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Apple forced to comply with Australian Consumer Law over warranties

updated 07:20 am EST, Wed December 18, 2013

24-month warranties to be provided after consumer watchdog investigation

Apple is being forced to comply with the Australian Consumer Law, in another legal argument over its warranties. An investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) found that Apple staff in the country misapplied Apple's policies for 14-day returns and 12-month limited manufacturer's warranty, instead of ones required under the ACL itself.

Under the January 2011 ACL, customers are able to receive a refund if there is major fault, with protections automatically applied with a consumer guarantee at the time of purchase, reports ZDNet. This is also compounded by the ACCC finding that Apple staff directed owners of non-Apple products bought from an Apple store to the manufacturer, rather than directly dealing with the problem.

The ACCC has accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from Apple, with the company promising to provide the equivalent protections to consumers as provided under ACL, within 24 months of the date of purchase. Apple also acknowledges that the ACL also allows for some protection of products beyond the 24-month term, as the law applies guarantees for an amount of time it is reasonable to expect the product to last for, rather than a fixed term. Apple is also required to help customers previously turned away, reassessing claims under the ACL, to monitor and review ACL compliance, to maintain a webpage providing details on how Amazon's policies and the ACL differ, and copies of the ACCC's Repair, Replace, Refund brochure in store. Failure to do so could lead to fines or other penalties in the future.

"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," said ACCC chairman Rod Sims.

This is not the first time Apple has faced issues with its warranties. The company has made changes to its Chinese warranty policies for the iPhone 4 and 4S, and has come under fire from the European Commission over a similar issue, including repeated fines in Italy over AppleCare.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    The European court cases were NOT "a similar issue".

    Apple has ALWAYS complied with Euro warranty law to the letter. The Italian court case merely found that Apple neglected to explicitly define the Euro warranty requirement in their AppleCare sales literature.

  1. Grendelmon

    Senior User

    Joined: 12-26-07

    Man, I just hate it when people and companies are "forced" to comply with local laws. What a drag.

  1. YangZone

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 05-24-00

    @Harlot: In the EU, Apple was officially offering ("in the literature", same as USA) a one year warranty extended to 3 years with Apple Care and that was a problem for EU authorities. Apple Care would have looked a bit expensive for *one* added year!
    When a consumer has a fault it is common to look up the date of purchase and read the warranty to see if the fault is covered. More savvy consumers ignored the "literature" and demanded repairs per EU law and only then got satisfaction. (Electronics have a mandated minimum 2 year warranty in Europe.)

    If you google around re Apple's EU warranty problems you might find this to be the case.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    What you're missing is that the EU warranty is actually only a six-month warranty, and it is with the DEALER, not the manufacturer.

    After six months, YOU, the customer, have to PROVE (to the dealer that sold you the device) that the fault is a manufacturing or design defect, because the warranty only covers defects that were present at time of purchase. (A few countries in the EU have variations in implementation; this is the basic common denominator stipulated by EU law.)

    Apple's regular warranty, and AppleCare, by contrast, are honored by Apple themselves, regardless of where you bought the device, and the approach is "it's broken, and it doesn't look like YOU broke it? We'll fix it."

    NOBODY in the EU was denied the basic legally-required warranty. Plenty of people were denied satisfaction (in some cases actually receiving it after they got loud) because, like you, they thought they were entitled to some sort of service from Apple even though the law explicitly states that they weren't.

    I was in Apple sales in Germany for eight years, spanning the time before, the introduction, and well after the implementation of this EU "warranty", so I'm VERY familiar with its implications and the misunderstandings often even encouraged by dealers not wanting to deal with warranty coverage themselves.

    It's actually not so much a warranty as a lemon law.

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