Apple, which is the world’s biggest smartphone marker, was recently fined a total of $2.29 million for intentionally misleading consumers in Australia regarding the capability of 4G on the local network while launching the new iPad.
4G Wireless Capability Error
The smartphone maker was also required to meet the cost of the suit which totaled to around Aus$300,000.00. The case was designed to send out a warning signal to international companies about the penalties of breaking the law. Mordy Bromberg, who was the judge that presided over the case found that the company was guilty of misleading the public by claiming in its advert that the 4G wireless capability was compatible with the 4th generation mobile network in Australia, whereas in actual sense it was unable to.
In the ruling, the judge stated that the Apple intentionally mislead consumers and in the process violated laws pertaining to consumer laws in Australia. The ruling when on to state that the company exposed a considerable number of tablet consumers in the Australian market through misleading adverts.
The lawsuit was brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission – ACCC. In its statement, the governing body said that it was delighted by the ruling. The spokesperson stated that the $2.29 million dollar fine was a reflection of the gravity of a corporation the magnitude of Apple declining to alter its adverts even after being notified well in advance that its advertisements were intentionally misleading the public. The spokesperson went further to declare that the ruling of the case ought to act as a repeated warning that the consumer body will not relent in making traders accountable when they resort to misleading tactics in spite of their magnitude.
As a way of showing remorse, Apple suggested that it will refund any consumer who thought that they were misled into purchasing the product. The company also agreed to re-publish a clarification notice regarding the capabilities of the new iPad.
The new iPad is currently being promoted as “Wi-Fi + Cellular” outside the United States. This change was made after the ruling of the lawsuit. In an advert, Apple recently claimed that the new iPad is not compatible with the 4G LTE network in Australia. However, it is important to point out that the 4G capability is compatible with cellular networks in both US and Canada.
A number of intellectual property rights experts state that Apple had not been wise while advertising the new iPad. They stated that this lawsuit demonstrated some of the risks that companies were exposing themselves to through overhyping of their products during sales and marketing. The result of the lawsuit is something that most international companies ought to take seriously.
However, the outcome of this lawsuit is not an indication that similar lawsuits could also be opened against Apple in other countries. This is because consumer protection laws differ from one country to another. According to the specifics of the case, Apple agreed to a settlement with ACCC. Nonetheless, a presiding judge postponed the official ruling until he is furnished with the proper figures on the number of iPad solds as well as the amount refunded to consumers.