iPhone and iPod are waterproof, as anyone who has one of them knows. Apple of course also advertises with them. Up to 4 meters deep into the water and for 30 minutes this should be possible. But that is not quite right!
Apple advertises that the iPhone and iPod are waterproof, but does not want to give any guarantee. The Italian competition authority has taken this on board. After the manufacturer refused to pay for damage caused by liquids or to replace this in the warranty, the affected customers complained. The complaints were received by the Italian competition authority “Autorità garante della concorrenza e del mercato” (AGCM), which has investigated the matter. The authority accuses the group of “aggressive business practices”, especially with regard to the fact that the equipment is waterproof. Apple did not express itself precisely enough here and explained to customers exactly what this means.
According to Apple, the devices are waterproof to a depth of 4 meters and up to 30 minutes. However, there are already differences between the different models. The Italian authority AGCM found that Apple’s advertising message does not reflect the conditions under which this is the case. According to the tests, the devices are probably only waterproof under very specific conditions, such as stagnant and clean water. This was not communicated to the customers. Through the Group’s advertising, customers assume that if their phone falls into water, it is also waterproof and if not, Apple will pay for it. But the manufacturer does not want to give this guarantee. Therefore, the authority has now levied a fine of 10 million euros against Apple for misleading advertising.
Disclaimer of liability for water damage
In its investigations, the authority also criticized the exclusion of liability in Apple’s warranty. The warranty states that damage caused by liquids is not covered by the warranty. Just this point does not come out clearly in the advertising of Apple. On the contrary, the company explicitly points out the water resistance of its devices. The limitations in the warranty are not mentioned or made clear to the customer. Now Apple not only has to pay the fine, but should also make this clear on its website. The whole thing applies to Italy, in Germany it is already different.
Restriction is already disclosed in Germany
In our case, the limitation of the warranty is already made clear on Apple’s website. It says, “Water and other liquid damage to the iPhone or iPod is not covered under warranty. The manufacturer then in turn refers to the German consumer protection laws, which could grant rights here.