Italy fines Apple 10M euro over water resistance marketing

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Apple has been hit by a fine from the Italian Antitrust Authority for 10 million euro ($12M) over claims it misled consumers in marketing the water-resistance of its iPhones.

Levied on Monday, the fine from the regulator was laid against Apple Distribution International and Apple Italia SRL, over two commercial practices in how it marketed iPhones, ranging from the iPhone 8 until the iPhone 11 generation. The issues largely relate to Apple's advertising for water resistance features of its devices.

In its advertising, Apple says its iPhones can withstand water for depths ranging from 1 meter to 4 meters, and for up to 30 minutes. On the first count, Apple was accused of not properly clarifying to consumers that the depths and timing work under specific conditions, such as lab-controlled testing with static and pure water.

There is also an issue with the disclaimer Apple offers, in that "the guarantee" doesn't cover liquid damage, something that goes against the prominent advertising boasts over water resistance. It also apparently isn't clear if the guarantee mentioned by Apple refers to a conventional or legal guarantee, while Apple was also accused of failing to properly contextualize the conditions and limitations of water resistance claims.

The Antitrust Authority also thought it was inappropriate for Apple to refuse offering warranty assistance for liquid damage following sales, which was deemed to be hindering consumer rights enshrined by law and the country's Consumer Code.

Sanctions against both Apple Distribution International and Apple Italia SRL include both the fine and an order to publish a link on its website covering Italy linking to a document about the regulatory findings.

 

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