Australian Court Fines Apple $9 Million For Misleading iPhone And iPad Owners
Tech giant, Apple has been fined $9 million by an Australian Federal Court for making false or misleading representation to its customers about their consumer rights. This is one of the highest penalties for a breach of consumer laws, reported ABC.
Investigation Into The Complaints
The court action came after an investigation over complaints of an “error 53” which disabled some iPhone and iPads after users downloaded an operating system update. The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) then took actions against Apple US and its Australian counterpart, Apple Pty Ltd in the Federal Court.
Reportedly, the company has been fined for telling its customers that their devices could not be fixed if a third party had previously repaired it. ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court told The Sydney Morning Herald, “They were being refused a remedy of any kind by Apple on the basis that their device had had unauthorised repairs, and those repairs could be as minor as just having a cracked screen replaced on an iPhone or iPad, which all of us need to do from time to time,”
Australian Consumer Laws
However, the Australian Consumer Laws states otherwise. “Customers and consumers are free to have screens, and other repairs are done on their devices by third-party repairers, so long as that repair doesn’t damage the underlying system of the phone,” added Sarah.
She further said that the Federal Court merely stated the fact that if someone other than Apple had repaired an iPhone or iPad, it could not result in the consumer guarantees ceasing to apply or the consumer’s right to a remedy being extinguished.
Reportedly, Apple has admitted that at least 275 Australian customers had been misled after the US-giant informed them that they were no longer entitled to remedies like a repair or replacement if an unauthorised third party had repaired their device.
Additionally, these representations were made between February 2015 and February 2016 on their US website, in-store and over customer service phone calls as well.
Moreover, it had also been alleged that the company had been giving refurbished units to its customers as replacement devices. Setting the records straight, ACCC said that customers are entitled to new devices if there’s suffer a major failure.
Apple in Australia is going to implement an “outreach program” and compensate about 5000 Apple device owners who have been affected by “error 53.”