“The word ‘waterproof’ in relation to this phone must be withdrawn,” the authority said in its ruling issued on Friday.
“The complaint is upheld.”
A woman complained that Sony Mobile SA’s “waterproof” advertisement was misleading. Her smartphone stopped working a day after using it in water, and her service provider refused to repair it, saying it was “water resistant”, not “waterproof”.
She claimed all the ports on the R9000 phone were closed when she was in water.
The company submitted that the Sony Xperia Z1 was a waterproof device and was not susceptible to water ingress up to a depth of 1.5m for up to 30 minutes.
“However, this requires that all ports are securely closed. The cellular service provider’s assertions that the device is only water-resistant are therefore incorrect,” it said.
The ASA said: “The respondent has not submitted anything to prove that the phone is in fact ‘waterproof’ as claimed, or more importantly, in a manner that a hypothetical reasonable person would expect when confronted with the term ‘waterproof’.
“The directorate notes that some of the marketing material available on the respondent’s website indicates that the claim of being ‘waterproof’ is not intended to be an absolute claim.”
According to the smartphone’s instruction booklet it is “smart, sleek and waterproof”.
“The word ‘waterproof’ may not be used again in relation to this phone in [a] manner that suggests anything other than water-resistant capabilities,” the ASA said.