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
31 months ago
Apple fined the amount of one Jony Ive bathroom break
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 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
31 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
31 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
31 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
31 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

iPhone 12 Pro in Graphite and iPhone 12 in Blue Shown Off in Unboxing Videos

Monday October 19, 2020 8:20 am PDT by
While the iPhone 12 Pro does not launch until Friday, we now have an early unboxing video of the device courtesy of Twitter account DuanRui, providing a closer look at the shiny new flat-edge design and sleek Graphite color option. Ben Geskin re-uploaded the unboxing video to YouTube, which we've embedded below: Geskin has also uploaded an unboxing video of the iPhone 12 in Blue: ...

Kuo: iPhone 12 Pro Demand Higher Than Expected

Sunday October 18, 2020 10:39 pm PDT by
TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo released a research note this morning detailing what he's seen with the volume of iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro pre-orders in the first weekend of sales. Kuo had previously indicated that Apple's estimated shipment allocations for the new iPhone models placed the iPhone 12 at the top with 40-45% of inventory allocation (up from 15-20%). However, ...

Apple's New MagSafe Charger and Cases Begin Arriving to Customers

Saturday October 17, 2020 10:10 am PDT by
Apple's new MagSafe charger and cases have begun arriving to some customers earlier than expected, and images of the accessories have started to surface on Twitter. The photos provide a first look at the products in real-world use. As of writing, some MagSafe cases are also available for pickup at select Apple Stores in countries like the United States, Canada, and Germany. Filip...

HomePod Mini Cable is Non-Detachable, Ends With USB-C Connector for Use With Included 20W Power Adapter

Friday October 16, 2020 12:45 pm PDT by
While not detailed in the tech specs, MacRumors can confirm that Apple's new HomePod mini features a non-detachable power cable that ends with a USB-C connector for use with the 20W power adapter included in the box. With the switch to USB-C, the HomePod mini could potentially be powered by a wider range of devices and peripherals, ranging from MacBooks to USB-C battery packs with enough...

Samsung Mocks Apple for Ditching Power Adapters With iPhone 12 Lineup

Thursday October 15, 2020 11:51 am PDT by
Samsung on its social channels is mocking Apple for removing the power adapter from the iPhone 12 lineup and other iPhone models, pointing out the fact that the Samsung Galaxy smartphones continue to ship with a power adapter. "Included with your Galaxy," reads a Samsung Facebook post that features a picture of a power adapter. Apple notably is no longer providing power adapters or...

New Google App Feature Lets You Hum a Song to Search for It

Saturday October 17, 2020 4:05 am PDT by
Google has added a new feature to its Search app that allows you to hum a song that's stuck in your head, and then use the company's machine learning algorithm to try and identify it. In the Google app or using the Google Search widget, tap the mic icon and say "what's this song?" or click the "Search a song" button. Then start humming the tune for 10-15 seconds. When you're done, the...

Brazilian Certifications Suggest iPhone 12 Mini Features 2,227mAh Battery and iPhone 12 Has 2,815mAh Battery

Friday October 16, 2020 1:08 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone mini has the shortest battery life out of all the iPhones in the iPhone 12 lineup due to its small size, but Apple has not provided public information about the battery's capacity. A regulatory filing from Brazil, however, suggests the iPhone 12 mini has a battery capacity of 2,227mAh. The same regulatory information says the iPhone 12 features a 2,815mAh battery, which is...

iPhone 12 Pro Pre-Orders Already Selling Out With Delivery Times Pushing Into November

Friday October 16, 2020 6:35 am PDT by
Apple today opened pre-orders for the 6.1-inch models of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro through its website and the Apple Store app, and estimated delivery times are already slipping into November for select configurations in the United States. Customers ordering a SIM-free/Pacific Blue/128GB version of the iPhone 12 Pro, for example, are already facing an estimated delivery window of...

Hands-On With Apple's MagSafe Charger for iPhone 12

Monday October 19, 2020 11:54 am PDT by
Alongside the new iPhone 12 models, Apple introduced a MagSafe charger that attaches to the back of the iPhones using magnets embedded both in the charger and in the iPhone. It allows for speedier charging and paves the way for a portless iPhone in the future. MagSafe chargers are shipping out and are in some Apple retail locations now, and we picked one up to check it out. Subscribe to the ...

Apple Offering Free AirPods With iPhone 11 Purchase in India as Part of Diwali Celebration

Friday October 16, 2020 12:35 pm PDT by
Apple today launched a new Diwali promotion in India that will see the company providing customers with a set of AirPods with the purchase of any iPhone 11 model. The new iPhone 12 models are not part of the promotion. Apple is offering the standard AirPods With Charging Case free with purchase, but customers can choose to upgrade to the AirPods with Wireless Charging Case or the AirPods Pro....