Italian watchdog fines Apple 10mn euros over waterproofing claims

(IANS) The Italian anti-trust watchdog on Monday slapped a fine of 10 million euros on Apple for unfair commercial practices related to water-resistant claims in iPhones that date back to 2017.

The Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) fined the Cupertino-based tech giant for allegedly making misleading claims about the waterproofing of its certain iPhones.

The watchdog said that Apple advertised the characteristic of being water resistant for a maximum depth varying between 4 metres and 1 metre depending on the model and up to 30 minutes.

The iPhones concerned are: iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max.

The Italian agency said that claims about iPhones being water resistant “only apply in certain circumstances like controlled lab tests with pure water”.

According to the authority, the messages did not clarify that this property is found only in the presence of specific conditions, “for example during specific and controlled laboratory tests with the use of static and pure water, and not in the normal conditions of use of the devices by consumers”.

The antitrust agency also considered it appropriate to integrate an aggressive commercial practice the refusal by Apple, in the post-sales phase, to provide warranty assistance when those iPhone models were damaged due to the introduction of water or other liquids.

For such reasons, the authority has decided to impose sanctions on Apple for a total of 10 million euros.

The latest fine comes after two years when the Italian regulator fined Apple along with Samsung for throttling older devices with software updates.

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