One of the notable names in the global domain of technology is Apple which is known especially for its innovative products. However, the company has been embroiled in a controversy as it has tricked multiple Australian customers with the Error 53 bug that infected the various iPhones and iPads in a software update.
The Federal Court of Australia has imposed a fine of AU$9 million on the technology firm in response to the lawsuit filed against the company by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
According to the Commissioner of ACCC, Sarah Court, the customers were not allowed the privilege of remedy by Apple simply on the grounds of unauthorized repairs in the device which also include minor repairs such as replacement of cracked screen which is a common requirement in iPhone or iPad. Therefore such consumers were refused any sort of remedy because of third-party repairs.
The ACCC presented its argument before the court that customers have the privilege of replacing screens and making minor repairs through third parties with the condition that the repair does not affect the underlying system of the device.
The unprecedented fine against Apple have the potential for ramifications in the long term as during this case the court identified that Australian customers are legally entitled to device repairs by the third party without voiding warranties alongside requesting for brand new devices upon replacement rather than obtaining refurbished models.
The penalty imposed by the court is identified in the aftermath of a bitter conflict between Apple and the ACCC in which the latter was criticized for using deceptive techniques for obtaining evidence through a senior investigator who posed as a customer wanting an iPhone repair.
The problems occurred in the period of February 2015 and February 2016 during which software update issued by Apple brought all the devices to a standstill which were detected to be repaired by a third party. The devices were made non-functional, and the photos, messages, documents and other data could not be retrieved as a result of this event. During this time Apple issued an official statement which classified Error 53 as an outcome of security checks tailored specifically for customers.
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However, the Apple Australian stores refused to address the claims stating that they could not get repairs or replacements because of third-party repairs. Therefore Apple has also committed to provide compensation to the affected customers, improve training of staff as well as procedures and warranty systems alongside reviewing warranty information on official websites of Apple.