Samsung taken to court for allegedly misleading customers on Galaxy S ‘water resistance’

Samsung’s flagship phones have been advertised as IP68 water resistant since 2016.

Josh Miller/Techhnews

In 2016 Samsung released its first water-resistant phone, the Galaxy S7. All of the electronics giant’s phones have since carried the IP68 certification for water (and dust) resistance, and have been advertised as water-friendly phones. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), an Australian consumer watchdog, says this amounts to false advertising, and on Thursday announced it’s taking Samsung to court.

There are two key components to the ACCC’s issue with Samsung. First, Samsung’s advertising indicated that submerging a Galaxy phone under water of depths up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes or less wouldn’t impact the device over the course of its lifetime. Second, Samsung advertised phones being used in beaches and pools, even though the IP68 certification only applies to fresh water. 

ACCC reviewed over 300 Samsung ads as the basis for its claims, it said.  

IP68 certified phones are technically water-resistant, not waterproof. The ACCC claims that Samsung has rebuffed warranty claims by customers who say their phones were damaged by water exposure. The watchdog also notes that Samsung’s own website claims the Galaxy S10, its early-2019 flagship phone, is “not advised for beach or pool use.” 

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“The ACCC alleges Samsung’s advertisements falsely and misleadingly represented Galaxy phones would be suitable for use in, or for exposure to, all types of water, including in ocean water and swimming pools, and would not be affected by such exposure to water for the life of the phone, when this was not the case,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“Samsung showed the Galaxy phones used in situations they shouldn’t be to attract customers,” Mr Sims said.

For its part, Samsung says it has noted ACCC’s accusations and plans to defend itself in court.

“Samsung stands by its marketing and advertising of the water resistancy of its smartphones,” the company said in a statement. “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. Customer satisfaction is a top priority for Samsung and we are committed to acting in the best interest of our customers.” 

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