The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has filed a Federal Court case against Samsung Australia, alleging Samsung made "false or misleading representations" concerning the water resistance of its Galaxy phones.
In documents lodged to the court today, the ACCC accused Samsung of misleading advertising causing consumers to believe its Galaxy phones can be used in many different types of water, including swimming pools and oceans, without suffering damage. In response, Samsung Australia has issued a statement noting it intends to defend itself against the proceedings.
"Samsung stands by its marketing and advertising of the water resistancy of its smartphones. We are also confident that we provide customers with free-of-charge remedies in a manner consistent with Samsung’s obligations under its manufacturer warranty and the Australian Consumer Law," the company said.
The ACCC cited statements in Samsung's advertising that claimed Galaxy phones are water resistant to a depth of 1.5 metres for up to 30 minutes, as well as other promotional material. This included photos of Galaxy phones submerged in swimming pools, and images of the ocean.
The filing includes a lengthy schedule of Samsung advertisements dating back to 2016, though many of Samsung's Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts that were listed are not currently live.
The case alleges that Samsung had no reasonable grounds for making these claims of water resistance, as it did not conduct sufficient testing regarding how liquid impacts the phones (including liquids other than fresh water). The ACCC further notes that Samsung have refused to take responsibility or accept warranty claims for Galaxy phones damaged by liquid, and that Samsung Australia's website states the S10 is "not advised for beach or pool use".
“Samsung showed the Galaxy phones used in situations they shouldn’t be to attract customers,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.
“Samsung itself has acknowledged that water resistance is an important factor influencing Australian consumer decisions when they choose what mobile phone to purchase.
“Samsung’s advertisements, we believe, denied consumers an informed choice and gave Samsung an unfair competitive advantage.”
According to the ACCC, over four million Samsung Galaxy phones have been sold in Australia. The 14 Galaxy phones listed in the court documents include the new Samsung Galaxy S10, released in March this year for $1349.