Australians sue Apple for refusing to repair error

April 6, 2017 7:55 am

This image shows the logo at a store in the central business district of Sydney, , on April 6, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Hundreds of Australian consumers are suing US Apple company for violating consumer rights by allegedly refusing to look at or repair some iPads and iPhones previously serviced by a third party.
Australia’s consumer watchdog agency, the Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), announced on Thursday that it had filed a legal complaint on behalf of 275 consumers against Apple Pty Limited and its US-based parent Apple Inc.
Apple company “made false, misleading, or deceptive representations about consumers’,” ACCC charged.
If ACCC wins the case, each violation of Australian law can attract a maximum fine of 830 million US dollars, pending on the court decision.
The case followed an ACCC investigation into consumer reports saying users who had an “Error 53” that disabled their iPads or iPhones after updating their operating systems were “routinely refused” by Apple to have their devices looked at or serviced.
What is Error 53?
Error 53 is a security check system that needs to be upgraded time to time. It appears “when a device fails a security test”, according to Apple.
“This test was designed to check whether Touch ID (fingerprint-recognition feature) works properly before the device leaves the factory, and wasn’t intended to affect customers,” the company said on its website.
Consumers who had gone to non-Apple repairers for update complained that their devices had become useless.
ACCC chairman Rod Sims said companies must remember that consumer rights extended to software or software updates on goods they sell.
“Faults with software or software updates may entitle consumers to a free remedy under the Australian Consumer Law,” he said.
It is not the first time ACCC has locked horns with Apple.
In 2013, it worked with the watchdog over a court-enforceable undertaking after alleged “misleading representations” to customers that it did not need to refund, replace or repair some products even though required to under Australian law.
The tech giant, which could face similar legal actions in other countries, has made no response to the latest litigation.
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