Apple has been fined $9 million in the Federal Court for misleading customers with its repairs policy which was found to be in breach of Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
This decision was the result of an Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) court action against the electronics giant.
It was found that Apple’s decision not to provide free repairs to Apple devices which had been serviced by a third party, was against ACL.
It all started in April 2017 when the ACCC filed court action against Apple when it refused to repair devices bricked by “error 53”.
This error occurred after a number of iPads and iPhones had downloaded the latest iOS update at that time.
It was soon discovered that the error occurred because third-party hardware components had been used in a repair.
At that time Apple said customers were not entitled to a repair or replacement if the device had been repaired by a third party.
The ACCC also took issue with the claim that Apple refused free service even when the fault was unrelated to the previous third-party repair.
Apple admitted during the court proceedings it had told at least 275 Australian customers in stores and online, between February 2015 and February 2016, they were not entitled to a repair in these circumstances.
“The court’s declarations holds Apple US, a multinational parent company, responsible for the conduct of its Australian subsidiary,” ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said in a statement.
“Global companies must ensure their returns policies are compliant with the Australian Consumer Law or they will face ACCC action.”
“If a product is faulty, customers are legally entitled to a repair or replacement under the Australian Consumer Law, and sometimes even a refund.
“Apple’s representations led customers to believe they’d be denied a remedy for their faulty device because they used a third-party repairer.”
The $9 million fine against Apple comes after the iPhone maker attempted to settle the matter.
Apple has also agreed to improve staff training about warranties and the ACL on its website along with ensuring it complies with the law in the future.
The court also ruled Apple had to pay the ACCC’s legal costs.