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Apple Fined €10M Over Misleading iPhone Water-Resistance Claims

The AGCM slapped a fine on Apple for not covering its 'water-resistant' phones for water

Italy has fined Apple €10 million (approximately $12M) for misleading claims about the iPhone's water resistance, the BBC reports.

The fine came after the national competition authority, AGCM, tested Apple's claims and found that they did not hold up under real-world conditions.

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'Water-resistant' devices, no water damage cover

Apple's advertising claimed that iPhones are water-resistant at a depth of up to 13 feet (4m) for 30 minutes.

The national competition authority, AGCM, found that Apple's claims of water-resistance were only valid with pure water in laboratory conditions.

AGCM also described the fact that Apple does not cover water damage under warranty, despite claims of water resistance, as an "aggressive" practice.

The authority ruled that the advertising, which showed iPhones coming into contact with water, was misleading.  

As the BBC points out, Apple has always advised against fully submerging the iPhone underwater in its small print.

'Aggressive commercial practices'

As Apple's small print also says that the iPhone is not covered under warranty for liquid damage, the Italian authority rules that this broke articles 24 and 25 of the consumer code — covering "aggressive commercial practices" and "coercion or undue influence" respectively.

Specifically, AGCM objected to the fact that the guarantee didn't apply to something that had been marketed as a key feature of the phone. It said that fine print could not be used by Apple to circumvent obligations when a product did not perform as advertised.

Apple was fined €5 million ($6 million) for each of the two infractions. For a company that reported a net income of €274 billion in the fiscal year of 2020, that is a tiny dent in its annual earnings.

This isn't the first — and likely won't be the last — time that Apple has been fined for its practices. Just this year, France slapped Apple with a €27 million (about $32 million) fine for the so-called planned obsolescence of its smartphones.

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