Apple Not Liable To Find Your Lost iPhone, Even If You Have Theft Insurance: Supreme Court

Sheetal Bhalerao

Sheetal Bhalerao

Feb 22, 2024

“Apple India is not obligated to track stolen iPhones using their unique identity numbers,” said the Supreme Court of India in a ruling recently.

Apple Not Liable To Find Your Lost iPhone, Even If You Have Theft Insurance: Supreme Court

Lost iPhone Is Not Apple’s Responsibility

This decision seems to overturn an earlier directive by the Odisha State Consumer Commission, which had placed this responsibility on Apple, a media report highlighted.

The story started when a consumer in Odisha had purchased an iPhone with theft insurance.

 Lateron he  reported it stolen to both the police and Apple India, as per the report.

The report mentioned that the consumer expected Apple to take action and track the device.

However, Apple wasn’t obligated to do that.

So, the Apple user filed a complaint which resulted in a District Consumer Forum ruling in their favor. 

In response Apple again appealed the District Consumer Forum’s decision.

Further, the Consumer Forum stated that, as the manufacturer, Apple was obligated to use the phone’s unique identifier to track its location in its ruling.

In response Apple argued against being forced to act as a law enforcement agency and went ahead and appealed to the Supreme Court.

Not A Law Enforcing Agency For Recovering Lost Products

While acknowledging Apple’s compensation

to the consumer, the Supreme Court ultimately gave orders in the company’s favor.

Further stating that requiring them to track stolen phones was an “unwarranted observation” and not a part of their responsibility. 

Moreover, the apex court ordered the removal of the

 contentious paragraph from the State Commission’s order, hence clarifying the limits of corporations’ obligations in such situations.

During this hearing, a bench of Justices Vikram Nath and Satish Chandra Sharma allowed a plea by the mobile phone maker.

They said, “ if such observations or directions are continued to remain, the petitioner-company would become a law enforcing agency of recovering lost products marketed by it.”

According to the counsel which represents Apple India Private Ltd, submitted that the respondent-complainant has been suitably compensated.

Adding, the grievance which still remained with the company is with regard to the paragraph by the state commission. 

​​The commission said it was the duty of the company to take proper steps to trace the stolen mobile and the company failed to take immediate steps even after receipt of relevant documents from the complainant.

Adding, “This amounts to a deficiency of service. It was the responsibility of the company to trace the stolen iPhone with the help of a unique identity number provided by it specifically for the purpose of stealing, missing and damage caused to iPhone.” 

Sheetal Bhalerao
Sheetal Bhalerao
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