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Apple to Issue New iPad Refunds in Australia Over ’4G’ Issues

March 28, 2012

An Australian consumer group said Wednesday that Apple has agreed to issue refunds to new iPad buyers who are not satisfied with the device's "4G" speeds.

The new iPad is not compatible with existing Australian 4G LTE and WiMax networks and therefore defaults to 3G speeds. The 4G LTE networks available in Australia operate on the 1800MHz frequency, while the iPad's 4G LTE feature operates on the 700MHz and 2100MHz frequencies. The updated tablet, however, is still advertised as a "Wi-Fi + 4G" device in the country, which prompted a complaint from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The ACCC said this week that it would sue Apple unless the company altered its iPad marketing in Australia and offered refunds to customers who were "misled" by Cupertino.

Apple has reportedly agreed to do just that, at least for now. In a Wednesday statement, the ACCC said that by April 5, Apple will include the following statement on its promotional materials, website, and online store: "This product supports very fast cellular networks. It is not compatible with current Australian 4G LTE networks and WiMAX Networks." Apple will also distribute signage with the same wording to resellers, the ACCC said.

The company will also email iPad Wi-Fi + 4G buyers with the same statement and give them the option to return the tablet for a refund if they are dissatisfied.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation.

As iFixit noted in a recent teardown of the new iPad, Apple does, in fact, include a note inside the new iPad about connectivity in the country. "Important Note: This product is not compatible with Australian 4G LTE networks, and will only operate at up to 3G speeds in Australia," the note reads. Apple does not currently note that on its website, however, so some customers might not be aware of this until they open up their new tablet.

The ACCC said a directions hearing is scheduled for April 16, a mediation has been ordered for April 18, and a hearing on liability will take place on May 2.

The new iPad, which made its debut in the U.S. on March 16, has made a few headlines over the past few weeks - from reports of Wi-Fi connectivity issues and overheating to issues with battery charging. Apple, however, has still sold at least 3 million of the new tablets.




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