Apple hit with massive fine for misleading iPad claims

Apple’s been fined US$2.29 million for misleading Australian customers over the 4G capability of the iPad.

The company advertised the tablet as ‘iPad with WiFi + 4G’, despite the fact that it works on the 700MHz and 2100MHz LTE bands, and isn’t compatible with Australia’s only 4G network, run by Telstra and operating in the 1800MHz band.

Back in March, Apple was forced to offer refunds to Australian consumers after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took it to court over the issue.

This morning, the fine was announced, with Justice Bromberg describing Apple’s conduct  as ‘serious and unacceptable’, as well as ‘deliberate’. The ACCC says it’s pleased with the outcome.

“The $2.25 million penalty reflects the seriousness of a company the size of Apple refusing to change its advertising when it has been put on notice that it is likely to be misleading consumers,” says chairman Rod Sims.

“The Federal Court has again recognized the need to protect consumers from misleading advertising in the telecommunications and related sectors.  This decision should act as a renewed warning that the ACCC will continue to take action against traders who take risks in their advertising, regardless of their size.”

Similar concerns about Apple’s advertising have also been raised elsewhere. The iPad’s only compatible with 4G networks in Canada and the US, and consumers in the UK, too, have declared themselves disappointed and misled.

Apple now advertises the Ipad outside North America simply as ‘Wi-Fi + Cellular’. The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority has now given Apple the all-clear.