The ACCC is taking Samsung Australia to federal court for reportedly misleading Aussie consumers about the water resistance levels of its Galaxy phones.
Since February 2016, Samsung has widely advertised on social media, online, TV, OOH and various other channels that its Galaxy phones are water-resistant.
The ads depicted them being used in, or exposed to, oceans and swimming pools. Samsung also advertised the Galaxy phones as being water resistant up to 1.5 metres deep for 30 minutes.
The ACCC’s case involves over 300 advertisements.
The ACCC will allege Samsung’s advertisements falsely and misleadingly represented that Galaxy phones would be suitable for use in, or for exposure to, all types of water, including in ocean water and swimming pools, and would not be affected by such exposure to water for the life of the phone, when this was not the case.
ACCC chair Rod Sims said: “Samsung showed the Galaxy phones used in situations they shouldn’t be to attract customers.
He added: “Samsung’s advertisements, we believe, denied consumers an informed choice and gave Samsung an unfair competitive advantage.”
Under the Australian Consumer Law, businesses cannot mislead consumers about their products’ capabilities.
Samsung has denied the claim and will be defending itself in court.
The ACCC noted Samsung’s ads influenced the buying habits of Australians and said Samsung had acknowledged water resistance is an important factor influencing Australian consumer decisions when they choose what mobile phone to purchase.
The reasons for ACCC’s case include a lack of testing in water, including salt or pool water, claims that the phone can be used in fresh water, but pool or beach use is not advised, and a denial of warranty claims from people with water-damaged phones.
The consumer watchdog also noted the Galaxy phones were sold at a higher price due to the water resistance claims.
The latest versions of the Galaxy, the S10e and the S10, sell for $1199 and $1349 respectively.
According to the ACCC, there have been four million Galaxy phones sold in Australia.