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ACCC Takes Action Against Apple On Alleged Consumer Guarantee Misrepresentations

07 Апреля, 2017, 06:25 | Author: Nadine Todd
  • Dave Curran chief information officer at Westpac

The competition watchdog has launched legal action against Apple for allegedly refusing to look at defective devices repaired elsewhere.

According to the ACCC, having your iPhone repaired somewhere other than Apple doesn't automatically extinguish your right to have Apple fix your smartphone after it's been bricked by the company's own software error.

However, as many people - including the ACCC - have pointed out, numerous people who received the Error 53 message had not had their fingerprint sensor replaced; just the cracked screen.

By denying consumers support as it has done in Australia, Apple is effectively bullying its customers to use only its fix services.

It alleges that Apple made "false, misleading, or deceptive representations" about consumers' rights under Australian law. Australian Consumer Law requires that when a product is purchased, there's a guarantee that it will be "reasonably fit" for its intended goal.

In Apple's case, the ACCC argues that Apple told customers with defective, bricked devices that they did not qualify for free repairs if their devices had previously been serviced by a third party, "unauthorized repairer", although having an Apple device component repaired, serviced or replaced by another repairer can not wipe the consumers's right to a fix if the product doesn't comply with the consumer guarantees. This means that if the ACCC wins, it will allow users to get their broken iPhone or iPad screen replaced cheaply while not breaching their right to get help from Apple's Genius Bars.

As we reported at the time, the Error 53 fiasco was centered around devices that had Touch ID module or screen repairs by an unauthorized third-party, thus causing the device to fail Apple's security checks.

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The guarantee is "not extinguished because a consumer has goods repaired by a third-party repairer".

Apple did not immediately respond to the BBC's request for comment.

"While the ACCC accepts that the opportunity for the banks to collectively negotiate and boycott would place them in a better bargaining position with Apple, the benefits would be outweighed by detriments", Sims said.

In late 2013, the ACCC accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from the company relating to its consumer guarantees.

Commissioner Rod Sims makes this interesting statement in the commission's press release: "consumer rights", he says, "extend to any software or software updates" in complex consumer goods.

The watchdog is seeking penalties, injunctions, declarations, compliance program orders, corrective notices and costs.

Apple has faced criticism before, after a year ago it emerged that devices fitted with unauthorised Touch ID modules, or screen, flex cable, or water-damaged components, would lock themselves, rendering the phone or tablet useless.

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