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Australia Sues Apple Over Refusal to Unlock Phones

© Photo : PixabayIphone
Iphone - Sputnik International
The Australian consumer regulator is suing Apple Inc., alleging it used a software update to disable iPhones and iPads, which had cracked screens fixed by third parties. By "refusing to fix devices," the watchdog alleges that Apple violated Australian consumer rights.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) decision to take on the tech global giant Apple, is making headlines across the wowrld, because of the potential precedent that the court action could set.

In contention is that between September 2014 and February 2016, Apple used a software update to disable hundreds of smartphones and tablet devices. Consumers complained about receiving an "error 53" message.

Apple then refused to unlock them on the grounds that customers had had the devices serviced by non-Apple repairers.

The technique is called being "bricked," and according to the ACCC, it's illegal.

The regulator alleges that Apple made "false, misleading, or deceptive representations" about consumers' rights.

In a statement, ACCC chairman Rod Sims said:

"The ACCC investigation revealed that Apple appears to have routinely refused to look at or service consumers' defective devices if a consumer had previously had the device repaired by a third party repairer, even where that repair was unrelated to the fault."

"Consumer guarantee rights under the Australian Consumer Law exist independently of any manufacturer's warranty and are not extinguished simply because a consumer has goods repaired by a third party."

The proceedings against Apple are being brought on behalf of 275 consumers. 

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Australia Leads Crackdown on Multinational Profit Shifting

Apple has not yet responded to the allegations. And it's not the only Aussie organization after Apple this week.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is reportedly pressing Apple, and six other multinationals, to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in back taxes, accusing them of "debt dumping" and moving profits offshore to avoid legal tax obligations.

The Office's commissioner, Mark Konza, said he has a taskforce of over 1,000 people looking into tax avoidance by multinationals. 

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