Apple Settles Embarrassing False Advertising Case

  • Sumo

Bullet through an apple, by Flickr user "nebarnix", licensed via Creative Commons.While you were gawking at the new kind-of-better-in-some-ways-I-guess Macbook Pro at this week’s Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple’s law team was quietly paying out a settlement to a Australian government regulators.  Apple shipped their newest 4G-compatible iPhones and -Pads to Australia, where ravenous consumers quickly snatched them up.  There was one catch: the electronics did not actually work with any LTE networks in the country.  Luckily, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission was ready to slap Apple around with a lawsuit, alleging that Apple knowingly advertised this whole 4G business despite being well aware that the technology wouldn’t work.  Sensing an uphill court battle, Apple quickly settled the case (if I had to guess, I’d say it was a pretty clever tactic to hide the negative press among all the buzz for their WWDC event).  The outcome: Apple must pay a fine of $2.25 million to the Australian government, and will also probably have to pick up the tab for $300,000 worth of legal fees.  Though they aren’t required to, Apple is also offering refunds to customers who felt cheated.  What a nice company.

It’s all but guaranteed that any ultra-hyped product will fall short of expectations.  Apple is well known for its ability to promote their iPods and -Pads and -Phones.  To hear one of their rabid fans tell it, you might conclude that they’re offering the very Golden Fleece for $499.  With this in mind, I bet only the most casual Australians will take Apple up on its offer of a refund.  Most will be well content with their purchase regardless of 4G functionality.  For those of us on the side of reason, who don’t ever want to be ripped off by high expectations, I’ll just stress this one maxim I live by: trust no marketer.  And Apple is, above all else, a marketing company.