Samsung Australia Admits to Misleading Buyers About Water-Resistance Level of Galaxy Phones

Updated: Jun 27

Samsung Australia is in hot water after allegedly falsely advertising a key selling feature in some of its smartphones.

Screenshot from Samsung water-resistance ad. Credit: Samsung

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has now fined the regional unit of the South Korean electronics giant A$14 million in penalties for nine specific advertisements that have been cited as misleading, as Reuters reports. The lawsuit was first filed in 2019.


The company, as the ACCC claims, ran in-store and social media materials between March 2016 and October 2018 promoting how certain Galaxy-branded smartphones possessed a level of water resistance that allowed them to be used in pools or seawater. That, however, was apparently not true for the actual product, with regulators reportedly receiving hundreds of complaints from owners who said their smartphones stopped functioning after being exposed to water.


Samsung has since admitted to the false advertisement accusations and agreed to pay the fine, but noted in a statement how this was not an issue in newer Galaxy models.


“Many consumers who purchased a Galaxy phone may have been exposed to the misleading ads before they made their decision to purchase a new phone," said ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb.


This isn't the first time Samsung was accused of false advertising. In France, the company is similarly being indicted for deceptive practices. However, instead of its products, the focus of the complaint this time is over its corporate ethics pledges.

Samsung workers at the company's Vietnam plant. Credit: Samsung Rumors

According to France 24, two non-profit organisations in 2018, Sherpa and ActionAid France, accused the local subsidiary of Samsung as well as Samsung itself of human rights violations, including underage labour. The two groups found from reported visits to Samsung’s factories in China, South Korea and Vietnam that it was employing children under the age of 16. They also said the company practised abusive working hours and put workers in danger.


Samsung has denied the allegations and maintains that it applies a strict global code of conduct when it comes to anything related to forced labour or wage exploitation, among other issues.

 
  • The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has fined Samsung Australia A$14 million in penalties for nine specific advertisements that falsely advertised a water-resistance feature in the company's Galaxy smartphones.

  • The regulator reportedly received hundreds of complaints from owners who said their smartphones stopped functioning after being exposed to water.

  • Samsung has since admitted to the false advertisement accusations and agreed to pay the fine, but noted in a statement how this was not an issue in newer Galaxy models.

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