in the long run as well. Under the iPhone Upgrade Program, if they get the iPhone 7 late this year, they would have to wait longer next year for the iPhone 8 too, unless they want to pay extra.
In addition to the injunction and damages, the lawsuit also aims to require Apple to make its entire iPhone 7 inventory available to members of its iPhone Upgrade Program.
At the same time, the lawsuit seeks to obtain reimbursements for any additional expenses upgrade program customers may face while waiting for the new iPhone. Lastly, Apple should also ensure that upgraders get the chance to upgrade to next year's iPhone iteration in September, even if it takes them longer now to get their hands on the iPhone 7.
Apple made no comments regarding this matter so far, but it will be interesting to see how the company handles this situation to appease disgruntled customers.