Apple has been slapped with a 10 million euro ($12 million) fine by Italy’s antitrust watchdog for unfair commercial practices related to its iPhone marketing in the country.
Specifically, Apple is being charged for misleading claims in promotional messages about how deep and how long iPhones can be submerged in water without being damaged.
In marketing materials related to iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, Apple said its iPhones were water resistant at a depth of between one and four meters for up to 30 minutes, depending on the model.
However, according to the country’s competition regulator, the messages did not clarify that the claims are only true under specific conditions, for example during controlled laboratory tests with the use of static and pure water, and not in the normal conditions of use by consumers.
The regulator also took issue with Apple’s warranty terms, which do not cover damage caused by liquids. The authority considered it inappropriate to push an “aggressive” commercial practice highlighting water resistance as a feature, while at the same time refusing to provide post-sales warranty assistance if the iPhone models in question suffer water damage.
This isn’t the first time Apple has fallen under the radar of Italy’s antitrust watchdog and subsequently been punished. In 2018 Apple was fined 10 million euros (about $11.5 million USD) for “planned obsolescence” of its smartphones, following the regulator’s investigation into reports of iPhone battery slowdowns.