Apple fined $9 million for misleading customers

Craig Federighi Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering

This error disabled some iPhones and iPads after customers downloaded an update to Apple's iOS operating system.

An Australian Competition and Consumer Commission investigation revealed that Apple had misled customers about their legal right to request a fix or replacement if their device was faulty.

Apple has since compensated customers who could not use their iPhones or iPads following the error 53 problem.

"[The customers said] they were being refused a remedy of any kind by Apple on the basis that their device had had unauthorised repairs, and those repairs could be as minor as just having a cracked screen replaced on an iPhone or iPad, which all of us need to do from time to time", ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

Apple US told 275 Australian customers affected by error 53 that if their device had been repaired by a third party they were no longer eligible for a remedy.

She said multi-national firms and their returns policies had to be compliant with the Australian Consumer Law.

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The advice from Apple to customers was given between February 2015 and February 2016 on the Apple US' website, by Apple Australia's staff in-store and on its customer service phone calls.

The ACCC investigated consumer complaints regarding "error 53" on Apple devices and took the USA tech giant to court in 2017.

Apple has been fined $9 million by the Federal Court for telling some Australian iPad and iPhone owners they could not have devices fixed as they had been previously repaired by a third party.

After an investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Apple was found to have made false or misleading representations regarding Australian Consumer Law.

Ms Court said the court's decision meant Apple US was responsible for the conduct of its Australian subsidiary.

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