Apple $12M Fine: Why Apple Misled Consumers About iPhone’s Water-Resistant Feature?

  • AUTHOR: anam
  • POSTED ON: December 3, 2020

Apple fined $12M by Italy!

We’ve all seen Apple’s captivating commercials for its iPhones and other devices. It’s safe to say that the tech giant’s spot-on advertising and marketing has helped it build a loyal consumer base.

What we never thought would happen, though, was that these mesmerizing ads would get Apple into trouble.

Unfortunately, this is exactly what has happened!

The Italian antitrust authority has slammed the tech company with a £10 million fine; this is equivalent to $12M fine. The regulator claims that the company has employed improper business practices and has allegedly misled consumers into thinking that the iPhones are water-resistant through its marketing and commercials.

The Details for the Case
of Misleading iPhone Waterproofing

image credit: Archynewsy

What Apple is being charged for, specifically, is for making deceptive claims in marketing campaigns about how deep and for how long the iPhone can be submerged into the water without sustaining any damages.

In advertisements material for iPhone 8 to iPhone 11 Pro Max and all the models that come in between, the company showed the phones would work just fine after being in the water at a depth of one to four meters for over 30 minutes. However, this varies for all the different models.

The problem that the Italian government or competition authorities found here was that Apple didn’t mention that its claims for the phones being water-resistant are only true under certain conditions. For instance, the iPhones are water-resistant only if the water is static and pure and the test is done in a controlled laboratory. These artificial conditions can’t be achieved in real life and, should the consumers conduct this test in normal conditions; they’ll have a dead iPhone on their hands and a big hole in their bank account.

Moreover, the Competition and Market Guarantor Authority (AGCM) states that the company’s warranty support doesn’t cover water damage, and for something that’s so heavily advertised, this is very misleading.

Apple’s refusal to cover liquid damages breaks Italy’s current Consumer Code, classifying the company’s actions as ‘aggressive commercial practices’ and ‘coercion or undue influence.’

Besides paying £10 million, Apple is also required to publish accurate information on its web pages. Even though the company hasn’t made an official comment about this case yet, it has mentioned all the water-resistance details on its websites.

All The Times Apple Has Been Sued
and Apple Business Has Been Impacted.

This isn’t the first time the tech giant has had to face legal issues due to a false claim or misled customers; the multinational has had to deal with many lawsuits over the years after its inception.

Slowed Down iPhones

It was just a few years ago that France’s competition authority fined the company for £25 million, which is approximately $27 million, on allegations that Apple deliberately slowed down the performance of its older devices and didn’t inform the consumers. In its defense, the company said that it did that to preserve its phones’ batteries; otherwise, they would have shut down abruptly.

To make up to its consumers, Apple reduced the cost of buying a new phone to just $29 for those who had suffered inconvenience.

Nokia Sued Apple

image credit: CNBC

Claiming that Apple had used a technology that Nokia had invented without paying for it, Nokia sued Apple in 2009. The case turned interesting when Apple countersued, stating that Nokia had done the same with 13 of its technologies.

After this, the veteran mobile company Nokia reached out to the U.S International Trade Commission to file a complaint against Apple. To sort everything out and settle the issue, Apple paid Nokia and bought licenses.

Chinese Company Trademark Suit

A Chinese company called Proview Electronics filed a lawsuit against Apple, claiming that the tech giant infringed on their trademark using the word ‘iPad.’ Proview claimed that while Apple had bought the trademark for them, they neglected to pay for the word when written in the Chinese language. Apple ended up paying $60 million to the company to settle the lawsuit.

Apple Corps Sued Apple

The multimedia corporation, Apple Corps sued Apple for infringing on its trademark; it claimed that the word ‘Apple’ had been associated with music for over 30 years. While the lawsuit was amicably settled, some of Apple’s new features opened the can of worms once again by violating earlier agreements.

image credit: Bloomberg

Finally, in 2007, both companies reach an agreement that the tech company would trademark the word Apple and Apple Corps would get the license fee that it deserves.

FBI and Apple

To access the password-protected phones of terror attack suspects, the FBI asked Apple to write new software. Apple declined this request by saying that this was against its free-speech and privacy policies.

Even after a lot of pressure from different judges, Apple stayed convinced that it was its right to protect its customers’ privacy. Before the company could go to the supreme court, the lawsuit was dropped and the FBI claimed that a third-party company helped them reveal the information.

It seems like Apple has a lot to fix before making any claims and it should start saving the planet than cost only.

Updated December 3, 2020
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