Australia fines Apple over “misleading” 4G claims

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has fined Apple A$2.25 million (£1.5m) for misleading advertising for its 4G claims.

The case follows Apple’s marketing campaign highlighting the iPad’s 4G credentials, when the tablet wouldn’t work on any Australian networks due to compatibility and frequency issues.

Despite complaints, Apple initially refused to change the advertising between March and May this year, which riled Australian officials and resulted in the fine.

“The $2.25 million penalty reflects the seriousness of a company the size of Apple refusing to change its advertising when it has been put on notice that it is likely to be misleading consumers,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

The most concerning aspect of Apple’s contravention… is the deliberate nature of its conduct

The ruling highlighted that the “iPad with WiFi + 4G” could not connect to any networks which have been promoted in Australia as 4G networks, in particular Telstra’s LTE network.

Months after complaints, Apple did change the marketing for the iPad in Australia and the UK, where it also faces an investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority.

But the judge presiding over the case also hit out at a perceived arrogance from Apple, claiming it acted deliberately in misleading consumers.

Justice Bromberg said Apple’s conduct was “serious and unacceptable” and that “the most concerning aspect of Apple’s contravention… is the deliberate nature of its conduct”.

Apple has not responded to a request for comment.

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