- The body said that Samsung has used deceptive representations in advertising the water resistance of various ‘Galaxy’ mobile phones
- Samsung has sold more than four million Galaxy branded smartphones in Australia
The ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against Samsung Electronics Australia Pty Ltd (Samsung) alleging it made false, misleading and deceptive representations in advertising the water resistance of various ‘Galaxy’ branded mobile phones.
“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,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.
Samsung also advertised the Galaxy phones as being water resistant up to 1.5 metres deep for 30 minutes. The ACCC’s case involves over 300 advertisements.
No reasonable basis for making the representations
The ACCC claims Samsung did not have a reasonable basis for making the representations because it did not test or know of testing (or sufficient testing) about how exposing a Galaxy phone to water (including non-fresh water) affected its usable life; It held the view that using Galaxy phones in liquid other than fresh water could damage them. For example, Samsung’s website states that the new Galaxy S10 phone range is ‘not advised for beach or pool use and it has denied warranty claims from consumers whose phones were damaged when used in water.
Aside from not having a reasonable basis, the ACCC also claims that the representations are false, misleading and deceptive, because the Galaxy 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 (including non-fresh water).
Unfair competitive advantage?
“Samsung’s advertisements, we believe, denied consumers an informed choice and gave Samsung an unfair competitive advantage,” Sims said.
Since around February 2016, Samsung has widely advertised on social media, online, TV, billboards, brochures and other media that the Galaxy phones are water resistant and depicted them being used in, or exposed to, oceans and swimming pools.
Samsung’s promotions included advertisements on its website, in social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), television, billboards, radio, brochures, YouTube, email marketing, press releases, sponsored articles, in its stores and in other retailers’ stores.