updated 07:20 am EST, Wed December 18, 2013
24-month warranties to be provided after consumer watchdog investigation
Apple is being forced to comply with the Australian Consumer Law, in another legal argument over its warranties. An investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) found that Apple staff in the country misapplied Apple's policies for 14-day returns and 12-month limited manufacturer's warranty, instead of ones required under the ACL itself.
Under the January 2011 ACL, customers are able to receive a refund if there is major fault, with protections automatically applied with a consumer guarantee at the time of purchase, reports ZDNet. This is also compounded by the ACCC finding that Apple staff directed owners of non-Apple products bought from an Apple store to the manufacturer, rather than directly dealing with the problem.
The ACCC has accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from Apple, with the company promising to provide the equivalent protections to consumers as provided under ACL, within 24 months of the date of purchase. Apple also acknowledges that the ACL also allows for some protection of products beyond the 24-month term, as the law applies guarantees for an amount of time it is reasonable to expect the product to last for, rather than a fixed term. Apple is also required to help customers previously turned away, reassessing claims under the ACL, to monitor and review ACL compliance, to maintain a webpage providing details on how Amazon's policies and the ACL differ, and copies of the ACCC's Repair, Replace, Refund brochure in store. Failure to do so could lead to fines or other penalties in the future.
"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," said ACCC chairman Rod Sims.
This is not the first time Apple has faced issues with its warranties. The company has made changes to its Chinese warranty policies for the iPhone 4 and 4S, and has come under fire from the European Commission over a similar issue, including repeated fines in Italy over AppleCare.