Samsung fined $14 million for phones that aren’t really water resistant

Samsung was fined $14 million by Australia’s consumer watchdog for misleading claims about the waterproofing of its phones.

Samsung claimed that its Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, A5 (2017), A7 (2017), S8, S8 Plus and Note 8 phones could be submerged in a pool or seawater in eight ads.

But Samsung did not disclose that the charging ports on the phones would corrode if they were charged while still wet.

Samsung paid a $14 million fine for the misleading ads.
Samsung paid a $14 million fine for the misleading ads. (Samsung)

ACCC President Gina Cass-Gottlieb said she has received hundreds of complaints.

“Samsung Australia’s water resistance claims promoted a major selling point for these Galaxy phones,” she said.

“Many consumers who purchased a Galaxy phone may have been exposed to misleading advertisements before making the decision to buy a new phone.”

Samsung claimed that its phones would work in water - but the ACCC found that its charging ports were corroded if recharged when wet.
Samsung claimed that its phones would work in water – but the ACCC found that its charging ports were corroded if recharged when wet. (Samsung)

She said many consumers have had their phones completely stop working after getting wet.

ACCC said that Samsung was aware of the port corrosion issues when it launched its advertising campaign.

Ads showed people swimming in pools and the ocean with their phones, touting their water resistance.

ACCC has received hundreds of complaints about Samsung's misleading advertising.
ACCC has received hundreds of complaints about Samsung’s misleading advertising. (Samsung)

Samsung admitted that its ads violated Australian consumer law.

There are over 3.1 million Galaxy phones in Australia.

People who have suffered damage to their phone after getting them wet should contact Samsung Australia.

In a statement to 9News.com.au, Samsung noted that the issue does not affect its current models.

“The seven smartphone models have been extensively tested to assess their water resistance capabilities prior to launch, including pool and seawater testing,” the statement reads.

“Phones would display a warning message to discourage consumers from trying to charge phones while water was in the charging port.

“The phones also had built-in systems to minimize the prospect of corrosion if the phones were charged while water remained in the charging port.”

The company said Galaxy phone models released after March 2018 did not have a “material corrosion outlook”.

“Samsung strives to provide the best possible experience for all of its customers,” the statement read.

“Samsung regrets that any Galaxy users have experienced an issue with their device as a result of the matters covered in this case.”

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