Samsung says ads comply with Australian law despite false advertising allegations

8 Jul 2019142 Views

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on RedditEmail this to someone

A Samsung Galaxy 10 covered in drops of water. Image: Seremin/Depositphotos

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on RedditEmail this to someone

Samsung is being sued by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for allegedly misleading consumers about the water-resistant properties of the Samsung Galaxy range.

Samsung hasn’t been having a particularly great year as far as headlines go.

Just as the company had seemingly solved the issued behind ‘foldgate’, it emerged late last week that it was being sued by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for allegedly misleading consumers about the water-resistant properties of the Samsung Galaxy range.

The ACCC published a statement to their website on Thursday (4 July): “Since around February 2016, Samsung has widely advertised on social media, online, TV, billboards, brochures and other media that the Galaxy phones are water resistant and depicted them being used in, or exposed to, oceans and swimming pools.

The ACCC pointed out that although Samsung’s adverts say that the phones have an IP68 water resistance, this rating does not cover salt water or that found in swimming pools. “Samsung showed the Galaxy phones used in situations they shouldn’t be, to attract customers,” said ACCC chair Rod Sims.

The ACCC’s case involves over 300 advertisements, which also portray the Galaxy phones as water resistant up to 1.5 metres deep for 30 minutes.

In the ACCC statement, Sims went on to accuse Samsung’s advertisements of falsely and misleadingly representing that Samsung Galaxy phones would be suitable for use in all types of water, including 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”.

The ACCC said that Samsung did not have a reasonable basis to make these claims because “it did not test or know of testing about how exposing a Galaxy phone to water (including non-fresh water) affected its usable life” and that “it held the view that using Galaxy phones in liquid other than fresh water could damage them”.

In the fine print on Samsung’s website, it currently states that the Galaxy S10 is “not advised for beach or pool use”. According to the ACCC, Samsung has “denied warranty claims from consumers whose phones were damaged when used in water”.

If Samsung is found guilty of misleading customers, the company could face a multimillion-dollar fine. Samsung told Reuters it would defend the case and that it stood by its advertisements.

The case may also redefine the way smartphone manufacturers deal with the issue of water resistance, a topic that has previously landed Sony and OnePlus in headlines.

A Samsung Galaxy 10 covered in drops of water. Image: Seremin/Depositphotos

Kelly Earley is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com