Today, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced that it has taken Samsung to court over a case of misleading and deceptive advertisements. The advertisements in question revolve around the water resistance representation of the South Korean giant's Galaxy lineup of mobile phones.
Over 300 advertisements and 15 Galaxy phones have been included as part of the case, with the competition regulator stating that many of the claims made through these ads are without any reasonable basis. ACCC Chairman Rod Sims noted that Galaxy phones have been shown to be water resistant to all types of water, and it has been implied that they aren't affected by water over time. However, it has been alleged by the commission that this is not actually the case, and that both of the aforementioned claims have found to been false.
It has been suggested that Samsung misrepresented the particular feature for the following reasons:
- It did not test or know of testing (or sufficient testing) about how exposing a Galaxy phone to water (including non-fresh water) affected its usable life;
- It held the view that using Galaxy phones in liquid other than fresh water could damage them. For example, Samsung’s website states that the new Galaxy S10 phone range is ‘not advised for beach or pool use';
- It has denied warranty claims from consumers whose phones were damaged when used in water.
Another major reason why Sims believes this case holds a lot of significance is due to the fact that Samsung acknowledged that water resistance is considered a "key feature" by consumers when they are deciding which mobile phone to purchase. As such, it has been alleged that these practices gave the tech giant an unfair competitive advantage aside from misleading consumers, for which it should be held liable.
As per CNET, Samsung disputed the accusations, responding in the following manner:
"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."
Notably, this isn't the first time the company has been accused of misrepresenting its phones' water resistance capabilities, with the S7 Active brought under scrutiny in 2016. Over four million Galaxy-branded phones have been sold in Australia.