Apple fined $6.8M in Australia after Error 53 problems

Apple has been fined $9 million in Australian Federal Court over charges is misled consumers about their warranty rights

Apple has been fined AUS$9 million ($6.6 million/£5 million) for misleading Australian consumers about their right to get faulty iPhone and iPad devices repaired.

The case, initiated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in April a year ago, concerned users of iPhones and iPads who complained about "error 53", which bricked some devices after they updated their iOS.

"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.

Apple made these representations between February 2015 and February 2016 - on its United States website, in-store and on its customer service phone calls.

Court said it was good to see Australia's Federal Court hold a multinational company responsible for compliance with local consumer law.

Nine million dollars is one of the highest penalties for a breach of consumer laws, the consumer regulator told the ABC.

Business Insider has contacted Apple for comment.

New software released for iPads and iPhones in 2015 bricked devices that had received third-party repairs
New software released for iPads and iPhones in 2015 bricked devices that had received third-party repairs

According to a report in The Guardian, the ACCC said that at least 275 Apple customers in Australia were facing the Error 53 problem and that nothing could be done about it.

The users were told by Apple that they were not eligible for a remedy if the iPhone or iPad had been repaired by another company.

The "error 53" disabled some iPhones and iPads after consumers updated Apple's iOS operating system.

A concern addressed by this undertaking is that Apple was allegedly providing refurbished goods as replacements, after supplying a good which suffered a major failure.

"Customers and consumers are free to have screens and other repairs done on their devices by third-party repairers, so long as that fix doesnt damage the underlying system of the phone", she said.

"We will continue to do all we can to deliver excellent service to all of our customers in Australia".

Apple's Australian subsidiary has also made a court enforceable undertaking. The company has also agreed to improve staff training, audit information about warranties, and notices about Australian consumer rights on its website.

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