Apple to offer refund over Australian 4G iPad claims

Apple is trying to appease a regulator that is taking the company to court for allegedly misleading advertisements

Apple will offer refunds to people who bought its latest iPad following a claim by Australia's competition regulator that it ran misleading advertisements over the device's 4G connectivity, according to reports.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took Apple to the Federal Court in Melbourne on Wednesday for allegedly violating sections of the Australian Consumer Law.

The ACCC claims that Apple's advertisements mislead the public over the device's 4G capabilities, as the latest iPad is not compatible with Australia's sole 4G network, which is run by Telstra.

Telstra operates its 4G service within the 1800MHz band, while the latest iPad can only be used on the 700MHz and 2100MHz LTE bands. The new iPad is compatible with 4G LTE networks in the U.S. and Canada using data speed specifications including HSPA, HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA.

At Wednesday's hearing, an Apple lawyer, Paul Anastassiou, said the company would email customers about the incompatibility with Telstra's network and offer a refund, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. Apple also reportedly agreed to put in-store notifications by point-of-sale devices but not on packaging, the paper reported.

Apple officials could not be immediately reached on Wednesday afternoon. An ACCC official declined to comment, citing the ongoing legal case.

The ACCC said on Tuesday it would seek to ensure consumers are aware of the iPad's "correct technical capabilities" as well as pursue other orders including injunctions, financial penalties, corrective advertising and refunds.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com

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