If you thought those old Galaxy S7 ads were a bit misleading, you weren’t wrong. The Australian court just ordered Samsung to pay $14,000,000 for overstating the water resistance of seven Galaxy smartphones.
According to a press release by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Samsung admits to making false or misleading claims about the Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, Galaxy A5 (2017), Galaxy A7 (2017), Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8 Plus, and Galaxy Note 8.
These phones have proper IPX certification, which ensures some level of dust and water resistance. But Samsung Australia’s advertisements showed Galaxy phones in salt water and swimming pools. These environments will corrode a phone’s charging port, but more importantly, they are not part of the IPX certification process. Phones with an IPX rating are tested in a lab with clean water.
Now, this is just my opinion, but swimming pools and sea water are only part of the problem. Samsung went completely over the top with its Galaxy S7 advertisements, leading many customers (and journalists) to believe that the phone was totally waterproof. The Galaxy S7 sale page stated “feel free to get your phone wet,” CNET shot beautiful photos of the Galaxy S7 getting blasted by water, and our own review (which is now six years old) incorrectly calls the phone “waterproof.”
Newer Galaxy ads, like those for the Galaxy Z Fold 3, are much more conservative in their water-resistance claims. Instead of telling you to “get your phone wet,” Samsung flatly states “it’s water resistant.” Journalists are also a lot more familiar with IPX ratings than they were half a decade ago, which certainly helps keep things in check.
Australian customers who damaged one of the relevant Galaxy phones after exposing it to a swimming pool or sea water are “encouraged to contact Samsung Australia,” according to the ACCC’s press release.