Thursday, 06 April 2017 12:07

ACCC acts over claims Apple violated consumer laws

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has filed suit in the Federal Court again Apple, accusing the company of making "false, misleading, or deceptive representations about consumers’ rights" under Australian Consumer Law.

In a statement, the ACCC said it had begun an investigation after reports of the appearance of an error on iPads and iPhones after application of an update. After this update, a message saying "Error 53" appeared on the devices.

The consumer watchdog said its prove had shown that Apple refused to examine or service defective devices if these had previously been repaired by a third party, even in cases where the repair had no connection to the fault.

It said that under Australian Consumer Law, there were guarantees about quality, suitability for purpose and other characteristics of goods and services, "and consumers are entitled to certain remedies at no cost where goods and services do not comply with the consumer guarantees".

The ACCC claims Apple told consumers whose devices had the "error 53" problem that they were not entitled to free service if their devices had previously been repaired by so-called "unauthorised repairers".

However, it said, this did not invalidate the consumer’s right to a remedy for non-compliance with consumer guarantees.

“Consumer guarantee rights under the Australian Consumer Law exist independently of any manufacturer’s warranty and are not extinguished simply because a consumer has goods repaired by a third party,“ ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

“Denying a consumer their consumer guarantee rights simply because they had chosen a third party repairer not only impacts those consumers but can dissuade other customers from making informed choices about their repair options including where they may be offered at lower cost than the manufacturer.”

“As consumer goods become increasingly complex, businesses also need to remember that consumer rights extend to any software or software updates loaded onto those goods. Faults with software or software updates may entitle consumers to a free remedy under the Australian Consumer Law.”

The ACCC is seeking pecuniary penalties, injunctions, declarations, compliance programme orders, corrective notices, and costs.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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