Apple is suing a former recycling partner: The company, which should have dismantled old devices, is said to have resold around 100,000 devices at a profit instead of recycling them. Apple is now demanding $ 23 million in damages for the iPhones, iPads and Watches that were illegally brought into circulation again.

Apple vs. Quantum Lifecycle Partners

Sustainability is actually very important at Apple: It is an important part of the IT giant’s policy to take back old devices, after which they should be professionally dismantled and the materials contained should be recycled as far as possible, as the company promises. In order to achieve this, Apple has been working with various partner companies for years.

One of these partners is now on trial, as The Logic reports: Apple is suing Quantum Lifecycle Partners for around 23 million US dollars in damages because the independent company GEEP Canada, which has now been incorporated into the first company, has over 100,000 iPhones, iPads and Watches that were actually intended for dismantling are said to have continued to buy.

Apple sent more than 500,000 devices there between January 2015 and December 2017, but at least 103,845 of these are said to have been sold to new owners instead of recycling them according to the contractual agreement.

The resale of old devices, provided they are still fully usable, is also one of the company’s business areas. The whole thing was exposed during an inspection when it was discovered that 18 percent of the devices sent in, which should have been destroyed by now, were still connected to the Internet via a SIM card. The actual proportion is likely be even higher.

Company defends itself: “it’s employees’ fault”

The defendant GEEP admits that the devices were resold, but rejects any guilt. The blame is put on three employees who are said to have stolen and sold the cell phones, tablets and smartwatches on their own initiative.

They now want to involve them in the process by filing a lawsuit against a third party. However, Apple does not believe this representation and assumes that these employees are leading managers and therefore the company must be liable.

According to Apple, it is risky to resell non-certified old devices. Products are only sent for recycling if they no longer meet the requirements for sale to consumers.

Especially if you renew them with non-original parts, there is a risk of dangerous defects in the battery or electronics.

Delayed process

It is interesting that the matter is only now becoming public: Apple has known about the sale of the devices since 2017 and has not worked with GEEP or Quantum Lifecycles since 2018.

Nevertheless, the lawsuit was only brought in January this year. It is quite possible that the corona crisis delayed the process.