Australian Consumer Watchdog to Sue Apple over ‘Error 53’

Australian Consumer Watchdog to Sue Apple over 'Error 53'

Image via Apple

Text Size
- +

Toggle Dark Mode

Australia’s top consumer protection group announced Thursday that it will take legal action against Apple for the now-infamous “Error 53” controversy. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said that it will begin proceedings in Federal Court against Apple for alleged “False, misleading or deceptive representations about consumer rights.”

For those that need a refresher, Error 53 was a 2016 software update that effectively bricked iPhone devices if their Touch ID button had been repaired by a non-Apple technician. Reportedly, users who had brought in Error 53-plagued devices into Apple stores were told that the devices would no longer be usable and Apple technicians refused to service such devices since they had been repaired by unauthorized facilities.

Initially, some claimed that Apple was intentionally trying to edge out the third-party repair industry — allegations of which spawned a class action lawsuit against the company. Apple later released a fix for the bug and later apologized and announced to various news organizations that it had been the result of a runaway factory test that wasn’t intended to reach consumers (although, not everyone believes that). Additionally, Apple now has a webpage dedicated solely to the error.

That apology apparently did little to appease the ACCC, who cited Australian consumer guarantee rights in their statement. Those rights operate independently of manufacturer’s warranty and do not become “Extinguished simply because a consumer has goods repaired by a third party,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said. Under Australian Consumer Law, customers have the right to ask manufacturers to fix a fault for free regardless of whether they had the device repaired by a third-party. By initially refusing to repair affected iPhone devices, the ACCC is alleging that Apple violated this law in Australia.

Social Sharing