In Australia, manufacturer Samsung was sentenced to pay a fine of millions. The reason was that the Korean company had lied to customers for years with misleading statements in its advertising, which included false information about the water resistance of various smartphones in the Galaxy model series. Most recently, because of poor customer service, there was also anger among customers.
Samsung fined millions in Australia
The equivalent of around 9.17 million euros (14 million Australian dollars) Samsung must now pay in Australia. This reports the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) on its website. The ACCC had already sued the technology group in 2019 for misleading statements and now received right before the court.
The reason is an advertising campaign on various smartphone models, which was broadcast in Australia between March 2016 and October 2018. It comprised a total of nine commercials that could be seen on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the Samsung homepage.
These suggested to potential customers that the Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, A5 (2017), A7 (2017), S8, S8 Plus and Note 8 smartphone models were waterproof, showing the devices being used in pools or lakes.
While that is possible in principle, Samsung missed the hint that the water could, for example, break and corrode the charging port of the devices if you charge it while wet.
Hundreds of complaints received
“The claims Samsung Australia made about the waterproofing of its smartphones marked a major selling point for the devices. Many customers who purchased a Galaxy smartphone were thus subjected to misleading advertising,” states Gina Cass-Gottlieb of the ACCC.
According to the ACCC statement, the agency had received hundreds of complaints reporting that their smartphones had experienced problems after being exposed to water. “In many cases, the smartphones had even stopped working altogether,” Cass-Gottlieb added.
Samsung, meanwhile, has already admitted to the misleading claims on its Galaxy smartphones and accepted the penalty, the ACCC writes. Affected customers whose devices broke when used in water should now contact Samsung Australia.
All affected smartphones have IP68 certification, which Samsung clearly defines on its own website :
“The IP68 certification defines, on the one hand, that the device is dust-proof, and on the other hand, protection against permanent submersion up to a maximum water depth of 1.5 meters for a maximum of 30 minutes. […] In addition, it must be ensured that all covers of the device are always completely closed so that no water can penetrate.”