Nokia slapped with ACCC warranty warning

Regulator cracks down on unfair contracts

ACCC chair, Graeme Samuel

ACCC chair, Graeme Samuel

Intervention by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has prompted Nokia Australia to retract unfair warranty conditions after it restricted claims to within three months of purchase.

The regulator found Nokia had consented to warranty conditions, drafted by Nokia Care Centre operator Fone Care, which also revoked consumers' ability to appeal warranty decisions and forced customers to consent to their personal information being disclosed to third parties. It said Nokia had breached consumer rights. The ACCC also uncovered a refund policy within the Nokia Care Centres that restricted statutory warranty claims to two weeks, of which Nokia was unaware.

“The consumers are fortunate to have a broad range of technical products to choose from and some of these products are becoming increasingly complex," said ACCC chair, Graeme Samuel, in a statement.

In January this year, the regulator forced Vodafone Hutchison Australia to extend its free prepaid handset fault repair warranties to match the duration of service contracts, and lengthen its replacement warranties from two weeks to 28 days.

The telco undertook to extend warranties to three years after it was revealed it had wrongly told prepaid customers inside the 14 day replacement window that they must repair their faulty handsets. The regulator would not confirm if it is investigating an industry-wide change to warranties, however a spokesperson told Computerworld that it is a long-held belief that the move should take place.

Warren Chaisatien, managing director of telecommunication analyst firm, Telsyte, said carriers would not extend basic repair warranties without ACCC intervention.

“Under the Trade Practices Act, however, goods and services are protected by statutory warranties that operate beyond manufacturer warranties,” he said. “Goods must be of merchantable or acceptable quality, fit for purpose and free from defects.”

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Tags governmentNokiaTelecommunicationsaccctelsyteVodafone Hutchison AustraliaTrade Practices Act

More about Australian Competition and Consumer CommissionAustralian Competition and Consumer CommissionHutchisonNokiaTelsyteVodafone

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