Dear Lifehacker, I bought a new Asus laptop back in February. It started freezing at the end of March, requiring me to hold the power button to turn it off, after which the wifi module could not be detected. I contacted my retailer who referred me to Asus directly. They couriered my laptop and replaced the HDD saying it was faulty. Two months later, and I'm getting the same freezing problem again!
So onto my question: Am I eligible for a refund given my laptop is only four months old? What are my options given it is still under warranty? Bear in mind that I now consider Asus to be completely rubbish and aren't interested in a replacement. Thanks, Asus Annoyed
Broken Laptop picture by Shutterstock
You can absolutely get a refund, or a replacement. It's common for outlets to try to pass the buck, and certain international companies may even have policies in place (such as Steam, until recently) denying refunds. But according to Australian Consumer Protection Law, refunds should be given for faulty products if the customer wants one — and the non-repair that you describe doesn't absolve the manufacturer (or retailer) of its responsibility.
Choice has published the following tips for consumers:
If a product is not of acceptable quality the retailer can’t charge you for fixing it. Retailers can’t just refer you to the manufacturer. They’re obliged to resolve your issue. If the problem is ‘major’, you can ask for a refund or replacement rather than a repair. You should be informed if a replacement is second-hand or if they’ve used refurbished parts to repair it. Repairs must be made within a reasonable time. Mobile phones and fridges, for instance, must be given high priority, or you can demand a replacement. You don’t have to return a product in its original packaging, and if you’ve lost your receipt you can use the following as proof of purchase: a credit card statement that itemises goods, a confirmation or receipt number for a phone or internet transaction, a warranty card showing the date, price and place of purchase; or the serial or production number if it’s stored on the retailer’s computer.
So what's a "major" issue?
The ACCC describes it as:
- A problem that would have stopped someone from buying it if they’d known about it
- It is unsafe
- It is significantly different from the sample or description
- It doesn’t do what the business said it would and can’t easily be fixed
Freezing and faulty Wifi would definitely fall under those points, and it's beholden on not just the manufacturer but also the retailer to sort it out.
There are also more details on the ACCC's website.
Have a question you want to put to Ask Lifehacker? Send it using our contact form.