Between February 2015 and February 2016 Apple told customers who had their screen replaced by a third party that their device was no longer entitled to remedies, like a repair or replacement. Users who updated their iOS software got an “error 53” message and was unable to use their device.
After mounting pressure Apple backtracked on this stance however The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) took action against Apple US and its Australian subsidiary, Apple Pty Ltd, in the Federal Court.
Apple has been fined $9 million for making false or misleading representations to customers with faulty iPhones and iPads about their consumer rights.
This error disabled some iPhones and iPads after customers downloaded an update to Apple’s iOS operating system.
The AAC said “If a product is faulty, customers are legally entitled to a repair or a replacement under the Australian Consumer Law, and sometimes even a refund,”
“Apple’s representations led customers to believe they’d be denied a remedy for their faulty device because they used a third party repairer.”
“The court declared the mere fact that an iPhone or iPad had been repaired by someone other than Apple did not, and could not, result in the consumer guarantees ceasing to apply, or the consumer’s right to a remedy being extinguished.
“Global companies must ensure their returns policies are compliant with the Australian Consumer Law, or they will face ACCC action.”
The ACCC said Apple will commit to providing new devices as replacements if the consumer requests one.
“If people buy an iPhone or iPad from Apple and it suffers a major failure, they are entitled to a refund,” Ms Court said.
“If customers would prefer a replacement, they are entitled to a new device as opposed to refurbished, if one is available.”