Samsung is being sued by Australia’s consumer watchdog for making “false, misleading and deceptive” claims in its advertising.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched proceedings in the Federal Court alleging Samsung's advertising featured misleading representations regarding the water-resistance of its Galaxy mobile phones.
The legal action refers to more than 300 ads, which depicted people swimming in pools and surfing in the ocean with the phones, which Samsung claimed were water-resistant up to 1.5 metres deep for 30 minutes.
ACCC Chair Rod Sims, said: “The ACCC alleges Samsung’s advertisements falsely and misleadingly represented Galaxy phones would be suitable for use in, or for exposure to, all types of water, including in ocean water and swimming pools, and would not be affected by such exposure to water for the life of the phone, when this was not the case.”
The ACCC claims the phones were not suitable for use in all types of water, and the life of the phones could or would likely be adversely affected if used in water. It also states these phones were sold at a higher price to other models that did not include water-resistant features.
“Samsung showed the Galaxy phones used in situations they shouldn’t be to attract customers,” said Sims.
“Samsung itself has acknowledged that water resistance is an important factor influencing Australian consumer decisions when they choose what mobile phone to purchase,” he continued.
“Samsung’s advertisements, we believe, denied consumers an informed choice and gave Samsung an unfair competitive advantage.
“Under the Australian Consumer Law, businesses cannot mislead consumers about their products’ capabilities. Any attempt to do so will risk court action from the ACCC.”
The ACCC is seeking penalties, consumer redress orders, injunctions, declarations, publication orders, an order as to findings of fact, and costs from Samsung.
To date, Samsung has sold more than four million Galaxy phones in Australia.