ACCC Brings Apple To Heel To Honour Consumer Law on Refunds & Repairs

The customer is always iRight

Frustrated Apple users rejoice. The consumer watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), has struck a deal with the computer and phone seller to ensure it honours longer-lasting guarantees under Australian Consumer Law.

The ACCC has accepted a court enforceable undertaking from Apple after investigating the company’s guarantees policies and practices in the wake of concerns that Apple made a number of false or misleading representations, including that it wasn’t required to provide refunds, replacement or repair to consumers, despite consumers being entitled to them under the ACL.

They included its 14 day return policy and 12-month limited manufacturer’s warranty. The ACCC was also concerned that Apple staff were directing people with faulty non-Apple manufactured products purchased from Apple, to the manufacturer, rather than dealing with it as required by law.

Apple has acknowledged it may have contravened the ACL.

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said he was concerned that Apple was attempting to override Australian Consumer Law in favour of its own warranties and refund policies.
“This undertaking serves as an important reminder to businesses that while voluntary or express warranties can provide services in addition to the consumer guarantee rights of the ACL, they cannot replace or remove those ACL guarantee rights,” he said.

Australian Consumer Law guarantees have no set expiry date and may go beyond the two years offered by many. “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,” Mr Sims said.

As well as the range of Apple products, the agreement also applies to non-Apple manufactured products such as headphones and printers; and
products and software purchased on Apple’s iTunes and App stores.

The ACL was introduced in 2011 and provides basic rights for consumer goods sold in Australia in addition to any express or voluntary warranties offered by businesses and cannot be excluded by a business’ terms and conditions of sale.