Samsung In Court Over Misleading 'Waterproof' Advertising

Samsung is in hot water after allegedly misleading consumers as to the water resistance of its 'Galaxy' phones.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have taken Samsung to court for misleading and deceptive imagery used in advertising its Galaxy handset, which shows the phone being used in pools and oceans.

Samsung has been using ads implying water resistance since February 2016, with wide distribution across social media, online platforms, TV, billboards and other media.

Samsung imagery. Source: ACCC.

The problem, according to the ACCC, is that Samsung doesn't actually know how exposing the Galaxy phone to water affects its usable life.

The ACCC claims Samsung is not aware of any testing regarding water resistance, and also holds the view that exposing the phones to any substances in liquid other than fresh water has the capacity to damage them.

Samsung states on its website the phone range is "not advised for beach or pool use".

Samsung Galaxy advertising. Source: ACCC.

Besides this, Samsung has also denied warranty claims to customers whose Galaxy phones were actually damaged in water.

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ACCC Chair Rod Sims said Samsung has "acknowledged that water resistance is an important factor influencing Australian consumer decisions when they choose what mobile phone to purchase."

Sims continued: "Samsung's advertisements, we believe, denied consumers an informed choice and gave Samsung an unfair competitive advantage."

More than four million Galaxy phones have been sold in Australia. The ACCC are now seeking penalties, orders for consumer redress and publication orders from the company among other demands as the case unfolds in Federal Court.

Samsung Galaxy advertising. Source: ACCC.

In a statement, Samsung said it "stands by its marketing and advertising of the water resistancy of its smartphones."

The company is also "confident that we provide customers with free-of-charge remedies in a manner consistent with Samsung's obligations under its manufacturer warranty and the Australian Consumer Law."

The ACCC's legal action adds to a growing list of PR disasters the Korean company has been forced to navigate in recent years, including problems related to its 2016 Note 7 exploding unexpectedly, and the screens of its much-anticipated Galaxy Fold cracking within days of use.

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CORRECTION: The original version of this article said Samsung has been accused of misleading consumers into believing the Galaxy was water resistant, rather than misleading consumers in advertising the phones as water resistant.