Italian regulators have imposed a fine of 10 million euros ($12 million) on Apple for making misleading and unfair claims about the waterproofness of the iPhone.
The Italian antitrust authorities found that Apple committed two things, one of which was more serious than the other…
The fine was imposed by L’Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM), which literally means competition and market guarantee agency. This is the competition regulator, responsible for ensuring that the company treats consumers and competitors fairly.
First, it said that Apple put forward waterproof requirements, but did not show consumers that these requirements are correct only under ideal laboratory conditions, and that the phone did not pass the same test under real conditions.
The first question concerns the marketing of many different models of iPhone – iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 11, iPhone 11pro and iPhone 11 pro Max – each of the advertised products is said to be Depending on the model, the maximum depth is 4 meters to 1 meter. Up to 30 minutes.
However, according to the authority, these messages do not clarify that these claims are only correct under certain conditions, such as during specific and controlled laboratory tests using static and purified water, and not during normal use of equipment The situation is welcomed by consumers.
Second, and more importantly, Apple claimed in its marketing that the iPhone is waterproof, but then rejected the warranty service for mobile phones that suffered water damage.
In addition, in view of the advertising boasting that emphasizes water resistance, the disclaimer “This guarantee does not cover damage caused by liquid” is considered to be likely to deceive consumers by not clarifying the type of guarantee mentioned (regular guarantee or legal guarantee), or Is it considered to be able to fully incorporate the conditions and limitations of waterproof requirements.
Antitrust also believes that it is appropriate to consider Apple’s refusal to honor the warranty for those iPhone models damaged by water or other liquids during the after-sales phase, thus depriving consumers of the warranty or rights in the warranty. Consumer code.
Apple equipped the iPhone with an internal indicator that can show when water enters the device. After activating this indicator, Apple’s policy is to refuse or replace the warranty. This means buyers will be told one thing when buying a phone, and another thing when they need after-sales service.
Apple has been fined 10 million euros and also ordered an announcement on its Italian website through the “Consumer Protection Information” link.
The potential problem opens the way for potential similar rulings in other EU countries, and it is conceivable that now that this issue has been taken seriously, it could lead to class actions in the United States and elsewhere.
Sebit Please note that the ruling cited three Apple advertisements. Apple tends to remove older ads from its YouTube channel, but the site archives its own copy to provide evidence of the original statement.
FTC: We use profitable car affiliate links. More.
Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news: