Apple sued by ACCC for alleged misrepresentations over consumer rights and repairs

Back in February last year, some iPhone 6 and iPad users were finding themselves in a quandary after encountering the then mysterious 'Error 53' on their newly bricked devices. Ultimately, the cause of the error was found to be related to third-party repairs or replacements of the smartphone's TouchID sensor. In order to address the issue, Apple issued an iOS update allowing users to restore their affected iPhones to a working state.

However, that's not the end of the story, at least for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The competition regulator opened its own investigation after receiving reports relating to 'Error 53' from consumers, many of whom had third-party repairs undertaken on their Apple devices, such as having damaged screens replaced.

The ACCC has now alleged that Apple made false representations to owners of affected Apple products, that free remedy was not available to them on the basis that their devices had been repaired by third-party 'unauthorised repairers". In a statement regarding the matter, ACCC chairman Rod Sims sad:

"Consumer guarantee rights under the Australian Consumer Law exist independently of any manufacturer’s warranty and are not extinguished simply because a consumer has goods repaired by a third party,

Denying a consumer their consumer guarantee rights simply because they had chosen a third party repairer not only impacts those consumers but can dissuade other customers from making informed choices about their repair options including where they may be offered at lower cost than the manufacturer."

At present, the ACCC is pursuing "pecuniary penalties, injunctions, declarations, compliance program orders, corrective notices, and costs" from Apple in the Federal Court. The legal action comes just months after Apple announced its intention to oppose 'right to repair' laws being proposed in Nebraska and other US states.

Source: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

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