ACCC Investigates Apple's Error 53 For Potential Consumer Law Breach

The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) has launched an investigation into whether Apple’s Error 53 is in breach of consumer laws.

When the error code hit, effectively bricking iPhones, users initially thought it must be a bug. It was quickly revealed that the error is actually a security measure for the Touch ID fingerprint recognition technology. The error is activated when the phone is worked on by a third-party repairer using non-standard techniques or components.

Apple says the feature is protecting consumers from unauthorised access to features such as Apple Pay. iPhone users however, have say notice about the feature was insufficient and lawsuits have begun. Repairers are speaking out also, saying it is part of a plan by Apple to monopolise market for phone repairs.

“We are currently considering whether the reports are likely to raise concerns under the Competition and Consumer Act,” said a spokesperson for the ACCC in a statement.

“In particular the ACCC is examining whether this practice contravenes the consumer guarantee and false and misleading representations provisions of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). The ACCC would also be concerned about any practices which restrict competition, including through access to parts or data.”

Apple have been contacted for comment on the ACCC statement, responding with links to the ID Touch and Error 53 support pages on its website instead.

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