Australia: Samsung to pay $9.7 mln fine over false water-resistance claims

The local branch of Samsung Electronics was sentenced by a court to pay a A$14 million ($9.65 million) fine for nine false ads touting a water-resistance feature in certain of its smartphones, according to Australia’s competition watchdog.

According to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), Samsung Australia acknowledged deceiving customers regarding the degree of water resistance in several of its “Galaxy” phones. In July 2019, the regulator filed a lawsuit against the business.

This was not a problem in Samsung Australia’s more recent, current models, the company claimed in a statement.

According to the regulator, the business advertised on social media and in-store displays between March 2016 and October 2018 that the phones could be used in swimming pools or the ocean.

However, the ACCC received hundreds of complaints from consumers who claimed that after being exposed to water, their cellphones stopped operating altogether or just stopped working well.

It is said “promoted one of these Galaxy phones’ key selling points. Before deciding to buy a new phone, many customers who bought a Galaxy phone may have been exposed to the deceptive advertisements, “said Gina Cass-Gottlieb, chair of the ACCC.

Samsung and the ACCC came to an understanding that newer smartphone models introduced in Australia starting in March 2018 did not present the same hazards from water exposure.

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