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Aussie watchdog bites Apple for ‘misleading' 4G claims

Ipad seller could face injunctions, penalties and corrective advertising
Tue Mar 27 2012, 11:19

TABLET FLOGGER Apple is being criticised by the Australian consumer protection watchdog over "misleading" 4G capability claims it says are made in adverts for its new Ipad.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said today that it will make an application to the Federal Court in Melbourne tomorrow at 9:30am local time for orders against Apple Pty Limited and Apple Inc for alleged contraventions of the Australian Consumer Law.

"The ACCC alleges that Apple's recent promotion of the new 'iPad with WiFi + 4G' is misleading because it represents to Australian consumers that the product 'iPad with WiFi + 4G' can, with a SIM card, connect to a 4G mobile data network in Australia, when this is not the case," said the Australian watchdog.

According to the ACCC it is seeking "urgent interlocutory relief" to ensure consumers that are made aware of the correct technical capabilities of the device.

Somewhat worryingly for the US Ipad marketer, the ACCC added that it will seek final orders including "injunctions, pecuniary penalties, corrective advertising and refunds to consumers affected".

Australian consumers who have purchased or are considering purchasing an Ipad with WiFi and 4G should ensure that they have a "proper understanding of the mobile data networks" that the Ipad can directly access by a SIM card, the ACCC stressed.

Apple does offer a disclaimer on its web site, the same one that can be found about 4G and LTE on its UK pages. There it says that availability is dependant on local providers.

"4G LTE is supported only on AT&T and Verizon networks in the US; and on Bell, Rogers and Telus networks in Canada. Data plans sold separately. See your carrier for details," says its official information.

However, local service provider Telstra does offer 4g services in Australia, so if users miss this information, then it is possible that some confusion over local availability might arise. µ




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