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Class action

Smartphone memory capacity: class action against Samsung admitted

02 feb 2017

With a historic decision, the Court of Milan says yes to the legal action promoted by Altroconsumo.

Through an order notified today, the Court of Milan has admitted Altroconsumo's class action against Samsung Italia for the discrepancy between the stated memory space of their smartphones and tablets and the actual facts, with memory capacity shown by tests at Altroconsumo's laboratory to be up to 40% less than declared. A deceptive commercial practice by Samsung, which affected the choices of consumers who opted for devices which actually did not possess the technical features advertised.  The judge also ordered Samsung to publish the court order on its homepage.

“A historic decision, associated with a class action suit in Italy, whose effects will be felt everywhere by a global mobile and electronics giant” says Marco Pierani, Public Affairs & Media Relations Director at Altroconsumo. “The goal of Altroconsumo's initiative is simple yet complex: stopping practices contrary to transparency means getting rid of structural disturbances which hinder market development and hamper consumer trust. Corporations, market players and consumers should not stand on opposite fronts: consumer empowerment can only benefit a market in full systemic evolution” concludes Pierani.

The consumer organization had exposed the affair over the past few years, and finally filed a lawsuit in March 2016. Thanks to Altroconsumo, consumers who bought a smartphone or tablet from Samsung Italia between August 2009 and December 2014 can now apply for a refund for deceitful commercial practices. The organization has posted more detailed information on website on device models, submission deadlines and how to participate in the legal action.

The story: consumers bought mobiles or tablets thinking, for instance, that they had 16 GB of available memory, but on first starting the device they would find out they had 40% less than that. Less memory means fewer apps they could install, fewer photos or videos they could store, harder – if at all possible – operating system updates. This unfair practice was so blatant that it had already been detected by institutional watchdogs, when back in 2014 the Italian Authority on Fair Competition had sanctioned  Samsung for one million euro.

Altroconsumo carried out accurate technical tests and found out that other smartphones and tablets had the same problem. Samsung might be only the first to end up in court.