South Korean tech company Samsung have been hit with a $14 million dollar fine by the Federal Court after an investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission showed that their Galaxy phones were not waterproof, as advertised.
The smartphone models in question had been released between the period of 2016 and 2018, with the company stating that they can be used in any aquatic scenario (pools, oceans, etc.)
During their advertising campaign, the company showed the phones being used in such environments and working as normal.
However, as the ACCC’s investigation later revealed, that wasn’t the case. Samsung themselves were made to admit that if water were to get in to the charging port, that would stop functioning as normal and could even break the phone if the user attempted to charge it while the water was still trapped in that part of the device.
According to the ACCC’s watchdog, there were hundreds of complaints from people who’s Galaxy phones weren’t working properly after they tried charging them while they were still wet, with some even shutting down entirely. The ACCC eventually took legal action against Samsung in June 2019 for their misleading marketing claims.
The ACCC’s chairperson, Gina Cass-Gottlieb, pointed out that the alleged resistance to water was a huge selling point for the device.
“Samsung Australia’s water resistance claims promoted an important selling point for these Galaxy phones,” Ms Cass-Gottlieb said.
“Many consumers who purchased a Galaxy phone may have been exposed to the misleading ads before they made their decision to purchase a new phone.
“Samsung Australia’s ads promoting its Galaxy phones featured people using their phones in pools and seawater, despite the fact that this could ultimately result in significant damage to the phone.”
Over 3 million Galaxy devices were sold in Australia.
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