Apple is offering refunds to Australian customers who bought the new iPad after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) claimed Apple’s 4G LTE claims were misleading, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
The refunds are part of a larger scuffle between Apple and the ACCC, which accused the Cupertino, Calif.-based company of breaking Australian consumer law during its marketing campaign for the new iPad. The ACCC filed a complaint with the Federal Court in Melbourne Wednesday, suggesting that Apple falsely advertised the iPad as being compatible with Australia’s 4G network.
"The ACCC alleges that Apple's recent promotion of the new 'iPad with WiFi + 4G' is misleading because it represents to Australian consumers that the product can, with a SIM card, connect to a 4G mobile data network in Australia, when this is not the case," the commission said in a statement.
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4G LTE is only available in certain Australian regions, including state capital business districts and associated airports, through its Telstra Corporation network. The network uses a frequency different from that in the U.S. and Canada, which makes the new iPad unable to connect to high-speed wireless in Australia.
In addition to customer refunds, the Australian commission said it is seeking injunctions, pecuniary penalties and corrective advertising that more accurately represents the capabilities of Apple’s third-generation tablet. A court date has been set for May 2, the report said.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In addition to offering full refunds to any customers who bought the "WiFi + 4G" version of the new iPad before March 28, Australian Judge Mordecai Bromberg mandated that Apple post a disclaimer in its Australian stores and Web site prior to the official hearing, stating, "This product supports very fast cellular networks. It is not compatible with current Australian 4G LTE networks and Wi-Max networks."
Apple also has been asked to place displays in its third-party Australian retail stores and send an e-mail to customers clarifying the device’s LTE capabilities.