ACCC Takes Action Against Apple Over Misleading Consumer Guarantee.

Error 53 on IPhones occurs when users have had their iPhone repaired by a non-Apple authorized technicians and then downloading an update that ultimately ends up bricking the device. It apparently affects iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S and 6S Plus.

Now the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Australia’s top consumer watchdog, is taking on the tech giant for allegedly refusing to repair defective devices if they’d been repaired by an unauthorised third party. Even if the repair was for something totally unrelated to the bug such as a cracked screen repair.

The ACCC has announced it is beginning proceedings in the Federal Court against Apple Pty Ltd and it’s US based parent company, Apple Inc. The ACCC is alleging that Apple “made false, misleading or deceptive representations” about consumer’s rights under the Australian Consumer Law.

Under the Australian Consumer Law:
  • when consumers buy products, they come with a number of guarantees. Including a guarantee that they will be of acceptable quality and that they will be reasonably fit for any disclosed or represented purpose.
  • the consumer guarantees are in addition to any manufacturer’s warranty.
  • the consumer guarantees  are not limited to the period of the manufacturer’s warranty. In many cases, they will apply for longer than the manufacturer’s warranty.
  • if the product is not of acceptable quality or fit for purpose, consumers are entitled to remedies, which may include a refund, replacement or repair, at no cost to the consumer.

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said:

Consumer guarantee rights under the Australian Consumer Law exist independently of any manufacturer’s warranty. They are not extinguished simply because a consumer has goods repaired by a third party.

Denying a consumer their consumer guarantee rights simply because they had chosen a third party repairer not only impacts those consumers but can dissuade other customers from making informed choices about their repair options including where they may be offered at lower cost than the manufacturer.

Businesses also need to remember that consumer rights extend to any software or software updates loaded onto those goods. Faults with software or software updates may entitle consumers to a free remedy under the Australian Consumer Law.

The ACCC is seeking pecuniary penalties, injunctions, declarations, compliance program orders, corrective notices and costs.