The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has opened up legal proceedings against Samsung suggesting it made false, misleading and deceptive claims over water resistance.
The claim from Samsung is a relatively simple one; S10 devices are IP68 water resistance, meaning the devices are good for up to 1.5 metres for a period of 30 minutes. Advertising for the S10 also depict a number of different scenarios from swimming pools to the beach, suggesting the device performs effectively in different environments.
The ACCC believes Samsung did not test or know of testing to substantiate these claims, and therefore mislead Australian consumers through more than 300 advertisements.
“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,” said ACCC Chair Rod Sims.
“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. Samsung showed the Galaxy phones used in situations they shouldn’t be to attract customers.”
Interestingly enough, Samsung seems to have dug itself into a whole with this one. Despite suggesting to the consumer on billboards, social media and TV advertising, a statement on its website confirms the images are misleading:
not advised for beach or pool use.
Interestingly enough, phones which had been advertised as water resistant were sold at a higher price. This is all well and good is you fancy taking your phone into the bath but don’t plan on living any form of Australian stereotype; no beaches and no pools for Samsung users.
Unfortunately for those who believe the advertising and don’t have the eagle eyes to spot small print on websites, Samsung also denied warranty claims for phones which were damaged when used in water.
Despite the fact Samsung has clearly misled consumers about the performance of S10 devices in non-fresh water, the firm is standing by its marketing and plans to fight the case. This is a slightly tricky area however, as there is some flexibility build into advertising rules. No-one expects to get a burger which matches the images on McDonald’s adverts, but this exaggeration is accepted.
Samsung might be able to squeeze out of this situation and consumers might continue to be lied to. That said, people should be able to put their phone down for a couple of minutes if they fancy a dip.