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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

7 ways to champion a human centred design culture

Human Centred Design (HCD) has come a long way in the last decade with many forward-thinking organisations now asking for HCD teams on their projects. It’s increasingly seen as essential to unlocking innovation, driving superior customer experiences and reducing delivery risk.

Shane Burford

Head of research and design, RXP Group

Building a human-curated brand

If the FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google) sector and their measured worth are the final argument for the successful 21st Century model, then they are beyond reproach. Fine-tuning masses of algorithms to reduce human touchpoints and deliver wild returns to investors—all with workforces infinitesimally small compared to the giants of the 20th Century—has been proven out.

Will Smith

Co-founder and head of new markets, The Plum Guide

Sustainability trends brands can expect in 2020

​Marketers have made strides this year in sustainability with the number of brands rallying behind the Not Business As Usual alliance for action against climate change being a sign of the times. While sustainability efforts have gained momentum this year, 2020 is shaping up to be the year brands are really held accountable for their work in this area.

Ben King

CSR manager & sustainability expert, Finder

Hey Vanessa, thanks for providing us the things marketers should know about data privacy. This was really an informative post.

astha sharma

5 things marketers should know about data privacy in 2020

Read more

Well, that's good to know that. Any other news you want to share here? I can't wait to see more.

Phil Godfrey

Queensland appoints first chief customer and digital officer

Read more

It's a pretty interesting article to read. I will learn more about this company later.

Dan Bullock

40 staff and 1000 contracts affected as foodora closes its Australian operations

Read more

If you think it can benefit both consumer and seller then it would be great

Simon Bird

Why Ford is counting on the Internet of Things to drive customer engagement

Read more

It's a good idea. Customers really should control their data. Now I understand why it's important.

Elvin Huntsberry

Salesforce CMO: Modern marketers have an obligation to give customers control of their data

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in