Apple proposes refunds for Australian customers unhappy with '4G' iPad [u]

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014


In an effort to head off a lawsuit from Australia's consumer commission, Apple has proposed offering refunds to consumers in Australia who may have been misled into thinking that the new iPad would operate at 4G speeds in the country.



Update: Apple has said it will email all Australian customers who bought the new iPad to offer them a refund, according to Reuters.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission warned on Tuesday that it planned to lodge a complaint against Apple over advertising for the third-generation iPad.



"The ACCC alleges that Apple's recent promotion of the 'new iPad with WiFi + 4G' is misleading because it represents to Australian consumers that the product 'iPad with WiFi + 4G' can, with a SIM card, connect to a 4G mobile data network in Australia, when this is not the case," the ACCC said in a statement.



An attorney representing Apple responded on Wednesday by revealing that the company is willing to offer refunds to Australian customers who expected 4G service when they purchased the new iPad, as noted by The Wall Street Journal.



According to the report, Apple senior counsel Paul Anastassiou said the company had also told the ACCC that it was willing to post disclaimers online and at retail locations informing customers that the iPad is incompatible with Australia's 4G networks.





Disclaimer for new iPad in Australia, via iFixit.







"In the company's defense, Mr. Anastassiou said that Apple had never claimed the device would work fully on the existing 4G network operated by Telstra Corp," the report said.



Apple's attorney also argued that Australian media had covered the fact that the new iPad would not work on Telstra's 4G network.



ACCC lawyer Colin Golvan said the commission had expressed concerns to Apple on March 15. The agency is hoping for a trial sometime in April.



The third-generation iPad went on sale first in Australia early on March 16 before launching in nine other countries later that day. Apple sold a record three million unit in the first weekend of the device's availability.



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • wurm5150wurm5150 Posts: 763member
    Well Apple has a 14 days return policy. If people fell for the belief that the iPad would work on LTE in Australia only to find out it doesn't they would've returned their iPads..some probably already did.
  • daharderdaharder Posts: 1,580member
    Got to read that fine print...
  • anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 17,431member
    End of silly story.
  • charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,083member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post


    Well Apple has a 14 days return policy. If people fell for the belief that the iPad would work on LTE in Australia only to find out it doesn't they would've returned their iPads..some probably already did.



    yep.



    As for the disclaimer basically Apple is saying "we stated that LTE only works in the US and Canada but we are happy to reword that statement if you believe your citizens are too stupid to understand that the original statements means it doesn't work in Australia"
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    End of silly story.



    Unfortunately I think those complaining are most likely just wanting something for free and have no interest in returning their iPads.
  • wardcwardc Posts: 150member
    This is so dumb, anybody with a brain would realize that the iPad is 4G capable, it has 4G modem circuitry inside, that means IF THERE IS a 4G network available, it will operate at 4G speed. A consumer should know that the Australian networks are not 4G LTE before they buy the iPad....they could take it on a trip to the USA anytime and use it on America's 4G LTE networks -- the iPad IS 4G-capable!! yes....but if the network infrastructure is not there to support it, that functionality will not work. This should be known from the start, this is NOT some con by Apple, it is just simply ignorant, uneducated consumers who don't know anything about electronics or wireless technology or how networks work and operate. The EQUIPMENT (towers, antennas, and routers) have to be in place for a 4G network to work, and that kind of network simply isn't being offered in Aussie-land yet. But the 4G iPad IS a 4G iPad true and true. No deception by Apple.
  • chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,527member
    Fine!

    We'll just take out ball and go home. You can just play with yourselves...
  • tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member
    Really. Such a frivolous issue. Why on earth would I return my iPad over such a stupid issue. It is obviously a ploy to try and discredit Apple in some way. Pathetic.
  • chainsawchainsaw Posts: 3member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by WardC View Post


    This is so dumb, anybody with a brain would realize that the iPad is 4G capable, it has 4G modem circuitry inside, that means IF THERE IS a 4G network available, it will operate at 4G speed. A consumer should know that the Australian networks are not 4G LTE before they buy the iPad....they could take it on a trip to the USA anytime and use it on America's 4G LTE networks -- the iPad IS 4G-capable!! yes....but if the network infrastructure is not there to support it, that functionality will not work. This should be known from the start, this is NOT some con by Apple, it is just simply ignorant, uneducated consumers who don't know anything about electronics or wireless technology or how networks work and operate. The EQUIPMENT (towers, antennas, and routers) have to be in place for a 4G network to work, and that kind of network simply isn't being offered in Aussie-land yet. But the 4G iPad IS a 4G iPad true and true. No deception by Apple.



    Australia has very strict legislation governing what you can and cannot do in the name of advertising. It's called the Trade Practices Act and operates at the Federal level. This isn't just a bunch of grumpy customers; on the face of it Apple could well be in breach of Commonwealth legislation.



    The ads Apple have been running here have clearly stated its 4G credentials which the average consumer (not just the "ignorant, uneducated" variety that you rather condescendingly describe) could reasonably expect to be of some use on the 4G network we do, in fact, have here. Instead, it of no use whatsoever at this time. Customers should be able to purchase a product or service and expect it to be able to perform as advertised. The 4G connectivity simply won't do that here so Apple, sadly, is likely to be in breach and, if so, will need to take remedial action.



    To use an analogy, how would a US consumer feel about being sold a PAL television set only to be told "it works fine in Australia"?
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by chainsaw View Post


    To use an analogy, how would a US consumer feel about being sold a PAL television set only to be told "it works fine in Australia"?



    That isn't an apt analogy since PAL isn't open to interpretation. Apple is not advertising "the new iPad WiFi+LTE" they are advertising 4G.



    Sure, there might be some law in Australia that says 4G can not refer to HSPA+ or DC-HSDPA and that only the ITU-R's new inclusion of LTE can be referred to as 4G, but that's a completely different and arbitrary ball of wax.



    A more apt definition would be if Australia decided that 1080p is not HD, but SD, and that anyone who sells a TV can't call it HD if it's not at least 2k resolution despite the definition being set elsewhere. They have that right but that doesn't mean it's not a silly and confusing choice.
  • sennensennen Posts: 1,426member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by chainsaw View Post


    Australia has very strict legislation governing what you can and cannot do in the name of advertising. It's called the Trade Practices Act and operates at the Federal level. This isn't just a bunch of grumpy customers; on the face of it Apple could well be in breach of Commonwealth legislation.



    So you haven't noticed the disclaimers all over Apple's advertising for this? They were the first thing I noticed. In this case the ACCC is wasting tax-payers money protecting no-one.
  • svalesvale Posts: 16member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by WardC View Post


    A consumer should know that the Australian networks are not 4G LTE before they buy the iPad....they could take it on a trip to the USA anytime and use it on America's 4G LTE networks -- the iPad IS 4G-capable!! yes....but if the network infrastructure is not there to support it, that functionality will not work.



    It's worth noting that each country's definition of 4G is different. Many of Australia's 3G networks could easily be regarded as 4G networks in other countries. Here, 4G is used to describe only an LTE network.



    We're fortunate enough that a carrier like Telstra has enabled DC-HSDPA on its 3G network as many of us are easily getting 20 Mbps down on the new iPad. But is this considered 4G in Australia? No.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by WardC View Post


    The EQUIPMENT (towers, antennas, and routers) have to be in place for a 4G network to work, and that kind of network simply isn't being offered in Aussie-land yet



    Wrong. There is a 4G LTE network in Australia and it's operated by Telstra. However, it does not operate on the same band as the ones in the US and Canada.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by WardC View Post


    This should be known from the start, this is NOT some con by Apple, it is just simply ignorant, uneducated consumers who don't know anything about electronics or wireless technology or how networks work and operate.



    Put yourself in the shoes of the average consumer. You have to realise that not every person is technologically clued into their surroundings. It's simple - look at all the TV ads, site marketing, etc., and you will notice that Apple did not do enough to make clear that the new iPad is incompatible with Australia's LTE networks. Fine print just isn't enough. And that sticker that AI posted in the original article was not placed there by Apple; rather, iFixit sourced it from a Telstra store on launch day who felt the urge to place that sticker there to warn its customers.



    Feel free to defend Apple all you want, but realise that there are laws in place, at least in Australia, that warn companies against deceptive advertising. And in this case, recent events speak for themselves. Apple has copped it on the chin and is prepared to remedy the situation.
  • dunksdunks Posts: 1,169member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by chainsaw View Post


    Australia has very strict legislation governing what you can and cannot do in the name of advertising. It's called the Trade Practices Act and operates at the Federal level. This isn't just a bunch of grumpy customers; on the face of it Apple could well be in breach of Commonwealth legislation.



    The ads Apple have been running here have clearly stated its 4G credentials which the average consumer (not just the "ignorant, uneducated" variety that you rather condescendingly describe) could reasonably expect to be of some use on the 4G network we do, in fact, have here. Instead, it of no use whatsoever at this time. Customers should be able to purchase a product or service and expect it to be able to perform as advertised. The 4G connectivity simply won't do that here so Apple, sadly, is likely to be in breach and, if so, will need to take remedial action.



    To use an analogy, how would a US consumer feel about being sold a PAL television set only to be told "it works fine in Australia"?



    Exactly. This is a regulatory body responding to a complaint, probably by another manufacturer (Samsung?). There's no need for anyone to call anyone stupid.



    These days it's not enough just to say "it's in the fine print". This is not a "buyer beware" market. The onus is on manufacturers to ensure their claims are not misleading.



    I was really surprised to see Apple didn't do more to clarify this issue on the box (just like they didn't do enough to clarify that Siri locations weren't available outside the US) but I don't see too many iPad's being returned over this.
  • ronboronbo Posts: 669member
    Every time this comes up, this thought goes through my head once again: I thought the whole point of LTE (long ago) was supposed to be how worldwide-compatible it was gonna be. What went wrong?
  • svalesvale Posts: 16member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    Sure, there might be some law in Australia that says 4G can not refer to HSPA+ or DC-HSDPA and that only the ITU-R's new inclusion of LTE can be referred to as 4G, but that's a completely different and arbitrary ball of wax.



    No, it's not a completely different and arbitrary ball of wax. Look at what you said a sentence ago...



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    Apple is not advertising "the new iPad WiFi+LTE" they are advertising 4G.



    Now put two and two together.



    Do you see how it can be a cause for confusion? Many Australian consumers who see 4G plastered all over the new iPad treat that as a tick for compatibility with Telstra's LTE network.
  • bewaterbewater Posts: 4member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by WardC View Post


    This is so dumb, anybody with a brain would realize that the iPad is 4G capable, it has 4G modem circuitry inside, that means IF THERE IS a 4G network available, it will operate at 4G speed. A consumer should know that the Australian networks are not 4G LTE before they buy the iPad....they could take it on a trip to the USA anytime and use it on America's 4G LTE networks -- the iPad IS 4G-capable!! yes....but if the network infrastructure is not there to support it, that functionality will not work. This should be known from the start, this is NOT some con by Apple, it is just simply ignorant, uneducated consumers who don't know anything about electronics or wireless technology or how networks work and operate. The EQUIPMENT (towers, antennas, and routers) have to be in place for a 4G network to work, and that kind of network simply isn't being offered in Aussie-land yet. But the 4G iPad IS a 4G iPad true and true. No deception by Apple.



    I suggest you do some research about Australian mobile network.



    "it has 4G modem circuitry inside, that means IF THERE IS a 4G network available, it will operate at 4G speed." This statement is simply wrong and let's get the facts straight.



    Australian network operator Telstra has a 4G network and it IS LTE, however the frequency (1800) is not supported by the modem in ipad 3 and that is why the new ipad does not have the 4G speed in Australia.



    Simply put, the new ipad has a 4G modem, but it covers all 4G bands.



    I think the advertisement of new ipad is misleading enough, combining the fact that it is advertised as '4G capable' and the presence of Australian Telstra 4G network, one would easily assume that putting a Teltra sim card into the new ipad will yield 4G speed, which is not the case.



    An average customer would not know and should not be studying the frequency bands before purchasing a 4G product, it is definitely Apple's responsibility to make things clear in the first place
  • svalesvale Posts: 16member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ronbo View Post


    Every time this comes up, this thought goes through my head once again: I thought the whole point of LTE (long ago) was supposed to be how worldwide-compatible it was gonna be. What went wrong?



    It always has been and still is an evolution of the technology and still operates on multiple bands in different countries.
  • mightymikemightymike Posts: 49member
    Customers have 14 days to return the iPad after purchase. How long does it take to figure it not 4 Gen (LTE) compatible.



    Apple took prompt action after being notified so what the Australian gov is doing is just a cheap shot at Apple for a few bucks.
  • periklenperiklen Posts: 1member
    ACCC is misguided in targeting Apple, it should go for Telstra and Optus for misleading advertising of a network where even the world's most popular 4G device does not work with their infrastructure.
  • skiracer1987skiracer1987 Posts: 93member
    nvm - delete
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