Apple fined $9 million for misleading customers

Apple fined $9 million for misleading iPhone and iPad owners in Australia over

A court ordered Apple to pay a penalty of 9 million Australian dollars ($6.7 million), after it told consumers it wouldn't offer free repairs for devices that had become inoperable due to a glitch known as "Error 53".

It all started previous year when Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) received complaints from a large number of users about "error 53" that effectively disabled their devices post an update.

The federal court today ruled in favour of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which filed a case against Apple on behalf of customers previous year. Authorised service centres refused to fix or replace devices free of charge if they had been previously serviced by an unauthorised third party.

Apple made these representations between February 2015 and February 2016 - on its USA website, in-store and on its customer service phone calls.

"The court's declarations hold Apple US, a multinational parent company, responsible for the conduct of its Australian subsidiary".

Opposition spokesman on competition and productivity Andrew Leigh again called for increased fines for breaches of consumer law.

The action was sparked after an investigation into complaints by consumers about an "error 53" that disabled their iPhones and iPads after they downloaded an update to Apple's operating system.

Apple was contacted for comment.

Apple has stated on its website that if you have your device repaired by an unauthorised third party, it will not help if something goes wrong - such as error 53.

That allegedly involved Apple exchanging faulty iPhones and iPads for refurbished replacements, not completely new devices.

"If people buy an iPhone or iPad from Apple and it suffers a major failure, they are entitled to a refund", said Court. "If customers would prefer a replacement, they are entitled to a new device as opposed to refurbished, if one is available", she said.

"We're constantly looking for ways to enhance the service we deliver and we had very productive conversations with the ACCC about this", the spokesperson said.

Apple Australia has also offered a court enforceable undertaking to improve staff training, audit information about warranties and the ACL on its website, and improve its systems and procedures to ensure future compliance with the ACL.

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