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BAD ADVICE

Warning for THOUSANDS of Samsung users as tech giant fined millions for ‘misleading’ customers – is your phone affected

CERTAIN Samsung smartphones may not be as water-proof as they claim to be – here's what you need to know.

Australia's Federal Court recently fined Samsung $14 million AUD (or about $9.7 million USD).

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Minsk, Belarus – March 27, 2020: Man holding in hands Samsung Galaxy s20 Ultra closeupCredit: Getty

Why? Samsung Australia ran a marketing campaign that misled its consumers, according to a report by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Several of the tech devices were marketed as having the ability to function properly after being completely submerged in a pool or seawater.

This false information was spread via a total of nine adverts that ran in Australia between March 2016 and October 2018.

The campaign was pushed across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, on Samsung's website, and in-store.

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Samsung Australia admitted to the false claims, and acknowledged that certain devices contain a material that becomes corroded and ultimately stops working if the phone was charged while still wet.

"Samsung Australia’s water-resistance claims promoted an important selling point for these Galaxy phones," ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said.

"Many consumers who purchased a Galaxy phone may have been exposed to the misleading ads before they made their decision to purchase a new phone," she added.

The ACCC filed hundreds of complaints from consumers who said their phone experienced issues or stopped working entirely after it was exposed to water.

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Which devices were affected?

The false or misleading claims were made about the Samsung S7, S7 Edge, A5 (2017), A7 (2017), S8, S8 Plus and Note 8 Samsung Galaxy phones (Galaxy phones).

More than 3.1 million of these Galaxy phones are sold in Australia, according to the ACCC.

The rating meant nothing

All of the aforementioned devices had a rating of IP68, which means you can fully submerge them in water for up to 30 minutes.

The phones should also be able to handle a depth level of up to 5 feet.

However, that rating only extends to freshwater – saltwater and chlorinated pool water are not included.

Despite Samsung Australia knowing this, their parent company, Samsung, still marketed Galaxy phones as being functional in pools and seawater.

"Samsung Australia’s ads promoting its Galaxy phones featured people using their phones in pools and sea water, despite the fact that this could ultimately result in significant damage to the phone," Ms Cass-Gottlieb said.

"This penalty is a strong reminder to businesses that all product claims must be substantiated."

"The ACCC will continue to take enforcement action against businesses that mislead consumers with claims about the nature or benefits of their products," Ms Cass-Gottlieb added. 

What about the United States?

In the United States, Samsung sold tens of millions of the aforementioned units.

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It's unclear if Samsung followed a similar marketing campaign in the US, but all of those devices also received an IP68 rating.

On that note, users are being warned to be diligent with their Samsung devices in order to prevent water damage.

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