Apple Fined $9 Million for Misleading Some Australian Customers Over 'Error 53' Device Repairs

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jun 18, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    The Australian government today fined Apple $9 million for misleading some customers into believing they could not have their iOS devices fixed by Apple if they had been previously repaired by a third-party repair shop, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

    Today's ruling comes after the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) launched an investigation into Apple after the ACCC received complaints over "error 53," issues.


    Error 53, widely publicized in 2016, caused some iPhone 6 users who had the Home buttons on their iPhones fixed by a non-Apple technician using non-original parts to see their iPhones bricked following a software update.

    When the error code first surfaced, Apple said that error 53 was a protective security feature meant to prevent "malicious" third-party components from potentially compromising a user's iPhone, but after public outcry, Apple released a software update restoring functionality to bricked iPhones. Following the software update to unbrick iPhones, Apple claimed that the error 53 issue was meant to be a factory test and never should have impacted consumer devices.

    Amid error 53 investigations led by the ACCC, Apple admitted that between February 2015 and February 2016, at least 275 Australian customers had been told in store or over the phone that they could not have their iPad or iPhone fixed if it had been repaired by a third party, such as in the error 53 situation.

    Apple's refusal to provide repairs to Australian customers who had previous repairs done by third-party shops violates Australian Consumer Law, according to an Australian Federal Court.

    When it learned of the ACCC's investigation, Apple launched an outreach program that has compensated approximately 5,000 consumers who were affected by error 53. Apple's Australian arm is also improving staff training to make sure its stores comply fully with Australian Consumer Law, and Apple will now provide new devices as replacements instead of refurbished devices if a customer requests one.

    In the United States, Apple was hit with a lawsuit over error 53, but it was dismissed after the company restored full iPhone functionality through a software update and reimbursed customers who had paid for out-of-warranty device replacements.

    Article Link: Apple Fined $9 Million for Misleading Some Australian Customers Over 'Error 53' Device Repairs
  2. farewelwilliams macrumors 68000

    Jun 18, 2014
    Apple fined the amount of one Jony Ive bathroom break
  3. martyjmclean macrumors 6502


    Jan 24, 2018
    Sydney, NSW, Australia
    Glad they’ve been fined. You can’t refuse a repair just because a product has been repaired by somebody else. In the off chance a product broke because of a dodge repair, how is the customer supposed to get an authorised repair to fix the dodge repair?
  4. oldmacs macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2010
    I'm glad we have the ACCC.
  5. porg1969 macrumors newbie


    Dec 30, 2007
    San Francisco
    Yet none of this money will go to the customers
  6. Davidglenn macrumors member


    Dec 3, 2014
    The ACCC go even further as people are entitled to refunds or a new product (not refurbished) if they request. The caveat is it must be bought from Apple and have a major failure.

    "If people buy an iPhone or iPad from Apple and it suffers a major failure, they are entitled to a refund. If customers would prefer a replacement, they are entitled to a new device as opposed to refurbished, if one is available," Court said.
  7. fermat-au macrumors 6502

    Dec 7, 2009
    As an Australian: If Apple want to sell products and services in Australia they need to do so under Australian law. If Apple doesn't like Australian law they are free to stop selling products in Australia .
  8. ElRojito macrumors 6502

    May 6, 2012
    I agree they shouldn’t deny completely but how does this work with warranty? Let’s say a different place did a repair and screwed up another part of the phone — is it on the original mfg to discover a means to find out if the failure is because of them or not to provide warranty? Or should OEMs just be allowed to deny warranty claims? This is an honest question by the way, not trying to bait anything just honestly curious
  9. Regime2008 Suspended


    Oct 3, 2017
    Basshead in ATL
    Great ruling, although they should have been fined much more. When you try and screw people over, karma will come back to get you. And at this rate, karma will be all over Apple for it's crappy handling of this and numbers other cases.
  10. Akiainavas macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2018

    The same applies to EU laws and yet some Apple apologists here are saying multi-billion corporations should be able to get away with paying no taxes and ireland should be free to use the benefits of the single market without adhering to its rules because “it’s a free country”.

    I completely agree with you. If they don’t like the laws - abandon the market and lose the revenue. With that attitude though, Apple’s empire will crumble really quickly
  11. cube macrumors P6

    May 10, 2004
    Do you like class actions where lawyers get millions and victims $10?
  12. chineseguy38 macrumors regular

    Sep 14, 2012
    I really hope Apple will put out their business from Australia.
  13. rebe1 macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2012
    Except most third party repair shops do not know what they're doing, and Apple is protecting us from ourselves...

    The last time I've used a third party repair shop to replace a screen, they broke the proximity sensor as well as glued the screen back together instead of using the proper seals. Luckily that time for me, Apple replaced my phone for free, because they could not take the screen off property to change the battery (on the 6s), but they warned me that I should be careful about third party repairs in the future.

    Plus the replacement screen that the third party shop replaced it with was not as bright and smudged like crazy compared to an Apple screen..
  14. Nahaz macrumors 6502


    Jun 2, 2010
    That's the grey area, and applies when not covered any longer by the Australian Consumer Guarantee Section 54 of the Australian Consumer Law.

    I have experienced 3 scenarios

    1. Some will repair, no questions asked
    2. Some will repair but charge the extra labor it took to fix the secondary fault.
    3. Some will say it's not what the phone came in for and there was no way of knowing a secondary fault would happen due to the first fault.
  15. coolfactor macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2002
    Vancouver, BC CANADA
    First, it's a refusal of repair *under warranty*, if I understand it correctly? Basically, Apple pays the bill to fix a phone that has been tampered with. In that vein, I side with Apple.

    Second, Apple corrected their policies and procedures in Australia. It's possible that they innocently overlooked that law in the country. You try operating a business in hundreds of countries and perfectly complying with every law that each country has. I'm confident that is extremely complex to manage.

    To fine a company *AFTER* they took corrective measures seems a bit shady to me. They should only be fined if they did not yet change their policies.

    Money grab, or hard-line cost of doing business?
  16. Icy1007 macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2011
    Cleveland, OH
    Apple could continue being a huge success even if they pulled out of every market except for the US, but they won’t do that.
  17. oldmacs macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2010
    Apple apologists "Apple should pull out of countries where they can't get away with doing anything they'd like, doesn't matter about the revenue". Also Apple apologists "Apple can't sacrifice any revenue for optimisation and software support for old devices".
  18. Mitochris macrumors member

    Feb 9, 2011
    If you drive too fast, get caught, and then slow down, you should not get fined??? No logic!!
    --- Post Merged, Jun 18, 2018 ---
    If a shop breaks your device, you complain at that shop. They broke it. They fix it. You are then free to go to a different repair shop for the first fault. Has nothing to do with Apple.
    Under warranty it might be different. If you come in with a software issue and the other shop broke the screen, Apple should charge you for the screen, which you should be able to claim back from the shop that broke it. But why would you go to a different shop if it is under warranty? Don’t you have to go back to the place you bought it at?
  19. Bawstun macrumors 65816


    Jun 25, 2009
    9 million is small potatoes compared to the billions they’ll lose for the battery and slowing down iPhone lawsuits issues, domestic and foreign. But even billions upon billions is still a small potato to the world’s first trillion dollar company (soon). Kinda makes you think a bit...
  20. hendot macrumors newbie

    Dec 4, 2006
    I’m confident that a company the size of Apple would have a local team dedicated to complience in each country they operate.

    The fact that they took corrective measures would have worked in their favour to reduce the fine to only A$9m. Apple are a repeat offender when in comes to consumer rights violations in Australia.
  21. H2SO4 macrumors 601

    Nov 4, 2008
    You could say the same about any product. I bet though when you need your boiler servicing or car repairing you don't go to the manufacturer.
  22. raybo macrumors regular

    Dec 4, 2007
    Saint Petersburg, FL
    These phones are a teeny bit more complex than a boiler.
  23. newjerseydamo macrumors newbie


    Oct 29, 2015
    The article kind of misleads about new replacements, as if it's Apple's idea.

    It was actually a direction from ACCC as a consumer here has the right to a brand new replacement, not a refurbished one.

    Which also sets a precedent as other companies do this, I.e. Sony and Microsoft for their consoles.
  24. rom3o macrumors regular

    Dec 22, 2014
    And I am confident that the richest company in the world could afford to hire some legal advisers for those tasks. It’s Apple’s duty to make sure their policies comply with local law when they enter a market. Ignorance is no defence.

    They only got fined for the time they violated the law, seems fair to me.
    Otherwise every company could deliberately ignore those laws as long as possible and later quickly change their policies to avoid legal repercussions.
  25. AndyMacAndMic, Jun 19, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2018

    AndyMacAndMic macrumors 6502a


    May 25, 2017
    Amsterdam, Netherlands
    Yes and that is why you bring your broken phone to a (third party) phone repair shop and let your boiler be repaired by a boiler repair shop. In both cases you can reasonably expect that both know what they are doing. Teeny bit more complex or not, the same principle applies.

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