Samsung Electronics is being sued by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on grounds of misleading customers by promoting its Galaxy smartphones as water resistant in nearly 300 advertisements across all media.

For instance, in the promotion of its Galaxy S7 range smartphones, Samsung expressed that-

You can carry the all new Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge anywhere you go, in the rain or under the shower even inside the pool upto 30 minutes or 1.5 meters under

Other instances include ads of various Galaxy smartphones depicting the phone being used at beaches and even in the sea, among which one has the caption “capturing your Sunday surf session at the beach”, and another depicts a man floating on an inflatable with a water-splashed phone on his chest.

ACCC has stated that Samsung had not conducted the prerequisite of sufficient testing to be aware how freshwater or saltwater exposure would actually affect their smartphones. 

Contradictorily, some Galaxy model users were advised by the company that the phones were unsuitable for beach or pool use.

The ACCC alleges Samsung’s advertisements falsely and misleadingly represented Galaxy phones would be suitable for use in, or for exposure to, all types of water … when this was not the case – Rod Sims, Chairman, ACCC

Moreover, Samsung repudiated warranty claims when customers damaged their phones upon exposure to water.

Samsung showed the Galaxy phones used in situations they shouldn’t be to attract customers. Samsung’s advertisements, we believe, denied consumers an informed choice and gave Samsung an unfair competitive advantage – Rod Sims, Chairman, ACCC

As stated on its website, Samsung has decided to back up its advertisements. The electronics giant has agreed to comply with Australian law and will defend the case. 

If the suit is successful it could result in multi-million dollar fines. Law breaches prior to September 1, 2008, can draw penalties up to A$1.1 million, and those after September 1, 2008, up to A$10 million, triple the benefit of the conduct or as much as 10% of annual turnover.

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