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

post #1 of 127
Thread Starter 
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 ]
post #2 of 127
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.
post #3 of 127
Got to read that fine print...
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post #4 of 127
End of silly story.
post #5 of 127
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"

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post #6 of 127
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.

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post #7 of 127
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.
post #8 of 127
Fine!
We'll just take out ball and go home. You can just play with yourselves...
post #9 of 127
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.
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post #10 of 127
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"?
post #11 of 127
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.

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post #12 of 127
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.
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post #13 of 127
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.
post #14 of 127
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.
post #15 of 127
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?
post #16 of 127
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.
post #17 of 127
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
post #18 of 127
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.
post #19 of 127
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.
post #20 of 127
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.
post #21 of 127
nvm - delete
post #22 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by periklen View Post

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.

What? Are you being sarcastic?
post #23 of 127
Maybe the new iPad is in beta?
post #24 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by svale View Post

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

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.

You've proved my point. Again, PAL is very specific acronym. It can't be interpreted to mean anything else in regards to TVs. 4G can mean many things. My example clearly showed that an arbitrary definition like SD or HD can be moved by governments, telcos, consumers, etc.

If a colloquial definition of 4G refers to LTE, but not LTE Advance, HSPA+, or HC-HSDPA should Apple have to redo the wording and packaging for every... single... regional... usage to make sure it doesn't cross any toes? I think that's silly. By all rational definition of what 4G is and following the ITU-R's definition the iPad can connect to a 4G network.

edit: Or, lets look at that analogy from a different angle. If I'm in the US and see someone advertising a PAL TV on Craig's List, and I buy it. Now they clearly said it was a PAL TV and said in a footer that it would work in the US. Does that mean I should expect it to work in the US? Can I sue them for selling a me a TV that won't work in the US? That is like Apple saying that LTE will not work in Australia.

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post #25 of 127
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"?

very well put.
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post #26 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

You've proved my point. Again, PAL is very specific acronym. It can't be interpreted to mean anything else in regards to TVs. 4G can mean many things. My example clearly showed that an arbitrary definition like SD or HD can be moved by governments, telcos, consumers, etc.

If a colloquial definition of 4G refers to LTE, but not LTE Advance, HSPA+, or HC-HSDPA should Apple have to redo the wording and packaging for every... single... regional... usage to make sure it doesn't cross any toes? I think that's silly. By all rational definition of what 4G is and following the ITU-R's definition the iPad can connect to a 4G network..

I think you're missing the point. While you're correct from an ITU standpoint, 4G can be a variety of things, Australia is apparently very specific. They classify 4G as meaning LTE only and they are free to add such clarification within their borders. YOU may think it's silly to redo packaging or add extra clarification, but that's the cost of doing international business if you want to steer clear of any local legal wrangling, unintentional or otherwise.
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post #27 of 127
Now we can all sleep better at night, knowing that this precarious situation has been resolved.
Apple's move is brilliant! They're calling the bluff of anybody who whines or complains!

If somebody doesn't like the product which they purchased for whatever reason, or if somebody claims to have been misled by advertising, then just return it, problem solved. Go buy something else from somebody else, and go whine to them instead about something else.

Does the fragmented country that you live in have fucked up 4G frequencies, and you bought an iPad 4G specifically for that use? No problem, let's just chalk this down to a simple misunderstanding. Return it and the problem is solved. I'm sure that there are many other wonderful products on the market which will satisfy your needs 100%.

Is your iPad too thick? Yeah, I know what you mean, less than 1 millimeter makes a huge difference and I totally sympathize with you. Go return your iPad!

Is your iPad too warm? Yeah, I know what you mean, you are so right, and this issue is definitely not much ado about nothing. Go and return your iPad as quickly as you can before it fucking melts. Hurry up now, you incredibly intelligent person!

Is your iPad too heavy? Yeah, I know what you mean. If I were you, I'd return it as quickly as possible before you get a hernia.
post #28 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

edit: Or, lets look at that analogy from a different angle. If I'm in the US and see someone advertising a PAL TV on Craig's List, and I buy it. Now they clearly said it was a PAL TV and said in a footer that it would work in the US. Does that mean I should expect it to work in the US? Can I sue them for selling a me a TV that won't work in the US? That is like Apple saying that LTE will not work in Australia.

Well, you're presumably in the US, so you tell me. If this was in Australia, then yes, you probably could make a case out of that, and if you see chainsaw's post earlier about Australia's strict legislation regarding advertising, you'll understand why. You can't expect an average consumer to understand the differences between PAL and NTSC, but if the ad mentions it works in the country it was sold in, one should expect it to do so to the fullest extent. Australian law doesn't just fixate on what's in black and white, but also takes into account consumer's statutory rights, either written or implied.

You've pointed out how loose the definition of 4G is globally, so Apple should really state specifically in all its marketing, packaging and information sheets that it's Wi-Fi + LTE 700/2100, not Wi-Fi + 4G, and make clear to Australian consumers that it will not work with Telstra's LTE network. Each country has its laws, and if Apple wants to do international business, it should aim to not breach the legislation it's bound by.
post #29 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by nitro View Post

very well put.

Yet ignores the facts. Apple has not misled anyone. All their advertising has said that people should check with their local carrier for the availability of 4G.
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post #30 of 127
Wow, I wonder what Australia would do to AT&T for effectively denying their customers who signed up for unlimited data plans the original terms of their contract through use of punitive "reduced data speeds"

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post #31 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Wow, I wonder what Australia would do to AT&T for effectively denying their customers who signed up for unlimited data plans the original terms of their contract through use of punitive "reduced data speeds"

As someone who has witnessed all of AT&T's antics over the years, I can tell you that if they were an Australian carrier, they would have felt the ACCC's wrath time and time again.
post #32 of 127
There's a big ass sticker on the BOX that clearly states that the iPad does not operate at 4G speeds in Australia. So where the fuck is the problem again?
post #33 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by svale View Post

You've pointed out how loose the definition of 4G is globally, so Apple should really state specifically in all its marketing, packaging and information sheets that it's Wi-Fi + LTE 700/1800, not Wi-Fi + 4G, and make clear to Australian consumers that it will not work with Telstra's LTE network. Each country has its laws, and if Apple wants to do international business, it should aim to not breach the legislation it's bound by.

So how can they advertise that it has WiFi when it's possible the customer won't be able to connect to WiFi? What if they only have 802.11g does that make their claims that it contains the ability to connect to 802.11n false? If not then why do Apple's claims that it can connect to 4G LTE in the US and Canada false?

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post #34 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

There's a big ass sticker on the BOX that clearly states that the iPad does not operate at 4G speeds in Australia. So where the fuck is the problem again?

Apple did not put this sticker on there. One Telstra store did, and only on its launch day stock.
post #35 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

So how can they advertise that it has WiFi when it's possible the customer won't be able to connect to WiFi? What if they only have 802.11g does that make their claims that it contains the ability to connect to 802.11n false?

No, you're comparing apples and oranges. 802.11n networks are ubiquitous, and while some 802.11g-only networks exist, it does not mean that a consumer can't connect to an 802.11n network elsewhere in the country.

The issue of 4G/LTE here is at a national level. There aren't some people who can and some people who can't connect to Telstra's LTE network with the iPad; everyone has been denied this ability. And Apple should have made this clear rather than plaster 4G all over their product and market it as such.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

If not then why do Apple's claims that it can connect to 4G LTE in the US and Canada false?

I'm not saying that it's false. They are very much entitled to claim that it can connect to LTE networks in the US and Canada, because, well, it's fact.
post #36 of 127
Perfect solution

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post #37 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by svale View Post

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.

That is my understanding of the current situation, but I am amazed that Telstra didn't voluntarily, or weren't forced to, adopt one of the bands supported by Apple's iPad, or at least sit down with Apple and other mobile device manufacturers and decide what bands to use so that ALL smartphone or tablet devices can connect to a 4G LTE network. What were they thinking??? Obviously not about the customer!!
post #38 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by svale View Post

...it does not mean that a consumer can't connect to an 802.11n[LTE] network elsewhere...

There we go!

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post #39 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by pauldfullerton View Post

That is my understanding of the current situation, but I am amazed that Telstra didn't voluntarily, or weren't forced to, adopt one of the bands supported by Apple's iPad, or at least sit down with Apple and other mobile device manufacturers and decide what bands to use so that ALL smartphone or tablet devices can connect to a 4G LTE network. What were they thinking??? Obviously not about the customer!!

You do realise that plans for the infrastructure were laid out well before many mobile LTE devices were in existence?

Telstra doesn't use 700MHz for LTE because this is used for analog TV in Australia, so no carrier is able to adopt it as yet. And there is nothing out of the ordinary in the 1800MHz band they're using for LTE - look around Europe and the Asia Pacific and you'll see it's widely adopted.

Seriously, this is like the "does it or does it not support 3G" issue all over again. I give Apple two years tops before they release a quad- or penta-band LTE iPad that'll make the majority happy.
post #40 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

There we go!

You just took what I said out of context. I said "elsewhere in the country", not "elsewhere" (in general). There's a big difference when you're operating just within the confines of one country and its laws.
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