news The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has commenced court proceedings against LG Electronics Australia, saying that the tech giant made “false or misleading” representations to consumers over their rights regarding faulty products.
The ACCC alleges that, specifically regarding complaints about defects with TVs, LG “misrepresented” to consumers, retailers or repairers that the remedies available to consumers were limited to the LG manufacturer’s warranty and where the defect occurred after the LG manufacturer’s warranty had expired:
- the consumer was only entitled to a remedy if the consumer paid the assessment costs
- and/or LG had no further obligations and any step it took in relation to the TV was an act of goodwill
- and/or the consumer was only entitled to have the TV repaired (no refunds or replacements)
- and/or the consumer was liable for the labor costs of the repair.
“When consumers buy products, they come with a consumer guarantee under the Australian Consumer Law that they will be of acceptable quality. This guarantee is in addition to any express manufacturer’s warranty,” said ACCC Chairman Rod Sims.
He explained: “Although the manufacturer’s warranty only applies for a specified period of time, consumers will often still be entitled under the consumer guarantee to a repair, refund or replacement after the manufacturer’s warranty ends.”
”The ACCC will not hesitate to take appropriate action against manufacturers who misrepresent consumers’ rights and remedies for defective products under the Australian Consumer Law,” Sims continued. “The Australian Parliament has conferred these important rights on consumers, and these rights should not be undermined by misrepresentations.”
The ACCC said it is seeking declarations, injunctions, pecuniary penalties, corrective notices, a trade practices compliance programme and costs. The issue will undergo a Case Management Conference in the Federal Court in Melbourne on 5 February 2016.
Australian Consumer Law (ACL) considers that, when consumers buy products, they come with a guarantee that they will be of acceptable quality. Hence, products will be as free from defects, safe and durable as a “reasonable consumer” would regard as acceptable. This guarantee is in addition to any manufacturer’s warranty and is not limited to the period of the manufacturer’s warranty.
In many cases, it will apply for longer than the manufacturer’s warranty, and if the product is not of acceptable quality, consumers are entitled to remedies, such as a refund, replacement or repair, at no cost to the consumer.
The ACCC has previously taken court action against LG for misleading or deceptive conduct with respect to the existence and duration of statutory warranties.
Image credit: ACCC