A federal judge in Australia says that $9 million penalty imposed on Apple for deceiving Australian customers is “loose change” and unlikely to deter future misconduct, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
An Australian court has ruled that the Cupertino, California-based company misled at least 275 customers by telling them it wasn’t obliged to fix a software fault if a third party had worked on their device. Justice Michael Lee, who handed down the judgment in the Federal Court this week, says the settlement, despite being “very significant” under Australian Consumer Law “does not impose a sting or burden” that would deter Apple’s conduct, which was found misleading or deceptive, or likely to mislead or deceive.
The court action was begun by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) after it received complaints about ‘error 53’, which disabled some Apple devices after an operating system update was downloaded. The ACCC says the tech giant violated Australia’s consumer law by shutting down or “bricking” the devices with an iOS update, then telling customers the company wouldn’t fix the problem at no cost because their devices had been previously serviced by Apple.
”Consumer guarantee rights under the Australian Consumer Law exist independently of any manufacturers warranty and are not extinguished simply because a consumer has goods repaired by a third party,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said. “Denying a consumer their consumer guarantee rights simply because they had chosen a third party repairer not only impacts those consumers but can dissuade other customers from making informed choices about their repair options including where they may be offered at lower cost than the manufacturer.”