Samsung slapped with R154 million fine over misleading waterproofing claims
Samsung Australia must pay A$14 million (R154 million) for misleading customers about the water resistance features of its products.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced that Samsung Australia had been ordered to pay the penalty by the Australian Federal Court.
In a series of advertisements between 2016 and 2018, the electronics company implied that consumers could submerge its flagship Galaxy models in pools and seawater.
The models in question are the S7, S7 Edge, the 2017 A5 and A7 models, S8, S8 Plus, and Note 8.
While these devices have an IP68 durability classification, the device was only rated for submersion in fresh water up to a maximum depth of 1.5 meters for 30 minutes.
“Samsung Australia’s marketing campaign promoted Galaxy phones being used in pools and seawater while there remained a material prospect the Galaxy phones would be damaged due to corrosion,” the ACCC said.
“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 ACCC sued Samsung Australia in July 2019.
“Samsung Australia has acknowledged that if the Galaxy phones were submerged in pool or sea water, there was a material prospect the charging port would become corroded and stop working if the phone was charged while still wet,” the commission said.
Reuters reported the ACCC and Samsung agreed that Galaxy models produced after 2018 were not at risk of the same water damage due to corrosion.
The ACCC has encouraged Australian consumers who purchased one of the affected models and consequently experienced damage to contact Samsung Australia.