updated 11:40 am EDT, Mon March 18, 2013
Some Apple workers allegedly told not to talk about new rights
Apple has extended the default warranty on its products in Australia from one year to two years, but retail staff are being told not to advertise that fact, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. In January 2011 a new Australian Consumer Law came into force, mandating that many products come with a warranty of "reasonable" length, even if a manufacturer's stated warranty has expired. What constitutes a reasonable length has been left flexible, but the country's Competition and Consumer Commission recommends that for a product like an expensive TV, the period can be up to two years.
The Herald notes that when people have brought Apple devices in for service since the beginning of 2011, they have often had to pay for repairs or replacement despite being within ACL boundaries, simply because they were outside a one-year period and hadn't paid for AppleCare. Some people have tried to assert their rights, but have have frequently lost their battles to get free service from Apple or third-party resellers. Apple has posted a notice on its website acknowledging its responsibilities, but the Herald says it has seen an email memo circulated at an Apple Store telling staff not to talk to shoppers about the extended statutory warranty.
An Apple spokeswoman, Fiona Martin, has refused to comment on the matter. The company has faced similar accusations before: in Italy, it recently received multiple fines for ignoring European warranty laws, since for some time it continued to market AppleCare as being necessary for two years of coverage. European law is stricter than Australia's, specifically requiring two years by default.