The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is suing Samsung over alleged misleading claims regarding the water resistance strength on many of its phones.
The ACCC said ads dating back to 2016 created a false impression for consumers, suggesting Samsung phones can be used safely in water other than fresh water.
ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said in a statement, "Samsung’s advertisements falsely and misleadingly represented Galaxy phones would be suitable for use in, or for exposure to, all types of water, including in ocean water and swimming pools, and would not be affected by such exposure to water for the life of the phone, when this was not the case".
Example of an allegedly misleading ad. Source: ACCC
Recent Samsung Galaxy phone models have an IP68 water resistance rating. This rating means the phones can survive being submerged in fresh water to a depth of 1.5 metres for up to 30 minutes.
The ACCC's statement also argues Samsung denied consumers warranty claims when a phone was found to have been used in water.
Samsung denies the allegations
Samsung have signalled they intend to defend themselves against the allegations in court.
In a brief statement, Samsung said they comply with all requirements set out in the Australian Consumer Law.
"Samsung stands by its marketing and advertising of the water resistancy of its smartphones."
Action suggests many Australians saw the ads
The ACCC said many Australian's were exposed to the advertising across traditional media (billboards, radio, TV) and social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).
Many phone models have been included for the lawsuit which make up the bulk of mobile devices sold by Samsung since 2016. The models are: the S10e, S10, S10 Plus, S9, S9 Plus, S8, S8 Plus, S7, S7 Edge, Note 9, Note 8, Note 7, A8, A7, and A5.
The case will be heard in the Federal Court with the ACCC seeking, "penalties, consumer redress orders, injunctions, declarations, publication orders, an order as to findings of fact, and costs".