Apple offers refunds to 'misled' Australian iPad buyers

Mar 28, 2012

Tech giant accused of misleading customers by suggesting iPad 3 works on 4G network

Getty Images

APPLE is offering to refund Australians who have bought the 'iPad 3' after the company was accused of misleading customers by suggesting its new tablet could work on the country's 4G network.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has taken the tech giant  to court, the Sydney Morning Herald reports, for allegedly misleading customers by marketing its new iPad, which it markets not as an 'iPad 3', but  as 'iPad with wifi + 4G'. In fact, the device cannot connect to any 4G mobile data service in Australia.

4G is the next generation in mobile phone broadband standards, the successor to 3G. The faster data service is available in Australia on the Telstra network. However, as The Guardian explains, the new iPad connects to 4G on the 700MHz and 2100Mhz frequencies, neither of which is used by Telstra.

Apple's offer of a refund is not enough for the ACCC, which also wants the Federal Court in Melbourne to slap an injunction on sales of the new iPad, a financial penalty against the tech company, corrective advertising in 11 newspapers and the company website, and stickers on iPad boxes that explain the device is "not compatible with current Australian 4G networks".

At a pre-trial hearing today, Apple's lawyer denied the company had misled customers and said it will not put stickers on iPad packaging because they would be "cumbersome".

However, Apple offered to put notices at the point of sale explaining the issue, to email customers to say their iPad cannot connect to Telstra's 4G network and to refund those who believe they have been misled.

If no settlement can be reached, the case could go to full trial next month.

Sign up for our daily newsletter