ACCC: Samsung Electronics Australia to face Federal Court for ‘misleading’ Galaxy customers

Headshot of Miriam Fisher
Miriam FisherThe West Australian
Samsung Galaxy ad.
Camera IconSamsung Galaxy ad.

Samsung Electronics Australia will face Federal Court on claims it misled consumers about the water resistance quality of its Galaxy-branded mobile phones.

In campaigns published widely across social media, TV, radio, billboards and other media the electronics heavyweight has advertised its Galaxy phones to be water resistant to a depth of 1.5m for up to 30 minutes.

More than 300 advertisements made consumers believe their phones would continue working even if they were exposed to all types of water when that was not the case, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission alleged.

“The ACCC alleges Samsung’s advertisements falsely and misleadingly represented Galaxy phones would be suitable for use in, or for exposure to, all types of water, including in ocean water and swimming pools, and would not be affected by such exposure to water for the life of the phone, when this was not the case,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

The ACCC claimed Samsung did not have a reasonable basis for making the representations because it did not conduct “sufficient” tests to expose a Galaxy phone to water (including non-fresh water) to determine how it affected its usable life, and had denied warranty claims from consumers whose phones were damaged when used in water.

“Samsung itself has acknowledged that water resistance is an important factor influencing Australian consumer decisions when they choose what mobile phone to purchase,” Mr Sims said.

The Galaxy phones advertised as being water resistant were sold at a higher price than Samsung phones which do not have this feature.

“Samsung’s advertisements, we believe, denied consumers an informed choice and gave Samsung an unfair competitive advantage,” Mr Sims said.

Samsung has sold more than four million Galaxy branded phones in Australia.

Phones subject to the ACCC’s case are the S10e, S10, S10 Plus, S9, S9 Plus, S8, S8 Plus, S7, S7 Edge, Note 9, Note 8, Note 7, A8, A7, and A5, manufactured between 2016 and 2019.

The ACCC has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against Samsung Electronics Australia for breaches of Australian Consumer Law.

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