The Australian Federal Court has ordered Samsung to pay a fine 14 million Australian dollars (US$9.7 million) for misleading advertising campaigns. The advertisements claimed that their mobile devices were waterproof and could be used in swimming pools or beaches.
The ads were in view of consumers between March 2016 and October 2018. In these, Galaxy A, S7 and S8 series were shown with the IP68 rating, which indicates that the device can be completely submersible in water for a period of time. In this case, they could resist up to 30 minutes, at a depth of up to 1.5 meters.
Nevertheless, this protection was only for fresh water, so it was not extended to seawater (salt) or chlorinated pools, as they are different materials. Even the official page of Samsung that talks about the IP68 rating recommends not exposing them to the water of swimming pools or beaches.
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“Based on test conditions for immersion in up to 1.5 meters of fresh water for up to 30 minutes. Not recommended for beach or pool use. Water or dust damage not covered by warranty”, Samsung notes on its website.
The head of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Gina Cass-Gottlieb, indicated that this “resistance” was one of the important points for customers to decide to buy a Samsung cell phone.
“Samsung Australia’s water resistance claims promoted a major selling point for these Galaxy phones. Many consumers who purchased a Galaxy phone may have been exposed to misleading advertisements before making the decision to buy a new phone.”, noted Cass-Gottlieb in the press release.
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Also, Cass-Gottlieb assured that the users reported the problems. “We reviewed hundreds of complaints from consumers who reported experiencing problems with their Galaxy phones after being exposed to water and, in many cases, they reported that their Galaxy phone stopped working completely”, he added.
The part of the cell phones that seems to malfunction in this case is the charging point. If the mobile is used in salty or chlorinated water, and then charged without completely drying, it may cause corrosion.. Because water enters the device, it is almost impossible for the user to know if it is completely dry or not.