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Apple Fined Over 4G Advertising on iPad in Australia

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Apple has just received a financial slap on the wrist by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission due to the Cupertino Company’s use of the term 4G on the new iPad.

According to the ACCC, Apple has agreed to pay a fine of Aus$2.25 million, for misleading Australian customers who had purchased the new iPad expecting it to be compatible with the latest super-fact wireless standard.

The new iPad does feature 4G capabilities, but unfortunately it only works in the US and Canada. Although Apple had been aware that this was the case, it was still very much a focus point when promoting the iPad globally – something that the ACCC said amounted to false advertising.

Back in March, Apple offered to refund customers who felt they had been misled when purchasing the next generation iPad, soon after the ACCC commenced court action. Apple had also published a clarification about the capabilities of the iPad, along with changing the name for some models from “WiFi + 4G” to “Wi-Fi + Cellular”. In addition to this, Apple has also included a caveat on the company’s Australian site which clearly states that “it is not compatible with current Australian 4G LTE networks and WiMax networks”.

The case was due to go to full trial this week, however the ACCC’s lawyer Colin Golvan confirmed that Apple intend to pay a $2.25 million fine along with the commission’s legal costs in an out-of-court settlement.

On the announcement of Apple’s decision to settle out-of-court, Mr Golvan said that it was a “substantial” penalty and it would send out a message to other companies in this booming market that this sort of misleading advertising would not be accepted.

Both Apple and the ACCC have put forward proposed settlement and consent orders, however judge Mordecai Bromberg has requested further information about how many iPads were sold and the amount that were refunded.

Apple has agreed to provide a confidential brief to the judge by June 13th, with the final decision on the penalty along with settlement of the case being handed down at a later date.

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