April 16, 2012
Apple Fails To Reach Agreement With Australian Commission
Michael Harper for RedOrbit.com
Locked in a battle with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Apple has failed to reach an agreement with the Australian regulatory commission during mediation. The ACCC took Apple to Federal Court in Melbourne in March for allegedly misleading customers when they launched their new iPad.
Apple´s newest iteration of its wildly popular tablet device has 4G capabilities built-in. However, the new iPad only supports the 4G networks in North America, leaving those 'Down Under' and around the world feeling left out.
The ACCC claims Apple has misled Australian customers and is seeking refunds for angry customers, as well as stickers placed on iPad boxes informing potential buyers about the lack of 4G compatibility in their country. The ACCC also wants Apple to take the “4G” from the title of any iPad with the next-generation wireless technology.
The problem lies with Australia´s network Telstra and iPad´s internal radios. While Telstra´s 4G signals broadcast at 1,800 megahertz, the iPad only receives signals at the 700 and 2,100 megahertz frequency.
Apple has agreed to a few of the ACCC´s suggestions, however, last month Apple announced they would honor any refund requests from Australian customers, but also predicted few customers would do so.
In addition, Apple has agreed to put up notices wherever the new iPad was sold in Australia to notify potential buyers of the iPads lack of Aussie-flavored 4G. Apple has also agreed to reach out to all customers who purchased a new iPad and advise them their devices do not support Australia´s 4G network will offer refunds directly.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the mediation between the regulatory agency and Apple was closed to the media and concluded around midday without an agreement about changing the name of the new device.
An ACCC spokesperson told PCWorld.com that mediation sessions are quite common in federal court cases. Though Apple and the ACCC were unable to reach an agreement, the court case will continue.
Apple claims it never specified the iPad could work on Telstra´s network, Australia´s only 4G capable carrier. On their website, Apple offers the following disclaimer: “4G LTE is supported only on AT&T and Verizon networks in the US and on Bell, Rogers, and Telus networks in Canada. Data plans sold separately. See your carrier for details.”
Australia isn´t the only country left without 4G in their new iPads. Other countries, such as Sweden and the UK are also investigating misleading advertising claims about 4G capabilities.
Released in early March, Apple´s new iPad has quickly become their best-selling device yet. As Australians got them in their hands, they began to notice the 4G capabilities were lacking.
Paul Anastassiou, legal counsel for Apple has said they will begin to email their customers to let them know about the refunds. When the ACCC first took Apple to court on March 27, however, Anastassiou defended the Cupertino company, saying, “at no point in any promotional material “¦ said at any time” did Apple say the iPad worked on Telstra´s network.