Apple Fined $9 Million for Misleading Some Australian Customers Over 'Error 53' Device Repairs

by

The Australian government today fined Apple $9 million for misleading some customers into believing they could not have their iOS devices fixed by Apple if they had been previously repaired by a third-party repair shop, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

Today's ruling comes after the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) launched an investigation into Apple after the ACCC received complaints over "error 53," issues.


Error 53, widely publicized in 2016, caused some iPhone 6 users who had the Home buttons on their iPhones fixed by a non-Apple technician using non-original parts to see their iPhones bricked following a software update.

When the error code first surfaced, Apple said that error 53 was a protective security feature meant to prevent "malicious" third-party components from potentially compromising a user's iPhone, but after public outcry, Apple released a software update restoring functionality to bricked iPhones. Following the software update to unbrick iPhones, Apple claimed that the error 53 issue was meant to be a factory test and never should have impacted consumer devices.

Amid error 53 investigations led by the ACCC, Apple admitted that between February 2015 and February 2016, at least 275 Australian customers had been told in store or over the phone that they could not have their iPad or iPhone fixed if it had been repaired by a third party, such as in the error 53 situation.

Apple's refusal to provide repairs to Australian customers who had previous repairs done by third-party shops violates Australian Consumer Law, according to an Australian Federal Court.

When it learned of the ACCC's investigation, Apple launched an outreach program that has compensated approximately 5,000 consumers who were affected by error 53. Apple's Australian arm is also improving staff training to make sure its stores comply fully with Australian Consumer Law, and Apple will now provide new devices as replacements instead of refurbished devices if a customer requests one.

In the United States, Apple was hit with a lawsuit over error 53, but it was dismissed after the company restored full iPhone functionality through a software update and reimbursed customers who had paid for out-of-warranty device replacements.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
28 months ago
Apple fined the amount of one Jony Ive bathroom break
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months ago

As an Australian: If Apple want to sell products and services in Australia they need to do so under Australian law. If Apple doesn't like Australian law they are free to stop selling products in Australia .

The same applies to EU laws and yet some Apple apologists here are saying multi-billion corporations should be able to get away with paying no taxes and ireland should be free to use the benefits of the single market without adhering to its rules because “it’s a free country”.

I completely agree with you. If they don’t like the laws - abandon the market and lose the revenue. With that attitude though, Apple’s empire will crumble really quickly
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months ago
As an Australian: If Apple want to sell products and services in Australia they need to do so under Australian law. If Apple doesn't like Australian law they are free to stop selling products in Australia .
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months ago
Apple apologists "Apple should pull out of countries where they can't get away with doing anything they'd like, doesn't matter about the revenue". Also Apple apologists "Apple can't sacrifice any revenue for optimisation and software support for old devices".
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months ago

It's possible that they innocently overlooked that law in the country. You try operating a business in hundreds of countries and perfectly complying with every law that each country has. I'm confident that is extremely complex to manage.

And I am confident that the richest company in the world could afford to hire some legal advisers for those tasks. It’s Apple’s duty to make sure their policies comply with local law when they enter a market. Ignorance is no defence.

To fine a company *AFTER* they took corrective measures seems a bit shady to me. They should only be fined if they did not yet change their policies.

They only got fined for the time they violated the law, seems fair to me.
Otherwise every company could deliberately ignore those laws as long as possible and later quickly change their policies to avoid legal repercussions.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months ago

First, it's a refusal of repair *under warranty*, if I understand it correctly? Basically, Apple pays the bill to fix a phone that has been tampered with. In that vein, I side with Apple.

Second, Apple corrected their policies and procedures in Australia. It's possible that they innocently overlooked that law in the country. You try operating a business in hundreds of countries and perfectly complying with every law that each country has. I'm confident that is extremely complex to manage.



To fine a company *AFTER* they took corrective measures seems a bit shady to me. They should only be fined if they did not yet change their policies.

Money grab, or hard-line cost of doing business?

If you drive too fast, get caught, and then slow down, you should not get fined??? No logic!!
[doublepost=1529385482][/doublepost]

I agree they shouldn’t deny completely but how does this work with warranty? Let’s say a different place did a repair and screwed up another part of the phone — is it on the original mfg to discover a means to find out if the failure is because of them or not to provide warranty? Or should OEMs just be allowed to deny warranty claims? This is an honest question by the way, not trying to bait anything just honestly curious

If a shop breaks your device, you complain at that shop. They broke it. They fix it. You are then free to go to a different repair shop for the first fault. Has nothing to do with Apple.
Under warranty it might be different. If you come in with a software issue and the other shop broke the screen, Apple should charge you for the screen, which you should be able to claim back from the shop that broke it. But why would you go to a different shop if it is under warranty? Don’t you have to go back to the place you bought it at?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Takes Legal Action Against Small Company With Pear Logo

Saturday August 8, 2020 11:09 am PDT by
Apple is taking legal action against the developers of the app "Prepear" due to its logo, according to iPhone in Canada. Prepear is an app that helps users discover recipes, plan meals, make lists, and arrange grocery deliveries. The app is a spinoff of "Super Healthy Kids," and the founders claim that they are facing litigation from Apple. Apple reportedly takes issue with Prepear's logo, ...

Kuo: Global iPhone Shipments Could Decline Up to 30% If Apple Forced to Remove WeChat From App Store [Updated x2]

Sunday August 9, 2020 10:17 pm PDT by
In a worst-case scenario, Apple's annual global iPhone shipments could decline by 25–30% if it is forced to remove WeChat from its App Stores around the world, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo viewed by MacRumors. The removal could occur due to a recent executive order aiming to ban U.S. transactions with WeChat and its parent company Tencent. Kuo lays out...

iPhone Maker Foxconn Says China's 'Days as the World's Factory Are Done'

Wednesday August 12, 2020 7:55 am PDT by
China will no longer be the world's manufacturing epicenter going forward, according to Apple's largest supply chain partner Foxconn, which has been gradually expanding its operations in other countries amid the U.S.-China trade war. "No matter if it's India, Southeast Asia or the Americas, there will be a manufacturing ecosystem in each," said Foxconn chairman Young Liu, according to Bloombe...

Google Maps Debuts New Apple Watch App and CarPlay Features

Monday August 10, 2020 9:16 am PDT by
Google today announced the launch of several features for Google Maps on Apple products, including new CarPlay functionality and a new Google Maps app that works on Apple Watch. The new Google Maps app for Apple Watch works similarly to the iOS app, allowing Apple Watch owners to get directions for a car, bike, public transit, or on foot. The app supports estimated arrival times and...

Apple May Release 4G-Only iPhone 12 in Early 2021

Tuesday August 11, 2020 5:28 am PDT by
In a research note shared by Business Insider, Wedbush Securities analysts said that Apple may release a cheaper iPhone 12 in early 2021 with no 5G connectivity. Wedbush initially believed Apple would launch a mix of 4G and 5G iPhone 12 models this fall. Following re-examination of Asian supply chains, analysts Daniel Ives, Strecker Backe, and Ahmad Khalil revised the predictions,...

iPad Pro Keyboard Comparison: Logitech's $160 Folio Touch vs. Apple's $300 Magic Keyboard

Tuesday August 11, 2020 2:11 pm PDT by
Logitech recently debuted the Folio Touch, a keyboard and trackpad case designed for the 11-inch iPad Pro that serves as an alternative to the Magic Keyboard. In our latest YouTube video, we compare the $160 Folio Touch to Apple's $300 Magic Keyboard to see which is better. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Logitech is selling the Folio Touch for $160, while Apple's...

Foxconn Reportedly Begins Seasonal Hiring Spree for iPhone 12 Production

Monday August 10, 2020 7:03 am PDT by
Apple's largest manufacturing partner Foxconn has begun its seasonal hiring spree to assist with iPhone 12 production, offering employees who recruit qualified applicants up to a 9,000 yuan bonus, according to Chinese media reports. As usual, Foxconn needs as many hands on deck as possible at its factory in Zhengzhou, China to assist with mass production of the upcoming iPhones. Apple is...

Apple Seeds First Public Beta of watchOS 7 to Public Beta Testers

Monday August 10, 2020 10:33 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the first public beta of an upcoming watchOS 7 update to public beta testers, one week after seeding the fourth beta to developers and a month and a half after the Worldwide Developers Conference. The update can be downloaded after installing the proper profile from Apple's Public Beta website. watchOS 7 should not be installed on a primary device as it is still an early...

Apple Watch Likely to Adopt MicroLED Display Technology in 3-4 Years

Monday August 10, 2020 2:55 am PDT by
This year's Apple Watch Series 6 is expected to feature an OLED screen like previous models, but a future model is likely to be the first Apple product to adopt MicroLED display technology, albeit not for another three to four years. That's the main takeaway reading between the lines of comments made by the chairman of Epistar, Taiwan's top LED producer, which is reportedly working on a...

Parallels Desktop 16 Brings macOS Big Sur Support, Multi-Touch Gestures, 20% Faster DirectX, and More

Tuesday August 11, 2020 2:17 am PDT by
Parallels Desktop 16 released today, bringing some notable new features and performance enhancements to the virtualization software, including full support for macOS Big Sur. When Apple introduced macOS Big Sur, it ended support for the third-party kernel extensions that previous versions of Parallels were built on. That forced the developers to re-engineer the virtualization software from the ...