Apple sanctioned for 10 million euros for unfair commercial practices

Misleading advertising and promotional messages regarding the water resistance of certain iPhone models

The Italian Antitrust Authority sanctioned Apple for 10 million euros for two unfair commercial practices in violation of Articles 21 and 24-25 of the Italian Consumer Code.

The first violation concerns promotional messages related to the water resistance of some iPhone models for a maximum depth varying between 4 meters and 1 meter and up to 30 minutes: these messages, however, did not clarify that the waterproof capability works only in specific conditions, such as the use of static and pure water, and doesn’t work not in normal conditions in which consumers use the smartphone. Furthermore, the disclaimer that “The guarantee does not cover damage caused by liquids” was deemed misleading for consumers as it does not indicate which type of guarantee it referred to, nor was it deemed capable of adequately contextualizing the conditions and the limitations of the claims relating to water resistance.

The second violation contested by the Italian Antitrust Authority concerns the post-sales phase, when Apple refused to provide warranty assistance for the seemingly waterproof iPhone models that were damaged by water or other liquids. This conduct would have hindered the exercise by consumers of the rights in the field of warranty recognized by the Italian Consumer Code.