An Australian watchdog has taken legal action against Samsung, saying some of its smartphones were advertised as water-resistant when - under many circumstances - they were not.
But although the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission picked on Korean smartphone maker, there were many targets.
Almost all the big-name handset makers market their top-shelf models as waterproof or, more typically, water-resistant, but have fine print saying that does not include saltwater, chlorinated water (e.g. a swimming pool or the water out of your kitchen or bath taps), high-pressure water such as a shower, steamed water (such as in a sauna), heated water or soapy water - that is most of the liquids we actually dunk our phones in.
A brief dip won't kill your water-resistant phone, but repeated salt or chlorinated water exposure will damage it - especially with older phones with a bit of wear and tear.
That means you'll have a hard time making a warranty claim for water damage unless you've only used your phone in light rain or a slow-flowing freshwater river.
On July 4, the ACCC filed proceedings in the Federal Court against Samsung Australia alleging it made false, misleading and deceptive representations in advertising the water-resistance of various phones in its Galaxy series.
Since around February 2016, Samsung has widely advertised that its Galaxy phones are water-resistant and depicted them being used in, or exposed to, oceans and swimming pools, from its S7 series through to its S10 series, the ACCC says.
Samsung also advertised the Galaxy phones as being water-resistant up to 1.5 metres deep for 30 minutes.
"The ACCC alleges Samsung's advertisements falsely and misleadingly represented Galaxy phones would be suitable for use in, or for exposure to, all types of water, including in ocean water and swimming pools, and would not be affected by such exposure to water for the life of the phone, when this was not the case," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.
The ACCC included multiple photos from Samsung ads with its court filing , several of which show a man using a Galaxy phone in a swimming pool and a woman surfing - despite a qualifier on the company's website that its water-resistant claim applies to freshwater.
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Samsung NZ did not immediately respond to a request for comment but Samsung Australia said it would defend the proceedings.
The company said in a statement, "Samsung stands by its marketing and advertising of the water resistancy of its smartphones.
"We are also confident that we provide customers with free-of-charge remedies in a manner consistent with Samsung's obligations under its manufacturer warranty and the Australian Consumer Law."
A spokeswoman for the Commerce Commission (our equivalent to the ACCC) said, "We are not looking into this issue."
Kiwi watchdog rules on shower claim
Telecommunications Disputes Resolution (TDR) - a free service for NZ consumers - recently found against "Hine", a smartphone owner who used her handset in the bathroom while taking a shower, placing it on a shelf so she could listen to music.
Hine thought her provider had breached the Consumer Guarantees Act - which says a product should last for a reasonable amount of time for its price-point, regardless of the length of the manufacturer's "official" warranty - by refusing to repair or replace her handset.
But a TDR practitioner found that there was insufficient proof the CGA had been breached.
The practitioner noted, "water resistance decreases over time through normal wear and tear and in circumstances such as having the handset in the bathroom while taking a shower, on a regular basis."
Slippery warranty when wet
Apple owners need to note that while the iPhone 7 through to the current iPhone X series are promoted as IP68 and IEC 60529-rated -meaning, they can be dunked under 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes (a typical claim for any modern, high-end smartphone) Apple also tells people to avoid swimming or bathing with their handset (among a laundry list of other forbidden water-related activities and says on its website, "Liquid damage is not covered under warranty."
It also offers the good advice to dry your phone if it gets wet (wash off swimming pool or seawater with tap water first) and to never charge a phone while it's wet. Apple says to wait at least five hours before plugging in a Lightning connector.
If you do want to bring your phone with into the shower every day, or can't take a swim without your Samsung Galaxy or Apple iPhone being within arm's reach, buy a waterproof case.