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Italy Fines Apple $12 Million for Misleading iPhone Water Resistance Claims

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Apple has been slapped with a 10 million euro ($12 million) fine by Italy's antitrust watchdog for unfair commercial practices related to its iPhone marketing in the country.

One of the Apple ads cited in the Italian watchdog's proceedings (credit: setteBIT)

Specifically, Apple is being charged for misleading claims in promotional messages about how deep and how long iPhones can be submerged in water without being damaged.

In marketing materials related to iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, Apple said its iPhones were water resistant at a depth of between one and four meters for up to 30 minutes, depending on the model.

However, according to the country's competition regulator, the messages did not clarify that the claims are only true under specific conditions, for example during controlled laboratory tests with the use of static and pure water, and not in the normal conditions of use by consumers.

The regulator also took issue with Apple's warranty terms, which do not cover damage caused by liquids. The authority considered it inappropriate to push an "aggressive" commercial practice highlighting water resistance as a feature, while at the same time refusing to provide post-sales warranty assistance if the iPhone models in question suffer water damage.

This isn't the first time Apple has fallen under the radar of Italy's antitrust watchdog and subsequently been punished. In 2018 Apple was fined 10 million euros (about $11.5 million USD) for "planned obsolescence" of its smartphones, following the regulator's investigation into reports of iPhone battery slowdowns.

(Via setteBIT.)

Article Link: Italy Fines Apple $12 Million for Misleading iPhone Water Resistance Claims
 
Last edited:

profets

macrumors 601
Mar 18, 2009
4,694
4,857
Many of these lawsuits are rather frivolous, but the water resistance aspect is interesting.

I believe other manufacturers do the same - they advertise certain water resistance, but then they can still deny warranty claim / repair if water sensor is tripped or water damage is found.

I’ve been burned myself for a repair on an iPhone where Apple claimed there was water damage but I know it had never been submersed or in water.
 
Comment

BaltimoreMediaBlog

Suspended
Jul 30, 2015
1,005
1,822
DC / Baltimore / Northeast
this is idiotic

No it's not. I fell down while swimming this summer and my iPhone only briefly went in shallow water and would not charge for days before being ok. I almost junked it as I thought it might be hopeless. So these waterproof claims are seriously bogus. And we're not talking meters here either. I'm talking only splashing inches into the water and that made it fail! to charge anymore!

And guess what the solution was? Spraying more water on the connector and then putting it back in the tray of rice! HAHA!
 
Comment

MaxBurn

macrumors 65816
Nov 25, 2010
1,341
171
No it's not. I fell down while swimming this summer and my iPhone only briefly went in shallow water and would not charge for days before being ok. I almost junked it as I thought it might be hopeless. So these waterproof claims are seriously bogus. And we're not talking meters here either. I'm talking only splashing inches into the water and that made it fail!
Exactly. Either the device has some sort of meaningful water resistance that a consumer will encouter like rain, sink splashes, even a falling in a pool sort of situation or you shouldn't get to claim water resistance at all.
 
Comment

xenitassos

macrumors newbie
Jan 27, 2012
8
40
This can’t be stressed enough. Face ID broke on my iPhone XS (still had warranty) because a glass of water fell on it. You can’t advertise improved water resistance as a selling point (they made a big deal of it in the XS reveal) and then deny warranty.
 
Comment

mazz0

macrumors 68020
Mar 23, 2011
2,284
1,721
Leeds, UK
It does seem like Apple should just accept any warranty claims regardless of water damage. I mean OK, they'll theoretically end up paying out to replace phones that were dropped to the bottom of the ocean, or left in the bath for a week, but the number of such occurrences must be minuscule, so surely it's with taking that utterly negligible hit to provide better support to customers with legitimate claims.
 
Comment

whirldy

macrumors 6502
Dec 20, 2011
311
121
Within
I always thought it was BS to claim any sort of water resistance and then deny any form of warranty liquid claim.
Exactly!!
Apple’s one year limited warranty clearly says:

Water and other liquid damage to iPhone or iPod isn't covered by warranty

Service for the liquid damage to an iPhone or iPod isn't covered by the Apple One-Year Limited Warranty.

Yet, there’s all this explicit talk about iPhone’s ability to endure water down to a depth, limited to a specific duration of time!!
 
Comment

Crowbot

macrumors 6502a
May 29, 2018
525
1,998
NYC
No it's not. I fell down while swimming this summer and my iPhone only briefly went in shallow water and would not charge for days before being ok. I almost junked it as I thought it might be hopeless. So these waterproof claims are seriously bogus. And we're not talking meters here either. I'm talking only splashing inches into the water and that made it fail! to charge anymore!

And guess what the solution was? Spraying more water on the connector and then putting it back in the tray of rice! HAHA!

My guess is that water got into the Lightning connector and that's why it wouldn't charge immediately. It needed to dry out. The fact that it didn't fail outright is a mark of water resistance. JMHO.
 
Comment

legatoboy

macrumors member
May 12, 2007
30
18
Many of these lawsuits are rather frivolous, but the water resistance aspect is interesting.

I believe other manufacturers do the same - they advertise certain water resistance, but then they can still deny warranty claim / repair if water sensor is tripped or water damage is found.

I’ve been burned myself for a repair on an iPhone where Apple claimed there was water damage but I know it had never been submersed or in water.
My iPhone 7 plus is supposed to be water resistance. I rinsed it under the tap lightly to clean off dirt on screen. It gets water in immediately and screen/touched got ruined. I never believe in Apple or any vendors claim on water resistance any more. I continue to use that **** and refuse to pay for another one as long as I can.
 
Comment

MaxBurn

macrumors 65816
Nov 25, 2010
1,341
171
When we look at other things in the industry like old mechanical watches they make some tall claims. For example the Rolex submariner has some high ratings, then you look at the GMT version and it doesn't make nearly the same claims despite having all the same hardware. Turns out the case is lighter and thinner offering less crush resistance so it can't go as deep but it sure can take a splash just fine.

Either over engineer it and make safe claims that can be backed up or GTFO.
 
Comment

Jony Ive and Co.

macrumors regular
Jul 9, 2020
172
213
Ahhh water resistance is a really good feature of phones. Never had any water resistance problems on my iPhone, despite me sometimes splashing/ lightly submerging it in water (eg to wash it)
I found Apple's marketing to be quite modest and iPhone water resistance is actually better than they advertise
 
Comment

laptech

macrumors 6502a
Apr 26, 2013
645
919
Earth
Apple will now update the warranty small print to say:

25.1a Device not covered if the following occurs:
dropped in:
The sea
The sink
The bath
The toilet
Any type of swimming or paddling pool.
A lake
A river
A stream
A waterfall
A pool of water (see exceptions)
A puddle of water (see exceptions)
A bucket of water (see exceptions)
Any liquid not listed in exceptions

25.1b Device not covered if the following occurs:
covered or splashed in:
Tea
Coffee
Wines & Spirits
Alcohol
Soft drinks / Soda's
Milkshakes
Water (see exceptions)
Any liquids not listed in the exceptions

26.1 Exceptions
Your iphone is covered under this agreement if dropped in or splashed with the following liquids:

Static Water
Pure Water


Watch this space with regards to the warranty agreement :):)
 
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