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Wednesday, 18 December 2013 14:40

Apple breached consumer law Featured

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Tech giant Apple has been lying to consumers about its obligation to replace or repair faulty computers, iPhones, iPads and iPods, and has now agreed to offer a  24-month warranty on all its products in Australia for the first time, rather than the more limited 12-month warranty it was applying globally.

The ACCC initiated an investigation into Apple's practices after concerns that Apple was misleading customers on their consumer rights, including telling customers that the company was not required to provide refunds and/or replace or repair products, when such guarantees are covered under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

The watchdog announced today that its the court-enforceable undertaking means all Apple products can be repaired or replaced where necessary within two years of purchase.

This matches the ACL, introduced in 2011, and is a year more than the 12 month warranty offered to Apple customers in other countries.

The ACCC had previously sought and received guarantees from Telstra, Optus and Vodafone that they would honour a two-year warranty for Apple iPhones and other devices bought through them.

The ACCC also said it was concerned Apple had redirected customers who had purchased faulty non-Apple products from the consumer giant to the manufacturer.

“The ACCC was concerned that Apple was applying its own warranties and refund policies effectively to the exclusion of the consumer guarantees contained in the Australian Consumer Law,” said ACCC chairman Rod Sims today in a statement.

“The ACL consumer guarantees have no set expiry date. The guarantees apply for the amount of time that it is reasonable to expect given the cost and quality of the item or any representations made about the item.”

As part of the undertaking Apple will also add extra training for all sales, management, and call centre staff members who deal with Australian customers, and maintain a website to outline differences between its warranty and ACL consumer guarantees. It will also have to "continue to make available in its retail stores in Australia copies of the ACCC’s “Repair, Replace, Refund” brochure."

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