Commerce Commission fields iPad complaint

Move follows Australian regulator's court action.

UPDATE 1.30pm:  New Zealand's Commerce Commission has fielded a complaint about Apple's "4G" iPad, a spokeswoman for the agency told NBR this afternoon.

The watchdog is also set to take a broader look at the issue.

"We recently received one complaint which is awaiting assessment," the spokeswoman said.

"We will also assess the issue in the light of the Australian court action. We will then decide on what action is appropriate here, in the light of the representations that are being made by New Zealand retailers."

The commission refused to name the complainant, and a timetable for assessing the complaint was not immediately available.


Aussie watchdog bites Apple over 'misleading' iPad claim

7am: The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will be making an application to the Federal Court in Melbourne today at 9:30am (11.30am NZ time) for orders against Apple for alleged contraventions of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), the watchdog said in a statement overnight.

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 "iPad with WiFi + 4G" can, with a SIM card, connect to a 4G mobile data network in Australia, when this is not the case (the 4G frequencies used by mobile network operators in Australia are not compatible with those supported by the new iPad).

The ACCC is seeking urgent interlocutory relief to ensure consumers are made aware of the correct technical capabilities of this device.

Additionally, the ACCC is seeking final orders including injunctions, pecuniary penalties, corrective advertising and refunds to consumers affected.

4G or "LTE" is a new, faster type of mobile network technology. New Zealand operators Telecom, Vodafone and 2degrees are all still on 3G. They will not upgrade until some point after the government auctions 4G-friendly spectrum freed up by the analogue-to-digital TV switchover. The auction will take place later this year.

Apple's Australia-New Zealand office has not pushed the new iPad's 4G capability, and the tablet has been sold with a slip in the box alerting buyers that the feature is not applicable locally:

Nevertheless, the new iPad is listed on Apple's website and in other promotional material as gaving two models Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 4G - branding that's used for the new tablet worldwide, including New Zealand.

The Commerce Commission did not immediately respond to a query over whether a similar action would be launched in NZ (the two agencies share associate members).

BELOW: The 4G branding on Apple's Australian website (which closely mirrors that on other territories websites, including New Zealand, bar price. Click to zoom):

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