Italy Issues $12 Million Fine to Apple for Misleading Claims About Waterproof iPhones

The Italian Competition Authority (Autorita' Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato-AGCM) fined Apple for $12 million for misleading customers into thinking that their iPhones are water-resistant. 

Yes, Apple might have advised not to swim or bathe with an iPhone, but recent findings reveal that iPhone 8 and 11, as well as its variants, were advertised as a waterproof phone. When contacting with liquid substances, iPhone's indicator will turn from white or silver to red. 

In real life, what Apple had heavily advertised is far from reality. The watchdog organization insists that the claims are only valid with pure water in laboratory conditions. Even worse, Apple's warranty does not cover damages caused by water or any liquid substance. 

As a document from Reuters noted, the authority characterizes this shady business move as "aggressive and misleading," issuing a €10m ($12m) worth of penalty. One example on the report was an iPhone XR, which failed to operate after contact with water, and Apple told the customer to purchase a new one instead with a slashed price. 

Another example on the report is an iPhone XS user, whose device is only one-year-old. The user reported that their handset has never contacted any liquid substance but refused coverage by Apple support. 

Apple is yet to make an official statement, and it has 60 days to appeal against the decision.

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Not the First Time

In case you don't remember, this lawsuit was not the first fine the Italian authorities had issued against Apple. In 2018, exactly two years ago, Apple hit a new low after Italy fined the tech giant for €5m ($5.9m), a scandal that many dubs as 'Batterygate.' 

As The Verge reported, Apple rolled out a new update for older iPhone models, which basically slows down their phones and drains their batteries, so users would be tempted to purchase a new one. Samsung was also subject to the investigation.

Apple quickly rolled out an apologetic statement about the "misunderstanding," saying that the firmware updates were meant to last the phones longer, even if it means slowing them down. 

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The same lawsuit was also issued in the United States. Apple agreed on a total of $500 million settlement for iPhone 6 and iPhone 7 owners for the same "Batterygate" scandal. Users of iPhone 6 and iPhone 7 will be eligible for a default $25 payout depending on how many devices they own.

Elsewhere in Europe, Apple had also been hit by the same lawsuit from the French authority. In March, France accused Apple of operating an antitrust violation along with two wholesale partners, Ingram Micro and Tech Data. 

The news doesn't get any easier, especially after releasing the long-awaited, most anticipated iPhone 12 and its variants.

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