In Italy, the competition watchdog has sentenced the iPhone manufacturer to a fine of millions. The reason: misleading advertising on water resistance.
The competition authority "Autorità garante della concorrenza e del mercato" (AGCM) in Italy announced on November 30th that two Apple subsidiaries, Apple Distribution International and Apple Italia Srl, will have to pay a fine totalling 10 million Euros. The case concerns two unfair business practices, both related to the water-resistance of recent iPhone models.
Among other things, this concerns the advertising that Apple has placed in the past for iPhone 8 to iPhone 11 Pro Max. Here, for example, it was advertised that the smartphones – depending on the model – are protected against water ingress at a depth of 1 to 4 meters and for up to 30 minutes.
Apple iPhone: competition authorities accuse Apple of unfair business practices
However, Apple had left out an important detail in these spots. It was not said that these were only tests under specific conditions. For example, under controlled laboratory conditions with "static and pure water".
The reference to water damage not being covered by the warranty could also mislead customers, as no clear reference was made to the conventional guarantee or legal guarantee.
The competition watchdog also criticized that Apple, while using "aggressive commercial practices" to advertise protection against water, at the same time denies customers warranty service in the event of water damage to their iPhone.
Apple had to pay a fine of €10 million in Italy a few years ago in 2018. At the time, the fine was for slowing down performance due to ageing batteries that was introduced with an iOS update. As in the case at that time, the iPhone manufacturer in Italy not only has to pay the fine, but also has to post a corresponding notice on its website.