Apple has been ordered by the Federal Court to pay $2.25 million fine for potentially misleading consumers over the capabilities of its new iPad tablet.
Judge Mordecai Bromberg ruled today that the technology giant’s branding of its newest version of the iPad implied it could connect with fourth generation cellular networks in Australia, when it couldn’t, which effectively was liable to mislead the public and breached consumer law.
Apple had previously agreed to refund customers for the blunder.
“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,” Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims said.
“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.”
In his reasons for judgment, Justice Bromberg considered that Apple’s conduct was “serious and unacceptable” and stated that “the most concerning aspect of Apple’s contravention… is the deliberate nature of its conduct”.
Justice Bromberg noted that the facts of the case suggest that “global uniformity was given a greater priority than the need to ensure compliance with the ACL.”
“Those who design global campaigns, and those in Australia who adopt them, need to be attuned to the understandings and perceptions of Australian consumers,” his Honour warned.
This article first appeared on SmartCompany.