Samsung accused of false claims about smartphone water resistance

Samsung has been making water-resistant phones for a while now. The Galaxy S5 from 2014 had an IP67 rating and could withstand being submerged for up to 30 minutes in depths of 1 meter or less. The Galaxy S7 was its first IP68 phone which can withstand being submerged in up to 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes. All of its flagship phones have kept the same IP rating since.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has taken issue with Samsung’s claims. The consumer watchdog says that Samsung has made “false, misleading and deceptive” claims in advertising the water resistance of several Galaxy smartphones. Therefore, it has decided to take Samsung to Federal Court.

Samsung accused of misleading customers

As we have previously explained, phones with an IP-rating are water resistant, not waterproof. There are certain limitations that must be kept in mind. Furthermore, an IP68 rating certifies that the device can be submerged in 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes. However, the official classification mentions that it must be fresh water since the tests for assigning these ratings are conducted in lab conditions. The devices are not tested in a swimming pool or the beach.

The ACCC’s issue is that Samsung’s advertisements show that the devices will be fine with exposure to all types of water, including ocean water and swimming pools, and that they “would not be affected by such exposure to water for the life of the phone.” The claim here is that Samsung showed people in its ads using the devices in pools and beaches even though the IP68 certification explicitly mentions fresh water. It has collected 300 examples of such ads.

The consumer watchdog adds that Samsung has denied warranty claims for customers whose phones were damaged after being used in water. It then points out that Samsung’s own website mentions that the new Galaxy S10 series is “not advised for beach or pool use.” Thus the ACCC is now initiating court action against Samsung and will be seeking penalties.

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

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