Sony has been asked to stop using the word 'waterproof' in relation to its Xperia Z1 smartphone in South Africa.
The ruling has been made by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in South Africa after a complaint from a woman regarding the handset came. The complainant stressed that the advertisements regarding the Sony Xperia Z1 were misleading.
"The word 'waterproof' in relation to this phone must be withdrawn," said the authority in its ruling issued last week. "The complaint is upheld," added the ruling (via Xperia Blog).
The woman complained that her Xperia Z1 smartphone stopped working a day after she used the handset in water. The service provider refused to repair her handset claiming that it was "water resistant", and not "waterproof." However, Sony responded by saying that the service provider was wrong and the Xperia Z1 was indeed waterproof. The Japanese company stressed that the "ports were not properly shut."
However, this was accepted by the authority. The ruling added, "It can be accepted that, depending on the context, the semantic difference between a term such as "waterproof" and "water resistant" might carry two very different meanings to the hypothetical reasonable person."
"The complainant submitted, in essence, that the advertisement is misleading as it implies that the advertised device is waterproof whereas the complainant's device stopped working a day after she had used it in water. Her cellular service provider refused to repair the phone, insisting that it is merely 'water resistant', and not 'waterproof' as claimed. When attempting to have Sony repair the faulty device was unsuccessful, as Sony insists that the 'ports' were not properly shut. Given that this phone cost roughly R9000, and given the persistent reminders from the phone to close the ports, the complainant would not have risked damaging the device deliberately. She insisted that the ports were closed as required, yet the phone stopped working."
Accordingly the term "waterproof" in a context that appears to align with "water-resistant" is misleading, and in contravention of Clause 4.2.1 of Section II of the Code.
- The word "waterproof" in relation to this phone must be withdrawn;
- The process to withdraw the word "waterproof" in relation to this phone must be actioned with immediate effect on receipt of ruling;
- The withdrawal of the word "waterproof" must be completed within the deadlines stipulated by Clause 15.3 of the Procedural Guide; and
- The word "waterproof" may not be used again in relation to this phone in manner that suggests anything other than water-resistant capabilities.