Apple forced to adopt new warranty policy after ACCC investigation

Australian vendor business agrees to a number of compliance measures after its returns and warranty conditions failed to meet Australian Consumer Law guidelines

Apple Australia has admitted to misleading consumers around returns and warranty conditions and been forced to adopt a new warranty policy following an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) investigation.

The watchdog began scrutinising Apple’s consumer guarantee policies and practices after becoming concerned that the vendor was not meeting guaranteed obligations around refunds, replacement or repair conditions under Australian Consumer Law (ACL). The law came into effect on 1 January 2011 and provides consumers with a basic set of rights in relation to consumer goods sold in Australia.

An ACCC statement said it suspected the false and misleading claims were the result of staff and representatives misapplying Apple’s policies including its 14-day return policy and 12-month limited manufacturer’s warranty.

Apple products implicated are iPods, iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, iMacs and peripherals. Thirty-party products including headphones and printers, along with software available through iTunes and App stores, are also affected.

Under a court enforceable undertaking, Apple has acknowledged the ACCC’s concerns and is now committed to taking a number of compliance measures.

These include not making representations to consumers contrary to the ACL; continuing to offer a consumer redress program to allow those affected to have their claims reassessed; clarifying the differences between the coverage provided by the ACL and Apple’s voluntary limited manufacturer’s warranty; and making available copies of the ACCC’s Repair, Replace, Refund in its retail stores.

Apple has also agreed to implement a program to improve ACL compliance training for Apple sales and management staff; ongoing monitoring of ACL compliance; and maintaining a webpage aimed at providing information. In addition, Apple accepted the ACL may provide for remedies beyond 24 months for a number of its products.

“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,” ACCC chairman, Rod Sims, stated.

“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.”

Read more: Apple buys Beats Electronics for US$3bn

The Apple win comes off the back of a busy month for the ACCC. Last week, the watchdog won an appeal in the High Court of Australia which saw a $2 million penalty against TPG for misleading advertising reinstated.

The ACCC’s investigation into misconduct by Excite Mobile around its mobile phone services already reached a successful conclusion in late November after the company was fined $455,000 by the Federal Court.

More on Apple

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia

Signup to CMO’s new email newsletter to receive your weekly dose of targeted content for the modern marketing chief.

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Brand management starts with management

As the world continues to grow and evolve, it’s more important than ever to build a strong brand that articulates your message clearly and consistently, stands out against the noise, and develops relevance with the people that matter. This makes managing your brand a key component to gaining cut-through and ultimately business success.

Dan Ratner

managing director, Uberbrand

Disrupting marketing as we know it

Call it digital disruption or the fourth industrial revolution, our rapidly evolving environment is affecting consumer perceptions, purchase behaviours and the way they consume information and products.

Jean-Luc Ambrosi

Author, marketer

Should your disclaimer become your headline?

To avoid misleading customers, or simply through fear of legal backlash, advertising has evolved to hide the potential shortcomings of an offer in its disclaimer.

Sam Tatam

Head of behavioural science, OgilvyChange Australia

Very very good piece- very novel and innovative and very possibly- effective - way to look at one's communication headlines!

Patrick Dsouza

Should your disclaimer become your headline? - Brand science - CMO Australia

Read more

Excellent post Rob, Mobile app users are growing day by day. Everyday lots of apps are launched in the market but not every app retains t...

Marcus Miller

Why app engagement must be personalised - Mobile strategy - CMO Australia

Read more

What’s Happening In The PR World?http://blog.fullintel.com/what...

Vinish

Panel: The future of email marketing is about contextual data

Read more

very informative blog. I really like the information given in this blog.http://gng.com.au/

Gajanand Choudhary

The evolving role of the CMO - The CMO view - CMO Australia

Read more

It is true That’s the new read following up Deloitte Digital's Digital disruption - Short Fuse, blowup analysis series, that appearance t...

miller645645@mail.ru

Digital disruption about to impact health, education sectors

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in