AN AUSTRALIAN COURT has slapped Apple with a $9m (£5m) fine over the infamous 'Error 53' bug that borked iDevices that had been repaired by a third-party.
Error 53 first hit headlines back in 2016 after it was revealed that some iPhone 6 and 6S handsets that had their Touch ID sensor replaced by a non-Apple technician were being borked beyond repair by an update to iOS 9.
This didn't down well down under, and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took Apple to court back in April 2018, claiming the firm breached consumer law by telling customers who had suffered Error 53 borkage that it didn't have to fix their device if it had been earlier repaired by a third party.
Amid a sting operation carried out by the ACCC, Apple admitted that between February 2015 and February 2016, at least 275 Australian customers had been told that they were no longer eligible for a remedy due to their device being fixed by a non-Apple technician.
An Australian Federal Court ruled on Tuesday that Apple's refusal to provide repairs to customers who had previous repairs done by third-party shops violates Australian Consumer Law.
"If a product is faulty, customers are legally entitled to a repair or a replacement under the Australian Consumer Law, and sometimes even a refund," ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said in a statement.
"The court declared the mere fact that an iPhone or iPad had been repaired by someone other than Apple did not, and could not, result in the consumer guarantees ceasing to apply, or the consumer's right to a remedy being extinguished."
Following the ACCC's investigation, Apple has offered to compensate about 5,000 customers whose devices were disabled by the Error 53 bug. The firm also told the court that it would improve staff training, audit information about warranties and Australian consumer law on its website and improve its systems and procedures to ensure future compliance.
"We're constantly looking for ways to enhance the service we deliver and we had very productive conversations with the ACCC about this," an Apple spokesperson said in a statement.
"We will continue to do all we can to deliver excellent service to all of our customers in Australia." µ
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