Apple is suing Geep Canada, its former recycling partner, for allegedly stealing and reselling more than 100,000 iPhones, iPads and Watches that it was hired to disassemble. Geep hasn't denied the thefts alleged in Apple's lawsuit but argues they were the work of some dishonest employees without their knowledge. Geep Canada is now a part of Quantum Lifecycle Partners.

Apple always makes a big deal about its commitment to using recycled materials in its devices, and recycling those devices as well. However, the partners it relies on to meet that commitment don't seem to be as dedicated to the cause, which has been hampering Apple's goodwill.

Breaking Apple's Trust

A man looks at the screen of his mobile phone in front of an Apple logo outside its store in Shanghai, China on July 30, 2017.
Apple had sent 531,966 iPhones, 25,673 iPads, and 19,277 Watches to Geep between January 2015 and December 2017 Reuters

Apple has alleged Geep of stealing and reselling at least 103,845 iPhones, iPads and Watches that it was hired to disassemble. "At least 11,766 pounds of Apple devices left Geep's premises without being destroyed, a fact that Geep itself confirmed," reads a portion of Apple's complaint, as reported by The Logic via Apple-focus blog AppleInsider.

Apple had sent 531,966 iPhones, 25,673 iPads, and 19,277 Watches to Geep between January 2015 and December 2017, according to The Logic's report. However, after its audit, Apple discovered 18 percent of those devices were still active on mobile phone networks.

This 18 percent doesn't count Apple devices without a cellular radio. Apple has also claimed the number of stolen devices is likely higher since some iPad and Watch models don't connect to cell networks. Apple is now suing GEEP Canada for the money the resellers made off the devices, plus an addition $31 million Canadian ($A32.5 million).

However, the new company Quantum Lifecycle Partners told The Logic that "the lawsuit is between Geep and Apple and we have no knowledge regarding the details."

Deed of Rogue Employees

iPhone 11
If Apple wins, Geep wants the three "rogue" employees named in its lawsuit to pay the damages and costs Apple.com

Apple has long been working to increase how much it recycles. However, and even as it attempts to move more of that process in house, it still continues to rely on certain partner companies. Recycling is also one of the key efforts Apple cites in its annual environmental report on how it's operating its facilities, and engineering its devices.

Geep not only has broken Apple's trust but has somewhat dented the iPhone maker's goodwill for which it is known. That said, Geep hasn't denied the thefts but has also filed a counter suit claiming that they were conducted by three "rogue" employees without the knowledge of the company.

Apple argues that these employees were in fact senior management at the company. Although the case has come to light only recently, Apple had filed the lawsuit in January 2020, while Geep filed the countersuit in July.

If Apple wins, Geep wants the three employees named in its lawsuit to pay the damages and costs. Geep also said that it suffered "extensive businesses losses" because of the thefts and Apple's terminating of the contract.