In a statement, the ACCC said it had begun an investigation after reports of the appearance of an error on iPads and iPhones after application of an update. After this update, a message saying "Error 53" appeared on the devices.
The consumer watchdog said its prove had shown that Apple refused to examine or service defective devices if these had previously been repaired by a third party, even in cases where the repair had no connection to the fault.
It said that under Australian Consumer Law, there were guarantees about quality, suitability for purpose and other characteristics of goods and services, "and consumers are entitled to certain remedies at no cost where goods and services do not comply with the consumer guarantees".
However, it said, this did not invalidate the consumer’s right to a remedy for non-compliance with consumer guarantees.
“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,“ ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.
“Denying a consumer their consumer guarantee rights simply because they had chosen a third party repairer not only impacts those consumers but can dissuade other customers from making informed choices about their repair options including where they may be offered at lower cost than the manufacturer.”
“As consumer goods become increasingly complex, businesses also need to remember that consumer rights extend to any software or software updates loaded onto those goods. Faults with software or software updates may entitle consumers to a free remedy under the Australian Consumer Law.”
The ACCC is seeking pecuniary penalties, injunctions, declarations, compliance programme orders, corrective notices, and costs.