Apple is once again under fire from the ACCC after misleading its customers.
The tech giant is alleged to have decieved consumers about their rights, landing them in the Federal Court against the regulator.
The proceedings arose as a result of Apple allegedly telling consumers it was not required to provide free remedies for faulty devices that had been previously repaired by a third party.
The court action comes in the wake of an iOS upgrade which resulted in externally repaired iPhones and iPads becoming permanently disabled, or ‘bricked’, in an error known as ‘error 53’.
ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said consumers have the right to seek remedies for faulty devices under the Australian Consumer Law, regardless of any previous external repairs.
“Consumer guarantee rights under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) exist independently of any manufacturer’s warranty and are not extinguished simply because a consumer has goods repaired by a third party,” he said.
An investigation by the ACCC revealed Apple had routinely denied customers service for faulty devices that had been repaired by others, even if the fault did not relate to the repair.
Given the increasing complexity of consumer goods, Sims said businesses should remember that consumer guarantee rights extend to software.
“Faults with software or software updates may entitle consumers to a free remedy under the Australian Consumer Law,” he said.
Sims said denying these rights could dissuade customers from seeking out alternate repair options which may be lower in cost.
Apple was previously put under investigation in 2013 by the ACCC following concerns of excluding consumer guarantees listed under the ACL, by applying its own warranties and refund policies.
In a subsequent court enforceable undertaking, Apple had publicly acknowledged it would provide customers with its own remedies equivalent to the ACL’s customer guarantees, and not make representations to consumers which were contrary to the ACL.
The ACCC is seeking pecuniary penalties, injunctions, declarations, compliance program orders, corrective notices and costs for the latest infringements.