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Australian Consumer Watchdog Sues Apple Over iPad Marketing 193

Posted by Soulskill
from the does-not-stand-up-to-vigorous-kangaroo-attack dept.
Fluffeh writes "Australia's competition regulator will today take iconic technology giant Apple to court for advertising its new iPad tablet as featuring '4G' speeds — which are not supported on Australian telecommunications networks. One of the key features of the new iPad is support for 4G speeds, however, the 4G speeds which the new iPad supports will not be available in Australia, with Apple's technical specifications page only listing it as supporting the 700Mhz and 2100Mhz spectrum bands, neither of which are being used by Australian telcos to provide 4G services. The case may be a bit shaky, though, as Apple does state in the fine print: '4G LTE is supported only on AT&T and Verizon networks in the US; and on Bell, Rogers and Telus networks in Canada. Data plans sold separately. See your carrier for details.'"
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Australian Consumer Watchdog Sues Apple Over iPad Marketing

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  • by whoever57 (658626) on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @10:36PM (#39492559) Journal

    It's like the release of the Ipone 4GS in the US -- the ads focused on SIRI, but when people complain, Apple then says "It's BETA". That's misleading and frankly dishonest, but probably legal in the USA.

    This appears to be just the same: advertise 4G, and in the small print, point out that you will probably never get 4G. It's dishonest.

  • by hawguy (1600213) on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @10:37PM (#39492567)

    The article says that the fine print may make the case shaky:

    The case may be a bit shaky, though, as Apple does state in the fine print: '4G LTE is supported only on AT&T and Verizon networks in the US; and on Bell, Rogers and Telus networks in Canada. Data plans sold separately. See your carrier for details.'"

    But why can the fine print supercede what's in the main ad? How can an ad for a 4G device in Australia be legal if that device will never be able to work in Australia? They can list the 4G for USA and Canada on the specs page. As another example, if an ad screams "Unlimited 4G data!!!" in large print, they shouldn't be able to write "Unlimited plans subject to data caps that we won't reveal to you and throttling back to speeds slower than 2G speeds" down in the fine print. If it says "Unlimited" in the large print, then it really should be "Unlimited". Fine print shouldn't be able to contradict the main body of the ad.

  • Media Watch (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @10:38PM (#39492577)

    ABC's Media Watch mentioned this as part of a larger look into media coverage of the new iPad release [abc.net.au]. Summary doesn't quite make clear that 4G is available in Australia, it's just that the iPad won't support it.

  • Re:Silly (Score:2, Interesting)

    by _xen (79742) on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @11:17PM (#39492897)

    The Crux of the matter here is that 4G is available in Australia, Apple just can't be bothered making the iPad compatible with the Australian Network

    Actually the fault for incompatibility lies with Telstra who chose a different band in full knowledge that it would be incompatible with the rest of the world, presumably for their own anti-competitive strategies. This is not to excuse Apple, whose advertising in the Australian context certainly appears unlawful (enough for the ACCC to take action, and they tend to know their consumer law).

    The crux of the matter is that Apple just can't be bothered making their advertising appropriate for Australian consumption.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @12:38AM (#39493281)

    Oh it gets even better than that, check out this apple page [apple.com] - which not only says "4G" but also lists Optus, Telstra, and Vodafone as offering compatible data plans.

  • by jimi1x (1105911) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @01:02AM (#39493369) Homepage
    A disclaimer in the T&S is not sufficient under Australian advertising laws. Under Australian law the product must work as the consumer expects, no the other way around. So a consumer seeing an iPad 3 with 4G would reasonably expect it to work on a 4G network. Putting something in the fine print does not alleviate a company of their responsibility. From what I understand our consumer laws over here in Oz are much fairer to the consumer than they are in the US.

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