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Samsung Fined in Australia for Misleading Water Resistance Claims

by Duey Guison  June 24, 2022

One of the main selling points of the Galaxy S-series (and select A-series) phones from Samsung is that they come with an IP rating, touting water resistance. Things did get awry, however, when the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) filed a court case against Samsung Australia in 2019 for misleading water resistance claims. Fast forward to 2022, the Australian Court ordered Samsung Australia to pay AUD 14 million, or around $9.6 million, in fines for misleading advertisements.

In the press release issued by ACCC, the Galaxy phones that are part of the complaint include the S7, S7 Edge, A5 (2017), A7 (2017), S8, S8 Plus, and Note 8. ACCC argues that around 3.1 combined units were sold in Australia, and stressed that ads for these devices “represented that these Galaxy phones were suitable to be used in pool and seawater.”

An example of the ad the ACCC pointed out as misleading.

 

“We reviewed hundreds of complaints from consumers who reported they experienced issues with their Galaxy phones after it was exposed to water and, in many cases, they reported their Galaxy phone stopped working entirely,” ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said.

The issue encountered with the aforementioned Galaxy phones with an IP rating stemmed down to corrosion in the charging port after it gets exposed to water. Despite the said issue, Samsung Australia still promoted these Galaxy phones to be usable in swimming pools and seawater–even if it can damage the phone, and that water damage is not covered by warranty.

“This penalty is a strong reminder to businesses that all product claims must be substantiated. The ACCC will continue to take enforcement action against businesses that mislead consumers with claims about the nature or benefits of their products,” Cass-Gottlieb said.

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