ACCC sues Samsung over slippery mobile phone ads

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ACCC sues Samsung over slippery mobile phone ads

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has taken Samsung to court over advertising for the supposed water resistance of some of its mobile phones.

In its announcement of the action, “The ACCC alleges Samsung’s advertisements falsely and misleadingly represented 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,” said ACCC Chair Rod Sims.

The ACCC statement also says it is aware of instances when Samsung "... denied warranty claims from consumers whose phones were damaged when used in water."

"Samsung  denied warranty claims from consumers whose phones were damaged when used in water"

The regulator backed its action with an opinion that Samsung has not tested whether Galaxy phones' usable lives are affected by exposure to water. But the ACCC's opinion is that using Galaxy phones in liquid other than fresh water could damage them, and the agency pointed out that Samsung itself has some doubts because the Galaxy S10 phone range has been advertised as “not advised for beach or pool use”.

“Samsung itself has acknowledged that water resistance is an important factor influencing Australian consumer decisions when they choose what mobile phone to purchase.”

Sims added that Samsung’s advertisements “denied consumers an informed choice” and “gave Samsung an unfair competitive advantage”.

Update: Samsung Electronics Australia posted this response on its website in response to ACCC's legal action:

"Samsung Electronics Australia notes the legal action launched against it today by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in relation to the marketing of a number of Samsung’s water resistant smartphones.

"Samsung intends to defend the court proceedings brought by the ACCC.

"Samsung stands by its marketing and advertising of the water resistancy of its smartphones. We are also confident that we provide customers with free-of-charge remedies in a manner consistent with Samsung’s obligations under its manufacturer warranty and the Australian Consumer Law.

"Customer satisfaction is a top priority for Samsung and we are committed to acting in the best interest of our customers."

Updated 4 July 2019 1:34pm: Added response from Samsung.

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