Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman: iPad marketing ‘deceptive’

The Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman has sent a letter to Apple accusing the company of deceptive marketing for the latest iPad model being sold in Norway. The letter notes that Apple advertises “next-generation wireless technology” and “lightning-fast wireless connections” specifically related to support for 4G LTE, however the 4G LTE aspects of the new iPad are only compatible with LTE networks in the U.S.

and Canada and will not work on the 4G LTE network in Norway as it uses other frequencies. The complaint goes on to note that the “wireless characteristics of a mobile device such as an iPad” are very important and would be considered as one of the “main characteristics” of the device under the country’s Marketing Act, which deems a commercial practice to be misleading if it contains incorrect information or misleads consumers with regard to “the main characteristics.”

The Consumer Ombudsman goes on to state that while Apple does include a statement on the limitations of 4G LTE support “in a footnote on the Apple website” the limitations are not displayed prominently enough, requiring more clicks into the site and presented at the bottom of the page in a very small, light grey font on a white background.

The letter alleges that “so long as consumers cannot benefit from the support for 4G LTE in Norway” that Apple should not be using the name “iPad Wi-Fi + 4G” or statements like “next-generation wireless technology” without properly disclosing “in a clear way” that the functions are only available in the U.S. and Canada, and ultimately requests that Apple clarify its marketing materials to ensure that consumers are not misled.