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Apple has been fined $9.6 million in Australia for making false or misleading claims over faulty iPhones and iPads

AP Apple has been fined $9.6 million in Australia for making false or misleading claims over faulty iPhones and iPads

A court ordered Apple to pay a penalty of 9 million Australian dollars ($6.7 million), after it told consumers it wouldn't offer free repairs for devices that had become inoperable due to a glitch known as "Error 53".

The competition watchdog took Apple to court after investigating complaints about how the tech giant had told customers they weren't entitled to a repair or replacement after they had a third party fix devices that were disabled by an iOS software update.

"The mere fact that an iPhone or iPad had been repaired by someone other than Apple did not, and could not, result in the consumer guarantees ceasing to apply", ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said in a statement.

Users complained Apple is denying them any of kind of solution, saying their devices have received unauthorized repairs.

Customers were informed on the Apple's USA website, in Apple Australia stores and over its customer service phone calls.

The court also held the Apple parent company, Apple US, responsible for the conduct of its Australian subsidiary.

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Opposition spokesman on competition and productivity Andrew Leigh again called for increased fines for breaches of consumer law.

After an iOS update back in 2015, "Error 53" caused some Apple devices to freeze up.

Prior to the decision, Federal Court judge Mark Moshinsky had referred Apple and the ACCC to mediation over the matter in November.

But the important exception is that if the third-party damages the goods - whether it is a computer, phone, auto or any other product - the manufacturer is not obliged to offer any consumer remedies. "Global companies must ensure their returns policies are compliant with the Australian Consumer Law, or they will face ACCC action", added Court.

Apple has stated on its website that if you have your device repaired by an unauthorised third party, it will not help if something goes wrong - such as error 53. "If customers would prefer a replacement, they are entitled to a new device as opposed to refurbished, if one is available", she said. Cupertino also promised to train employees about warranties under the Australian Consumer Law in order to ensure compliance going forward.

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