ACCC Taking Legal Action Against Apple Over '4G' Claims On New iPad

You can buy the new iPad in Australia in two configurations; the straight Wi-Fi version, or the Wi-Fi+4G version — although as we've pointed out endlessly by now, it won't connect to any Australian 4G networks currently operating or planned for operation this year. The ACCC isn't impressed with Apple's efforts to make consumers aware of this, and has announced it's taking legal action against Apple.

The ACCC's view is that the fact that iPad boxes and advertising still bears the '4G' label is misleading and legally actionable — so that's exactly what it's doing.

The full release from the ACCC reads as follows:

ACCC to seek orders against Apple for alleged misleading iPad "4G" claims The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will be making an application to the Federal Court in Melbourne tomorrow at 9:30am for orders against Apple Pty Limited and Apple Inc (Apple) for alleged contraventions of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

The ACCC alleges that Apple's recent promotion of the new "iPad with WiFi + 4G" is misleading because it represents to Australian consumers that the product "iPad with WiFi + 4G" can, with a SIM card, connect to a 4G mobile data network in Australia, when this is not the case.

The ACCC alleges that Apple's conduct contravenes sections 18, 29(1)(a), 29(1)(g) and 33 of the ACL.

The ACCC is seeking urgent interlocutory relief to ensure consumers are made aware of the correct technical capabilities of this device.

Additionally the ACCC is seeking final orders including injunctions, pecuniary penalties, corrective advertising and refunds to consumers affected.

Consumers who have purchased or are considering purchasing an "iPad with WiFi + 4G" should ensure that they have a proper understanding of the mobile data networks which this iPad can directly access by a SIM card.

ACCC

Republished from Gizmodo


Comments

    Steve Jobs must be rolling in his grave ;-)

    I agree that the 4G marketing is completely wrong. But it is not just in Australia, it’s a problem around the world. Apple stupidly made a device that only works properly in the US on their frequencies and ignored the issue for the rest of the world. Surely it wouldn’t have been that much harder to cater to systems deployed in Europe and Australia.

    I was silly and rushed out and bought "the New iPad" on the release day without actually checking it out. I was really dissppointed with it. Hardly any different to my old iPad 2. Sure the screen was a litle better, but that's no enough to justify spending the money. Mind you, I'm getting old and need glasses, so perhaps my eyesight is not the best, but "The New iPad" didn't seem like a big jump in image quality.

    And the 4G thing just sucked. I returned it the next day and I'm keeping my old iPad 2. It's nice. Luckily, Apple was really nice and polite when I returned it, but for me, they always have been good with service; but it seems Angus doesn't always agree on that (looking at his next article) ;-)

    Oh really who gives a rats.

    Seriously, the 4G standard is diluted and vague at best, hence why it may work in overseas markets, but not in AU. Technically it IS 4G capable, it's just that 4G means about 20 different things...

      You don't see a problem with selling a product labelled "WiFi + 4G" in Australia without it being able to connect to any Australian 4G networks?

        Nope. It IS wifi and 4G capable. Up to the networks to make a network that is iPad compatible.

        This is chicken and egg.
        "Someone should make devices for this spectrum."
        "No no no, someone has to make the spectrum first then the devices will come."
        "But no we don't want to invest in a spectrum until there are devices that will use it."
        "But you cant sell devices that use that spectrum until the network is built!!! "

        Yawn.

        Next people will be suing car manufacturers for selling cars advertised with 200KMPH top speeds because no australian roads allow it to actually go that fast. Because that's all this really is, its a theoretical top speed, that it can't attain here due to various technical reasons. The device CAN DO IT, this country just doesn't have the means for it to do so.

          Ah, hate it when people use bad analogies. Do you actually watch TV/newspaper ads about cars these days. Most do not advertise "top speeds". That is not their selling point. Whereas for this iPad product, 4G is really heavily marketed in Australia. Although I do admit they have it in their tiny T&Cs it only works on certain 4G networks. Up to the courts to decide who's right who's wrong.

          "The device CAN DO IT, this country just doesn’t have the means for it to do so."
          So are you the chicken or the egg?

            Le Sigh.

            For starters, I'm just as advertising-bombarded as the next person, I've not seen a single ad from Apple touting its 4G capability. All the ads Apple are running on TV are focusing on Retina and iCloud. FWIW, I watch a bit of US streamed TV (legally, before I'm scapegoated), and the ads Apple are running in the US are the same, 4G ones are non-existant. Because lets be really honest, its NOT a compelling feature. It might be listed on the spec sheet, but again, see above.

            Cars are similarly advertised with spec sheets which list top speeds and 0-100 etc, when those figures are not actually possible on the (road) networks available in australia (see what I did there?).

            Lastly, anyone remember wireless pre-N? Where plenty of manuf's came out with devices like laptops that they marketed as Wireless-N compatible, before the spec had stabilized, so they only actually worked on a specific brand of router/base station? Guess where you found the specific warnings related to network compatibility on those? Thats right, the fine print, just like this.

          Both your examples are stupid and unrelated for numerous obvious reasons. I was about to write more but its not worth it.

            I find your argument compelling and wish to subscribe to some kind of newsletter eschewing your radical philosophy.

    Is this a case of Apple, or our limited telco-tech?

    A little from both when you ask me.

    Technically the iPad *is* 4G compatible, and in the US AT&T is calling HSPA+ '4G' too, which is, what, 14-42Mb downloads? Telstra's 3G network can do upwards of 12Mb in my experience. But HSPA+ is not LTE, which is the more common interpretation of 4G isn't it?

    The consumer issue is that I have heard more than one person in Aus talk about the iPad and talking about 'getting it with 4G'. That is definitely a problem because it doesn't run on the one network that currently has '4G' branding (Telstra).

    Will be interesting to see what happens. I think the fact that the '4G' definition is so screwed generally and is now basically a marketing term for fast*er* mobile broadband could work in Apple's favour.

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