Thursday, June 21, 2012

Apple Fined Over Misleading iPad 4G Claims

An Australian court has fined Apple $2.29 million dollars over misleading advertising.

When Apple launched their new iPad earlier this year in Australia it was advertised as being a 4G device despite the fact that the tablet cannot actually connect to the countries only 4G wireless network. Australia has only one 4G network, operated by Telstra Corp, which operates on a different frequency to the 4G on Apple's new iPad. The network operates on a frequency of 1800MHz; the new iPad's LTE 4G hardware only works on frequencies of 700MHz and 2100MHz.

As a result of these "misleading claims" the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission stepped in to take legal action. Which in turn resulted in Justice Mordy Bromberg of the country's Federal Court slamming Apple with a fine that totaled $2.25 million Australia dollars ($2.29 million in US dollars).

Apple previously said it would email all of the new iPad owners in Australia and offer them refunds if they felt they were mislead by the 4G speed claims. Since then the company has also changed the branding of the iPad to show it is "Wi-Fi + Cellular", rather than 4G. However, according to the . reports, Justice Bromberg was not satisfied with this gesture. In his ruling the Federal Court Justice said, "The conduct concerned was deliberate and very serious. It exposed a significant proportion of Australian consumers of tablet devices to a misleading representation."

He said Thursday the risk of contravening Australian consumer law would have been "reasonably obvious" to Apple. "In that context, and in the absence of any other explanation, the facts to which I have just referred suggest that Apple's desire for global uniformity was given a greater priority than the need to ensure compliance with the Australian consumer law," he said. "Conduct of that kind is serious and unacceptable."

This isn't the only case in which Apple's advertising has come under question. We previously reported the company was drawing attention from regulators in several other countries because of the 4G speed claims.

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