Samsung charged for allegedly misleading Galaxy promises

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Galaxy-S10-water
Samsung shows its phones being used in pools, but its warranty won’t cover that.
Photo: Samsung

Samsung has been charged by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for allegedly making false promises about its incredibly popular Galaxy S smartphones.

The watchdog says Samsung marketing made misleading representations about smartphone water-resistance.

The South Korean company depicted its devices being used in swimming pools and on the beach — then reportedly turned down warranty claims from customers who suffered water damage when using their phones in similar environments.

Samsung was one of the first smartphone vendors to embrace water-resistant designs. Its most recent flagships boast IP68 certification, which means they should be able to withstand submergence in up to 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes or less.

Samsung highlighted this to consumers with advertisements showing its Galaxy handsets in various wet environments. After reviewing over 300 of those ads, the ACCC has determined that Samsung misled customers and encouraged them to use its phones in situations they shouldn’t be used in.

Don’t follow Samsung’s example

“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,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“Samsung showed the Galaxy phones used in situations they shouldn’t be to attract customers.”

For example, in its official introductory video for the Galaxy S10 — embedded below — Samsung shows the device being used to shoot selfie videos in the sea. But in the fine print on its Galaxy S10 website, Samsung states that the phone is “not advised for beach or pool use.”

And that’s not all. Samsung didn’t just mislead customers to sell phones, the ACCC says; it also went on to reject warranty claims from some customers who suffered water damage after using their phones in situations similar to those depicted in Samsung ads.

Samsung defends marketing tactics

Samsung obviously won’t take these allegations lying down, and it intends to defend itself in court.

“Samsung stands by its marketing and advertising of the water resistancy of its smartphones,” the company said in a statement to CNET. “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.”

Samsung goes on to say that customer satisfaction is a “top priority,” and that it is committed to the best interests of its fans.