Apple will refund 'misled' Australian iPad 3 customers

Apple will refund 'misled' Australian iPad 3 customers

Summary: Apple said in court it will offer a refund to disappointed Australian buyers of the iPad 3, who believe they were misled by its lack of 4G connectivity.The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) brought the case to federal court, accusing Apple of violating Australian law, and threatening the company with massive fines or even a sales injunction.

SHARE:
11

Apple said in court it will offer a refund to disappointed Australian buyers of the iPad 3, who believe they were misled by its lack of 4G connectivity.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) brought the case to federal court, accusing Apple of violating Australian law, and threatening the company with massive fines or even a sales injunction.

The regulator sought "interlocutory relief", and wanted to make sure "customers are made aware of the correct technical capabilities of this device".

Apple's lawyer Paul Anastassiou told the court that "4G" was not a legally protected term, and that the networks in Australia were equivalent to foreign 4G networks.

He added that Australia's 3G networks are actually 4G --- at least, in U.S. terms, but not by European standards --- and Telstra's definition was not the be-all and end-all.

But refunds will be made available to any customer not happy or feeling "misled" by the 4G advertisement, after the company promised to email customers to notify them that the tablet was incompatible with Telstra's 4G network.

It's not clear whether Apple's next move in this legal game of chess will satisfy the court or the ACCC.

All this over a warning sticker saying that the 4G won't work in Australia, it seems, which as discovered is put on there by Telstra, and not Apple.

The problem stems because the 4G LTE-enabled iPad 3 only works across two AT&T and Verizon in the United States. Even though the two 4G services are the same and operate in the same 700MHz band, the two networks require different hardware, which forced Apple to create an iPad for each network.

Outside of North America, however, 4G LTE just won’t work, even those on compatible bands of 700MHz or 2100MHz.

For example, in the UK, the 700MHz band is reserved for free-to-air digital television, causingsomewhat of a panic amongst British telly watchers. In Australia, the 4G services operate on an 1800Mhz band.

Interestingly, according to the Australian regulator, it warned Apple before the tablet went on sale in the country, reports News.com.au. "They knew it wouldn't connect," ACCC barrister Colin Golvan SC said.

An Apple spokesperson was still unavailable for comment.

The case continues.

Image source: iFixit.

Related:

Topics: iPad, Apple, Hardware, Mobility, Wi-Fi

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

11 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • I will bet pounds to peanuts . . .

    . . . that no-one, or next to no-one, takes-up the offer!
    Wakemewhentrollsgone
    • That holds true with most situations like this

      as the chance of anyone returning something that are caught in the situation along these lines is very low.

      Just look at the many message boards in which someone has a complaint on a mid to high priced electronics item, where the item meets many, but not all of the person's expectations.

      Rarely iS the word "returned" used.
      :|
      Tim Cook
  • Return?

    Are they actually asking for a return or are they just refunding them some of the price of the tablet? That isn't real clear from the article.
    boomchuck1
  • Returns are a joke

    I have not seen Apple's Australian marketing. If it really did advertise the new iPad in Australia as 4G compatible, the perfect solution would be to require Apple to make good on the advertising. There are two ways to accomplish this.
    1. Require Apple to release a version of the iPad that actually is compatible with the Australian 4G network and exchange it to all who purchased the falsely advertised model at no cost to the people who bought them.
    2. Require Apple to pay for the creation of a 4G network throughout Australia that is compatible with the iPad within a period of one year, and extend the warranty on all iPads sold to start from the date the 4G network is online.

    Letting customers return the iPads they bought because of false advertising is hardly a penalty at all, it simply says "lie better next time".
    john-whorfin
    • Except they didn't lie

      They used the term 4G as what it means in the US.
      Michael Alan Goff
      • Wordplay

        They are supposed to use the local definitions.
        Natanael_L
      • Still not a lie

        Misleading? Sure.
        Michael Alan Goff
  • Don't want to play fair

    First England and now Australia, seems that Apple cannot want to learn play fair with consumers.
    lorenzosjb
  • How's this for fair?

    Since it is advertized as 4G, but can't connect to the country's 4G network, ban the sale of the thing in the country for the same amount of time they got a ban against the Samsung tablet.

    It's a case of fair play.

    'nuff said.
    bart001fr@...
    • I'd like that

      But it's a bit hard to argue legally...
      Natanael_L
  • No 4G? Big Deal...

    On the Telstra network, you still get Dual-Channel HSPA, with theoretical maximum of 42Mbit/sec.

    Seriously, how many people are going take their iPad in for a refund when it can to that, right now, across a far wider area than 4G covers anyway?
    Uthacalthing