Sweden looking into complaints over Apple marketing iPad as ‘4G’ (incompatible networks in Sweden)

“Sweden’s consumer protection agency is looking at complaints that Apple Inc does not make it clear that its latest iPad will not work with 4G networks outside the United States and Canada,” Reuters reports. “The move came after Apple said it was to offer all buyers of the new iPad in Australia a refund.”

“On the Swedish version of Apple’s website advertising the new iPad, the company says the tablet can be used on 4G networks around the world, though that sentence has a little ‘2’ after it to refer to a note at the bottom of the web page,” Reuters reports. “The note clarifies that 4G LTE is supported only in AT&T’s and Verizon’s network in the United States. In Canada it is supported on the Bell, Rogers and Telus networks.”

MacDailyNews Take: It’s difficult to imagine how it could be any clearer, if even Reuters can figure it out. And, by the way, it’s not just a disclaimer, Apple’s site, in the U.S., states very clearly in the main body: “The new iPad supports fast cellular networks around the world — including 4G LTE networks in the U.S. and Canada.” Whereas “fast cellular networks around the world” includes 3G (HSPA, HSPA + and DC-HSDPA). All of which work in Sweden. Apple’s Swedish site seems to go into even more detail (via Google Translate)

Reuters reports, “Sweden generally has high consumer protection laws. Apple says on its Swedish website that a consumer can return a product within 14 days for a full refund.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: 14 days with a full refund sounds exactly like full consumer protection to us. Especially since it shouldn’t even take 14 minutes for the average schlub could figure out that his country’s “4G” is incompatible.

If all of these “consumer protection” outfits were really interested in protecting consumers, they would have stopped the sale of Windows PCs back in the 1990s.

Related articles:
Apple offers full refunds, corrective signs over ’4G’ iPads in Australia – March 28, 2012
Australian watchdog to seek orders against Apple for alleged ‘misleading’ iPad 4G claims – March 27, 2012

21 Comments

  1. The new iPad is being offered worldwide in 2 configurations. WiFi, and WiFi + 4G.

    Sure, there is a bullet showing which frequency bands are used and a disclaimer footnote explaining that the 4G is only functional within the specified North American networks, but it is still being marketed as a 4G-capable product in markets where there is a 4G network that it is not compatible with.

    Whether that is misleading or not is up to the courts, but I think that we can all see how there is room for misinterpretation as well as room for improvement in the clarity of the marketing materials.

    1. Yes, this is a stuff up. Apple stepped straight into this big smelly pile. “4G” is a putrid mess all around the world with a myriad of flavours defined variously by marketers, govt, standards orgs and now courts. Apple should have smelled this coming.

    2. This problem actually began when AT&T disingenuously started referring to its 3G HSPA network as “4G” in the U.S. Lax American truth-in-advertising laws that are pro-business and anti-consumer allow the venerable phone vendor, which actually is far behind in the 4G rollout, to gloss over this specification. America laws allow AT&T to falsely advertise HSPA as 4G even though it doesn’t make sense or conform to global standards. Apple is making an error trying to use the American definition globally.

      Once again, thanks go to the U.S. Congress for failing to address crap like this.

  2. I love it! I’m on an iPad and I just received my first pop-up window! An ad for a free droid!

    I’ve had this iPad for years and never had a pop-up before.

    Marketing is human nature, you say 4? we say 4gee! Because Americans don’t know any better. We’re subject to incremental roll outs and tiered pricing, because this is America and in the land of the dollar bill, privilege is a tiered system of happiness.

    The rest of the civilized world knows when american marketers are really stretching the truth in advertising!

    Ugh… You want fries with your 4G?

  3. Jobs would have never approved the 4G. The problem with Cook is he’s too nice, and seems overly concerned about satisfying everyone..and trying to fix every PR issue (Foxconn statements). Just my opinion.

  4. You are so wrong on this. Currently Apple is losing trust with the basic normal consumer over this.

    Here in Sweden (and probably many other EU-countries) 4G means 4G and not some overclocked brittle 3G-standard. I am fully aware that AT&T and others in the US think otherwise but that is not how the european market sees it. I have a 4G LTE modem on my Air and MBP and at modest cost (USD35/month with a 25Gb cap) I have 20-30mbps all over the place.

    EU a long time ago decided on frequencies. Apple decided not to support the EU LTE frequencies. That is fine with me, it is their call to make. But in the EU it is *not* a 4G device and never will be.

    But *still* (as of right now) on the swedish site Apple markets the new iPad as a 4G-device. This is confusing and misleading to a EU-consumer – because here 4G means real 4G.

    Sending normal consumers out on the market having them find HDSPA-this or HDSP-that services with coverage … you cant be serious. Even I dont know if my LTE-service support those standards and what the coverage they would have. And besides they are known to be unreliable.

    So Apple. Just be honest with you customers. Dont market the new iPad a a 4G device in europe. Dont mention 4G when it cannot be used with any 4G services. Declare it as 3G in the EU.

  5. Regarding the consumer auhtority in Sweden they will no doubt come down on Apple.

    Apple marketing here *is* without doubt misleading the average consumer. I think even Rob Enderle could see that.

    The swedish authority keeps a “black list” of companies to warn consumers of companies they cannot trust – I wouldnt be surprised if Apple makes this list with this as both the marketing and Apples attitude in its replies have been awfully arrogant here.

    And despite consumer protest Apple keeps calling it “Wifi + 4G”.

    I simply dont understand why Apple prefers to lose consumer trust and be branded as liars rather than just change the text to say “3G” in the small part of the world we call the EU.

    1. (WARNING ABOUT TO GET LONG WINDED) Im not going to argue with you because you make some very valid and intelligent points. However if I were buying a phone the first thing that I would do is check with my carrier in fact I would also buy it from my carrier to avoid any issues. Second if I were to buy and iPad I would check the specs and make sure those specs matched the specs of my carrier. I would not say that because they use the word 4g meaning fourth generation they they are cheating. Just because scandinavia adopted their standard far earlier than than most places in the world clearly the verdict was out on which standard would become the world standard. Your 4G is not our 4G. Hell in fact on the point of 3G being called 4G I am with you 100%. T-mobile and ATT should not be able to call their technology 4G at all in fact.
      (below is taken from WIKI SITE)
      Confusion has been caused by some mobile carriers who have launched products advertised as 4G but which according to some sources are pre-4G versions, commonly referred to as ‘3.9G’, which do not follow the ITU-R defined principles for 4G standards, but today can be called 4G according to ITU-R. A common argument for branding 3.9G systems as new-generation is that they use different frequency bands from 3G technologies; that they are based on a new radio-interface paradigm; and that the standards are not backwards compatible with 3G, whilst some of the standards are forwards compatible with IMT-2000 compliant versions of the same standards.
      == End of wiki info

      The long and the short of it my friend you don’t have 4G in your country you have an old standard that was better in its time but is not delivering the speed of the current spec for 4G. Please review http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4G#History_of_4G_and_pre-4G_technologies.

      In closing I just want to say Apple is very clear on this in their Ad’s and if a consumer neglects to read before they buy they have 14 days to return it.
      Do yourself a favor buy it in a store and test it on your network. Buy it from your phone company and get the info handed to you if you can’t do your own research. Or even better yet buy the WiFi version and use your MBP or other LTE modem to share its connection with your device. However to say Apple has been anything less than upfront is ridiculous.
      People that know technology know it by doing their homework and they are confident consumers. They are people that don’t need to buy their technology in a place that will do that work for them. Go into an Apple store and ask for Help ask a question I bet they will be happy to answer yours questions and make sure it will work for you. Now if you are buying it online you should not as if you fall into the category of user that does not understand what they are reading and did not do the research then you have not educated yourself enough to do so.
      I say that will much respect but that needed to be said for all consumers buying anything that plugs in. Do your homework.

  6. I would call it misleading advertising. Yes, it does state that 4G only works with certain carriers in certain countries but the iPad ‘Cellular’ is marketed as ‘4G’.

  7. It’s funny when a country like the US, known to have telecommunication standards and speeds like a 3rd world country, starts to dictate standards to countries that are a decade ahead. I wouldn’t be surprised if arrogance was invented in the U.S.

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