The iPhone’s water resistance feature has got the company in hot soup in Italy. The country’s competition watchdog has fined Apple €10 million for its tricksy commercial practices on the iPhone’s water resistance feature.
The authority says Apple advertised several iPhone models (starting with the iPhone 8 series in October 2017 to last year’s iPhone 11 series) as water-resistant without clarifying that it was only under certain circumstances – up to 4m deep and for a maximum of 30 minutes.
Apple’s adverts showing the iPhone coming into contact with water were ruled out as misleading. Additionally, Apple’s warranty didn’t cover any damage by liquids.
As a result, the authority is fining the company for violating its rules twice through what it calls “aggressive and misleading” commercial practices. The fine follows numerous complaints from consumers in Italy over its aggressive marketing of the iPhone being water-resistant and failing to cover repair costs due to water damage.
The AGCM report says Apple’s marketing fooled consumers into believing that the iPhone was impermeable to water instead of water resistance – and only in certain conditions. According to the regulator, Apple didn’t give prominence to the limitations of its water resistance feature.
Apple’s decision to exclude its warranty from covering water damage was deemed a way to circumvent its consumer rights obligations. The report includes several complaints from different iPhone users who suffered as a result.
Italy’s competition watchdog has been pressing hard to fight consumer rights in the country, and this latest move to fine Apple is just one of them.
In 2018, it fined Apple together with South Korean tech company Samsung a total of $15 million for pushing software updates that could slow or break down devices.