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A sting operation by the ACCC led to the lawsuit against Apple over "Error 53"

Apple seems to be in hot water again with the authorities. The tech giant has been a force to reckon with in the mobile space; however, the company is not immune to consequences as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has shown.

Last month, the consumer watchdog had filed a high-profile lawsuit against the Cupertino company. Now, court documents retrieved by a publication has revealed that a sting operation concerning Apple retailers in Australia is the reason behind the action.

The commission carried out a sting operation on the company wherein investigators, posing as customers, called at the 13 Apple retailers across Australia in June last year. The basis for the operation was the infamous "Error 53" incident. Error 53, for the uninitiated, was a message displayed on iPhones and iPads updated with the then-released iOS 9.0 update. The OS detected whether the phone's Touch ID had been repaired by a third-party, in which case the device would be rendered useless.

The committee claims:

“In each call, Apple Australia represented to the ACCC caller that no Apple entity ... was required to, or would, remedy the defective speaker at no cost under the [Australian consumer law] if the screen of the iPhone had been replaced by someone other than Apple Australia or an Apple-authorised service provider,”

Apple, on its part, refuted the claims and termed the operation a “hypothetical circumstance”. Interestingly, the ACCC has also accused the company of misleading its customers about their rights. The US Apple website told users that if their "screen or any other part of their device was replaced somewhere else, [they must] contact Apple Support about pricing information for out-of-warranty repairs." The case is set to go to trial in December this year.

Source: The Guardian

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