Legal Newsline

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Woman alleges Galaxy S7's water-resistant claims are false after toilet drop causes phone to malfunction

By Tara Mapes | Oct 4, 2016

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LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) - A California woman is suing Samsung, alleging fraud, false advertising and unjust enrichment for selling a water-resistant phone she claims didn’t resist water at all.

Dulce Alondra Velasquez-Reyes of Ontario, California, filed a class action complaint on behalf of herself and others similarly situated Sept. 12 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against Samsung Electronics America Inc. She alleges the manufacturer deceived consumers through false representations that the Samsung Galaxy S7 is water resistant.

According to the complaint, on May 1 Velasquez-Reyes purchased the Samsung Galaxy S7 cell phone after she was influenced by Samsung's advertisement that the phone was water resistant.

On July 20, Velasquez-Reyes accidentally dropped her phone into a toilet and dried it off. When she turned the phone back on, the complaint alleges it malfunctioned and stopped operating.

Valesquez-Reyes contends that when she contacted Samsung, the company refused to replace or refund the damaged phone.

Daniel Girard, attorney for the plaintiff, told Legal Newsline after the phone stopped working his client, “contacted Samsung and her carrier personally [and] the reason Samsung gave for not replacing or repairing her unit was that it had water-damage.”

Samsung advertises on its website that the Galaxy S7 will "repel spills, splashes and dunks without a bulky protective case" and is "water resistant up to 5 feet of water for up to 30 minutes; rinse residue/dry after wet."

The complaint describes how Samsung advertises the Galaxy S7 via television and online videos showing users snorkeling, surfing and kayaking with the Galaxy S7 phone, as well as showing users dumping champagne on the phone, spraying it with a water hose and dunking it in a fish tank.

The complaint alleges Samsung was deceptive in its advertising and that it was aware the claims of the phone being water resistant were false.

“Samsung’s website represents that the S7 Phone is water resistant. The website includes a video showing an S7 Phone emerging from a pool of water and remaining operational. Samsung’s website also states ‘Because water happens’ and ‘Feel free to get your phone wet,’” the complaint states.

Velasquez-Reyes says Samsung’s representations of water resistance materially influenced her choice to purchase the Galaxy S7, and she would not have made the purchase absent Samsung’s representations that the device was water resistant.

Girard said Samsung did not provide his client a reason why it advertises the phone as water resistant, but told Legal Newsline, “Water-resistance is an advantage in a competitive market.”

Velasquez-Reyes alleges in the complaint Samsung provided the same response to other consumers who faced the same issue. Girard said, “We obtained this information through our investigation,” but said he does not know how many other consumers were affected.

Velasquez-Reyes alleges because of Samsung’s false advertising and refusal to refund or repair her phone, she suffered monetary damages from paying for a premium product. She is seeking class certification, trial by jury, monetary relief, injunctive and declaratory relief, interest, attorney fees and court costs.

Samsung did not respond to Legal Newsline’s request for comment.

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U.S. District Court for the Central District of California