Apple has reached an A$2.25 million penalty settlement with an Australian consumer right watchdog, after being accused of falsely advertising its new iPad as “4G” capable in the country.
In addition to the A$2.25 million (US$2.23 million) penalty, Apple is also expected to pay A$300,000 toward the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s legal fees, The Australian reports (via The Next Web). The ACCC filed its complaint against Apple in March shortly after the release of the new iPad.
Colin Golvan, a representative of the ACCC, described the penalty as “substantial” and hoped it would serve as a deterrent to the computer industry.
Even though an agreement has been reached, a judge will still need to sign off on it. Judge Mordy Bromberg has expressed concerns that he didn’t have enough information to ascertain whether the penalty is “appropriate.”
“At the moment on the agreed facts you put before me, I have no idea whether a consumer who bought the iPad, thinking it could connect to 4G but then realising that it couldn’t, has been impacted in any way,” Bromberg said.”
The commission has taken issue with Apple advertising the device as “4G” even though it was not compatible with the LTE networks in Australia. Apple initially defended it’s claim, saying that the iPad-compatible 3G networks operated by Telstra, Optus and Vodafone in the country could be classified as 4G. The company also revised its advertising to better inform customers about the iPad’s LTE functionality and also began offering refunds to customers who were not happy with their purchase.
Last month, Apple bowed to complaints and began advertising its “iPad Wi-Fi + 4G” as the “iPad W-Fi + Cellular.”