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Aussie Rules Land Samsung In Hot Water

Examples of Samsung’s advertisements.
10 July 2019
 

Samsung has landed in hot water and in court in Australia for misleading water resistance for its phones in 300 advertisements.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against Samsung Electronics Australia.

Each of the 300 breaches could attract an fine of up to 10 million Australian Dollars. Sony were obliged to settle a similar court action in the US. Mobile phone users should be aware that 'beach use' of their device will invalidate warranties.

 

In Oz

The allegation is the global giant made false, misleading and deceptive representations in advertising the water resistance of various Galaxy branded mobile phones.

Since around February 2016, Samsung has widely advertised on social media, online, TV, billboards, brochures and other media that the Galaxy phones are water resistant and depicted them being used in or exposed to, oceans and swimming pools. Samsung also advertised the Galaxy phones as being water resistant up to 1.5 metres deep for 30 minutes.

The ACCC’s case involves over 300 advertisements. “The ACCC alleges Samsung’s advertisements falsely and misleadingly represented Galaxy phones would be suitable for use in or for exposure to, all types of water, including in ocean water and swimming pools and would not be affected by such exposure to water for the life of the phone, when this was not the case,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

The ACCC claims Samsung did not have a reasonable basis for making the representations because:

  • The company did not test or know of testing (or sufficient testing) about how exposing a Galaxy phone to water (including non-fresh water) affected its usable life.

  • The company knew that using Galaxy phones in liquid other than fresh water could damage them. For example, Samsung’s website states that the new Galaxy S10 phone range is ‘not advised for beach or pool use'.

  • Samsung has denied warranty claims from consumers whose phones were damaged when used in water.

Samsung’s Galaxy phones which were advertised as being water resistant were sold at a higher price than Samsung phones that explicitly were declared no to have this feature.

Samsung has sold more than four million Galaxy branded phones in Australia.

“Samsung itself has acknowledged that water resistance is an important factor influencing Australian consumer decisions when they choose what mobile phone to purchase,” Sims said. “Samsung showed the Galaxy phones used in situations they shouldn’t be to attract customers.”

The ACCC is seeking penalties, consumer redress orders, injunctions, declarations, publication orders, an order as to findings of fact and costs. Phones subject to the ACCC’s case are the S10e, S10, S10 Plus, S9, S9 Plus, S8, S8 Plus, S7, S7 Edge, Note 9, Note 8, Note 7, A8, A7, and A5, manufactured between 2016 and 2019.

Pictures: Examples of Samsung’s advertisements.

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Article written by Brian Shillibeer | Published 10 July 2019

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