This year we have seen quite a lot of corporations being taken to court over consumer rights and user privacy issues, and now it is the turn of Samsung and Oppo.
Both companies have been taken to court over the amount of unwanted applications that some of their smartphone models carry as standard built-in, most of which are uninstallable.
The Shanghai Consumer Rights Protection Commission has decided to take legal action against these companies after a study of 20 Smartphones and their build in applications was made .
The Commission found out that as many as 44 apps were pre-installed on the Samsung SM-N9008S. The Oppo X9007 Smartphone model, had an overwhelming 71 apps build in as standard. A large amount of apps on both these products were not only unnecessary, occupying ram, processor and hard drive space, but also permanent.
The Commission stated that users had no way of completely getting rid of these unwanted apps and were not informed in any way that these programs were a mandatory standard built into the basic OS.
Part of the objective of the legal action taken by the Shanghai CRPC is to force the two manufacturers to list the total number of pre-installed apps on the product packaging. The companies would also have to include clear un-installing instructions for these apps.
However many specialists say that placing lists containing a large numbers of apps on product packaging will only make the packaging look crowded and not offer any real usable information.
In order to clearly list the entire amount of pre-installed apps on the packaging, the companies would be forced to either write the information with very small letters making it almost unreadable or shorten the specifications and just write several app names.
Both solutions will basically provide no more consumer protection than now since most users will find the information difficult to read or not understandable. The only other way would be to increase the packaging size, affecting the delivery and transportation costs.
While the Commissions intentions might be in the best interest of the customer, without a proper dialog with the manufacturer and a long-term solution, the situation will not improve.
The Commission risks creating a “terms and agreements” kind of situation, in which extremely long legal binding agreements are listed of pages and pages thus prompting the consumer not to read them and generating even more lack of information.
The only way the consumer could be properly informed about the product’s features and service terms, would be for the commission to discuss with the producer and find a way of shortening these lists to a readable compressed version wich would serve as an outline of the most important information that the customer should critically know.
Some consumers agree that this shorter version could then be written on the inside of the package enabling the company to use the outside space in order to promote only the most important features of the product.
Commission officials stated that suing the manufacturers was the only solution after all other attempts of protecting the customers’ rights failed. However there was no information presented which would show that the commission attempted to discuss these issues with either Samsung or Oppo.
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