Apple Fined $12M Fine Over Misleading iPhone Water Resistance Claims

Apple faces a $12 million fine from Italy’s L’Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato. This Italian authority ensures consumers are fairly receiving products in line with how companies are advertising them. So, what happened with Apple, and why are they under fire?

Apple claimed that a wide range of iPhone models are waterproof for up to 30 minutes. The authority cites three advertisements that make this claim. Among some of these models are the “iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 11, iPhone 11pro and iPhone 11 pro Max .” However, the Italian AGCM declared that this waterproof claim is misleading. They found that phones were only waterproof in lab conditions using static and pure water.

Moreover, iPhones do not get warranty service for water damage. Their official website confirms this.

Apple's official support page highlighting waterproof qualities in products.

Apple implemented a water damage detector inside their products, and can pinpoint when there is water damage. This makes it even more difficult for customers to get any compensation. The AGCM notes:

Furthermore, the disclaimer “The guarantee does not cover damage caused by liquids”, given the emphatic advertising boast of water resistance, was considered likely to deceive consumers by not clarifying which type of guarantee it referred to (conventional guarantee or legal guarantee), nor was it deemed capable of adequately contextualizing the conditions and limitations of the claims of water resistance.

L’Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato

The misleading claim, coupled with not offering warranty service, led to the $12 Million fine. Other countries might follow with this issue now brought to light.