If any business thinks the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) doesn't take Australian consumer protection seriously, take note of this: the regulator has just fined HP $3 million for misleading consumers over their warranty rights.
Money picture from Shutterstock
The ACCC announced today it had reached an agreed settlement with HP over the case, after launching legal action last October. The behaviour which HP admitted to included:
- the remedies available to consumers were limited to the remedies available at HP's discretion;
- consumers were required to have their product repaired multiple times before they were entitled to a replacement;
- the warranty period for HP products was limited to a specified express warranty period;
- consumers were required to pay for remedies outside the express warranty period; and
- products purchased online could only be returned to HP at HP's sole discretion.
Under Australian law, all consumers have a right to choose the remedy they want (refund, repair or replacement) in the event of a major flaw, manufacturers can't unreasonably limit the period a warranty applies for, and consumers don't have to bear the cost of return if a warranty repair is required. Anyone selling stuff in Australia, take note.
HP issued an apology following the announcement:
We deeply regret that in the instances identified by the ACCC, HP fell short of our core commitment to high standards of service for Australian consumers who purchased our HP-branded desktop computers, notebooks/laptops and printers and of our duties under Australian consumer laws . . . We will provide customer support to assist consumers in resolving concerns with HP products in accordance with the Australian Consumer Law and have established a specific consumer redress program (involving a customer contact centre) to help with past concerns relating to HP-branded desktop computers, notebooks/laptops and printers.