An Australian federal court has slapped a fine of Dollars 9 million on Apple for lying to customers who owned devices affected by Error 53 that disabled users' iPhones or iPads after the device was updated or rebooted.
Customers of the U.S. tech giant had complained to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) after an operating system update disabled their devices in a global issue known as "error 53".
"The court declared the mere fact that an iPhone or iPad had been repaired by someone other than Apple did not, and could not, result in the consumer guarantees ceasing to apply", Commissioner Sarah Court said on Tuesday.
At least 275 Australian consumers were alleged to have been misled after Apple informed them they were no longer entitled to remedies, like a fix or replacement, if their device had been repaired by an unauthorised third party.
Apple made these representations between February 2015 and February 2016 - on its U.S. website, in-store and on its customer service phone calls.
But that's not now Australian Consumer Law works.
Before Tuesday's decision, Apple got in touch with 5,000 Australian iOS users whose devices stopped working thanks to "error 53", and offered to compensate them because of the problem.
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The ACCC further notes that a concern addressed by the undertaking is that Apple was allegedly providing refurbished goods as replacements, after supplying a good which suffered a major failure - saying Apple has committed to provide new replacements in those circumstances if the consumer requests one.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took Apple to court after many iPhone and iPad users in the country found their devices disabled by an update years ago to iOS 9.
The users were told by Apple that they were not eligible for a remedy if the iPhone or iPad had been repaired by another company.
She said multi-national firms and their returns policies had to be compliant with the Australian Consumer Law.
Apple's Australian subsidiary has also made a court enforceable undertaking.
Apple has told the court that staff training would be improved, make relevant changes on its Australian website and enhance systems for ensuring future compliance.
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