Sure, the preloaded software that comes standard on most phones can be something of a nuisance. I can’t count the number of times I’ve tried to delete an app I never use to make space for something much more personally pertinent. But I’ve never gotten annoyed enough to bring a lawsuit against the phone maker.
That is where the Shanghai Consumer Rights Protection Commission and I differ. The Chinese agency is taking Samsung and Oppo to court over the bloatware the companies load on their phones. The Commission claims that the multitude of these apps (44 on a Samsung Galaxy and 71 on an Oppo Find 7a) unreasonably detract from the amount of storage space advertised to consumers.
According to the lawsuit, buyers were not made aware of the preloaded applications that would come standard with their phone. And because there are no instructions on how to remove these apps (another sore subject for the Commission), consumers often face large data usage bills as a result of the unwanted bloatware. With applications like dictionaries, games, online shopping portals, and other unsolicited and often useless items taking up space on phones, the consumer rights agency says many users have complained that their devices were woefully misrepresented before purchase.
Tao Ailian, the secretary general of the commission, told The Shanghai Daily, “The litigation is our latest attempt to safeguard consumers’ rights after other methods failed. We hope it will force other companies in the sector to end the unreasonable, but common, practice of pre-installing apps without telling consumers. This is something that is very much necessary for the healthy development of the whole industry.”
The mobile companies have all of 15 days to respond and provide a defense, and after that, Shanghainese courts will set a hearing date. In a statement, Samsung noted, “We have not yet received the formal complaint” that was filed, but added, “We will thoroughly review the court document and determine an appropriate response.”
Godspeed, Samsung. Godspeed.