Most smartphone users probably presume that their phones are water resistant to some degree. After all, it has become a common feature on most but not all smartphones. However, not all water resistance ratings are created equal and even then there are important caveats to those figures. It’s hard enough for regular consumers to remember such things but according to Australia’s consumer watchdog Samsung isn’t helping at all. In fact, it has accused it of false claims that eventually lead to headache and heartaches for unsuspecting customers.
Almost all of Samsung’s high-end flagship boast of high IP or Ingress Protection numbers. Its most recent models even boast of the highest IP68 rating given to any non-rugged smartphone. But while it might survive a quick accidental dive in the sink or a splash of rain, it’s not completely impervious to any and all liquids.
Even with an IP68 rating, a product is only water resistant and not waterproof. It can’t last too long and too deep in water. Most importantly, the IP ratings only account for fresh water and don’t cover salt water and water with chemicals, like those in swimming pools.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), however, points out that Samsung’s marketing and advertisement for its water-resistant smartphones don’t make that distinction. It has collected images that show people using their phones underwater in swimming pools and beaches, the exact things IP ratings don’t cover.
The ACCC also alleges that Samsung won’t back down on those misleading ads but, at the same time, refuses to repair in-warranty devices with water damage from those situations. The company reportedly points to footnotes in its web pages that say the phones are not advised for use near those kinds of water. Given how ads are more visible than warnings in small fonts, it wouldn’t be surprising if people weren’t aware of those caveats.