The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) has forced Apple to pay $9 million citing the US-based tech giant had “misled consumers”.
The ACCC took action against Apple US and its Australian subsidiary for a series of consumer complaints about a fault known as ‘error 53’.
According to the ABC, the error disrupted and disabled both iPhones and iPads following an update to Apple’s iOS system.
Apple then admitted it had “misled” upwards of 275 Australian users, having told them they were not entitled to replacements or repairs once the products had become disabled.
Speaking to the ABC, a consumer regulator said $9 million is one of the highest penalties for a breach of consumer laws.
ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said, “If a product is faulty, customers are legally entitled to a repair or a replacement under the Australian Consumer Law, and sometimes even a refund.
“Apple’s representations led customers to believe they’d be denied a remedy for their faulty device because they used a third-party repairer.
“The court declared the mere fact that an iPhone or iPad had been repaired by someone other than Apple did not, and could not, result in the consumer guarantees ceasing to apply, or the consumer’s right to a remedy being extinguished.
“Global companies must ensure their returns policies are compliant with the Australian Consumer Law, or they will face ACCC action,” Court added.
Apple’s spokesperson responded to the ACCC’s claims in an emailed statement:
“We’re constantly looking for ways to enhance the service we deliver and we had very productive conversations with the ACCC about this.
“We will continue to do all we can to deliver excellent service to all of our customers in Australia.”