Samsung sued in Australia by consumer regulator over misleading ads
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Samsung sued in Australia for misleading ads that exaggerated the water resistance capacity of its Galaxy phones. If proven, the company will have to pay a fine of up to AUS $10 million per breach.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) – the consumer protection regulator in Australia has sued Samsung for misleading consumers by exaggerating its phones’ water-resistance capacity. Since 2016, the Korean phone company has released several ads that showed its Galaxy phones being used while swimming in pools.

In its statement, the ACCC said, “Samsung touted its devices as being water resistant up to 1.5 meters deep for 30 minutes, and showed them being used in oceans and swimming pools.” The world’s largest smartphone maker did not know or sufficiently test the effects of pool or saltwater exposure on its phones when ads showed them fully submerged,” ACCC added.

Samsung sued in Australia

Samsung ad showing a user using his phone underwater.

The suit centers around more than 300 advertisements on television, radio, social media, and online ads. It covers 15 Galaxy models and includes flagship Galaxy phones like the Note 7, the A8, and the latest Samsung 7s Edge and S10 series.

The Samsung water resistant ads showed the Galaxy phones being used at the bottom of swimming pools, submerged in a fish tank, and even under a tap. However, the official website description for the S10 stated ‘not advised for beach or pool use.’ The problem as noted by the ACCC is that Samsung made such exaggerated claims without testing how the exposure to water affected the phones’ health.

Additionally, even after releasing the Samsung water resistant ads, the Galaxy phones’ IP68 certification (works at depths of up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes or less) only applies to fresh water.

When users with water-damaged Galaxy phones went for repairs, the company refused to honor warranties on some of its Galaxy phones, thus further undermining its advertising claim.

“Samsung’s advertisements, we believe, denied consumers an informed choice and gave Samsung an unfair competitive advantage,” said ACCC. "Samsung showed the Galaxy phones used in situations they shouldn't be to attract customers." The company has been in hot water since 2016 for its false claims when the US magazine ‘Consumer Reports’ said that the Galaxy S7 phone had failed an immersion test.

If the alleged law breach is proved, each breach after 1st September 2018 could attract a fine of up to AUS $10 million.

After Samsung was sued in Australia, the company gave a statement that it stands by its marketing and advertising of the water resistance capacity of its smartphones.

"We are also confident that we provide customers with free-of-charge remedies in a manner consistent with Samsung's obligations under its manufacturer warranty and the Australian Consumer Law. Customer satisfaction is a top priority for Samsung and we are committed to acting in the best interest of our customers."

The company made many claims of its water-resistance and didn’t think to test their phones. When claimed to be the best in the class, the company ran away saying that its claims were based on what its competition was doing.

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