The Australian Antitrust Authority on Tuesday announced a ruling by a local court ordering Samsung Electronics Australia to pay the equivalent of $9.65 million for nine fraudulent advertising campaigns. According to the regulator, users were misled by advertisements about the level of water protection on some Galaxy smartphones.
Samsung Australia has admitted to misleading some Galaxy buyers, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). As early as July 2019, the regulatory authority filed a lawsuit against the South Korean manufacturer for the first time.
From March 2016 to October 2018, Samsung ran ads on stores and social media claiming its smartphones could be used in ponds or seawater, the regulator said. After that, ACCC received thousands of complaints from users who said smartphones weren’t working properly or even stopped working completely after being in the water.
According to a regulator, the company’s claims have been a key selling point for Galaxy smartphones, and many buyers “may have been exposed to misleading advertising” before deciding to buy a new smartphone.
The company has previously announced that Samsung and ACCC have jointly concluded that design changes made by the manufacturer to new versions of smartphone models launched in Australia since March 2018 are no longer subject to the risk of breakage from immersion in water.