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ACCC to sue Apple over “misleading” 4G iPad claims

ipad3main3The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has accused Apple of “misleading” customers about the new iPad and its ability to connect to 4G networks.

The ACCC will lodge an application in the Federal Court in Melbourne tomorrow.

In a statement, the ACCC is alleging contraventions of Australian Consumer Law and said it would be “seeking injunctions, pecuniary penalties, corrective advertising and refunds to consumers affected.”

Despite Apple’s disclaimers at point of sale about the new device’s incompatibility with Australia’s only 4G network, the ACCC has taken issue with the product still being labelled as a “Wi-Fi + 4G”.

“The ACCC alleges that Apple’s recent promotion of the new “iPad with WiFi + 4G” is misleading because it represents to Australian consumers that the product “iPad with WiFi + 4G” can, with a SIM card, connect to a 4G mobile data network in Australia, when this is not the case,” the ACCC statement said.

“Consumers who have purchased or are considering purchasing an “iPad with WiFi + 4G” should ensure that they have a proper understanding of the mobile data networks which this iPad can directly access by a SIM card.”

Tech Guide’s review of the new third-generation iPad

The new iPad was launched in Australia on March 16 along with other major markets including the US, UK, Canada and Japan.

The point-of-sale disclaimer for the new iPad and 4G at JB Hi-FI stores

But the device will only work on American 4G networks on the 700Mhz and 2100Mhz frequencies while Australia’s only 4G network, from Telstra, operates at 1800Mhz.

This means Australians who choose to buy the Wi-Fi + 4G version of the new iPad will only be able to access our existing 3G networks.

However the new iPad does HSPA+ technology which allows faster 3G speeds on the Telstra network than those possible with previous model, the iPad 2.

Apple has yet to comment on the issue.

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