Samsung accused of misleading Australian customers in its advertising about the water resistance of Galaxy phones

Samsung Galaxy S10. Samsung

Samsung Australia is being taken to the Federal Court by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for allegedly misleading Australian consumers by advertising that its Galaxy phones are water resistance.

Samsung Australia has denied the claims and said it would defend itself in court.

Samsung has promoted its Galaxy phones being used in swimming pools and oceans in beautiful adverts in Australia and across the world. It claims its phones are water resistant for 30 minutes up to a depth of 1.5 metres. The ads in Australia show a surfer pushing through a wave, a swimmer sitting underwater on a pool step reading his phone and people jumping into a pool fully clothed.

The ACCC is claiming these ads are misleading as the phones have not been sufficiently tested in Australia and the life of the phone could be affected by submerging the phone in water.

“Samsung showed the Galaxy phones used in situations they shouldn’t be to attract customers,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said in a statement on Thursday.“Under the Australian Consumer Law, businesses cannot mislead consumers about their products’ capabilities. Any attempt to do so will risk court action from the ACCC.”

The ACCC noted that these ads influenced the buying habits of Australians.

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

In the statement, the ACCC outlines the reasons for the case include: a lack of testing in water, including salt or pool water, claims that the phone can be used in fresh water, but pool or beach use is not advised, and a denial of warranty claims from people with water-damaged phones.

“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,” Sims said.

They also noted that Samsung phones were sold at a higher price due to the water resistance claims. The latest versions of the Galaxy, the S10e and the S10, sell for $1199 and $1349 respectively.

There have been four million Galaxy phones sold in Australia, according to the ACCC, and Samsung has sold 71.9 million phones globally in the first quarter of 2019, according to Statista.

In a statement to Business Insider Australia, Samsung Australia stands by its advertising and said it would defend itself against proceedings.

“Samsung intends to defend the court proceedings brought by the ACCC. Samsung stands by its marketing and advertising of the water resistancy of its smartphones,” a spokesperson for the company said.

“We are also confident that we provide customers with free-of-charge remedies in a manner consistent with Samsung’s obligations under its manufacturer warranty and the Australian Consumer Law. Customer satisfaction is a top priority for Samsung and we are committed to acting in the best interest of our customers.”