Italian Antitrust Authority Fines Apple $12 Million for Misleading iPhone Water Resistance Claims

Italian Antitrust Authority Fines Apple $12 Million for Misleading iPhone Water Resistance Claims

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The Italian Antitrust Authority has fined Apple $12 million for making misleading claims about iPhone water resistance.

The fine was announced in a press release today. The authority found that Apple failed to inform customers that its water resistance claims were based on laboratory conditions and then refused to repair iPhones with water damage despite advertising water resistance as a feature.

You can read the full notice below...

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The Italian Antitrust Authority fined the companies Apple Distribution International and Apple Italia Srl (hereinafter, Apple) for 10 million euros for two distinct unfair commercial practices.

The first concerns the dissemination of promotional messages of different iPhone models - iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 11, iPhone 11pro and iPhone 11 pro Max - in which it was exalted, for each of the advertised products, the characteristic of being water resistant for a maximum depth varying between 4 meters and 1 meter depending on the model and up to 30 minutes.

According to the Authority, however, the messages did not clarify that this property is found only in the presence of specific conditions, for example during specific and controlled laboratory tests with the use of static and pure water, and not in the normal conditions of use of the devices by consumers.

Furthermore, the contextual indication of the disclaimer "The guarantee does not cover damage caused by liquids", given the emphatic advertising boast of water resistance, was deemed suitable to deceive consumers by not clarifying which type of guarantee it referred to (conventional guarantee or legal guarantee), nor was it deemed capable of adequately contextualizing the conditions and limitations of the assertive claims of water resistance.

The Antitrust also considered it appropriate to integrate an aggressive commercial practice the refusal by Apple, in the post-sale phase, to provide warranty assistance when those iPhone models were damaged due to the introduction of water or other liquids, thus hindering the exercise of the rights recognized to them by the law regarding the guarantee or by the Consumer Code.

For these reasons, the Authority decided to impose sanctions on Apple Distribution International and Apple Italia Srl for a total of € 10 million and ordered the publication of an extract of the provision on the website www.apple.com/it/ , on the page web www.apple.com/it/iphone/, through the link "Consumer protection information".
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Italian Antitrust Authority Fines Apple $12 Million for Misleading iPhone Water Resistance Claims

AW13 - December 2, 2020 at 11:17am
Sadly, I have to agree with the Italian authorities. It isn't fair that Apple promotes the water resistant characteristics of the latest iPhones but won't honour warranty repairs if they detect exposure to water. They even incorporated a way to tell if a phone has water damage which most consumers aren't aware of.
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