Apple offers refunds to Australian iPad owners


March 27, 2012

Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiling the "new" third generation iPad on March 7 (Photo: Blake Patterson)

Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiling the "new" third generation iPad on March 7 (Photo: Blake Patterson)

Australian owners of the "new" iPad are being offered full refunds by Apple after the country's consumer watchdog found Apple had misled customers as to the device's 4G capabilities in the region. Though Telstra offers a 4G network in Australia, the frequencies used by Apple's third-generation device (700 MHz and 2100 MHz) are incompatible with this service.

The problem is that Apple specifically marketed the device as "iPad with Wi-Fi + 4G", which the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said gave Australian customers the impression that the device "can, with a SIM card, connect to a 4G mobile data network in Australia, when this is not the case."

The ACCC says it wrote to Apple a day before launch to raise its concerns with the marketing of the new iPad, which it now claims contravenes sections 18, 29(1)(a), 29(1)(g) and 33 of the Australian Consumer Law. It is now pressing for stickers to be placed on all packaging - a move resisted by Apple. However, Apple has agreed to email customers offering a full refund, and will clarify 4G capabilities at the point of sale. We'll be interested to see what, precisely, the latter involves.

Source: ACCC, via The Guardian

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It was plain as day before this came out that Aussie 4G wasn't supported, and the sales dudes reminded me as well.

This is just plain Apple-Bashing. Why not sue Telstra, for claiming their network is "4G" when it is not compatible with real 4G? Why not sue the government for not letting telstra use the 4G frequencies it needed to be 4G compatible? Why not sue the alphabet for not having enough distinguishing characters within it?

What idiot aimed the crosshairs at Apple?


@christopher - take a deep breath... i think you'll notice that nobody is suing Apple (at least not from the contents of this article). Clearly the iPad is being marketed as 4G, and clearly it can't be used in that capacity in this country (Australia). I'm sure there are similar situations elsewhere in the world. Further, the 4G'ness has nothing to do with the frequency the device is operating on - but there are several standard frequencies and it so happens that Australia and the US are not particularly well aligned on this matter.

Not surprised Apple pushed back on the sticker - packaging is everything for them. Plus it's hardly useful if all the boxes are "behind the counter" anyway. I reckon a "point of sale" card is in order. Or just continue to provide refunds for anyone who feels they were not appropriately apprised of the situation.

It's definitely going to cost them sales here, especially when the iPad2 prices start tumbling and the only difference between them is a high-res display.


The idiots that run Telstra work hard to undermine Apple at every turn. WTF were they thinking to put up a 4G network that is out of sync with the rest of the world?


Christopher, Apple is a big company, they should have done their research before releasing the ipad 3 in Australia. Apple in this instance does deserve the flak they are getting. nobody is suing anybody over this, they are just being forced to give refunds to those that expected 4g and to label the box correctly.

Denis Klanac
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