Apple Forced to Change Refund Policy Under Australian Consumer Law

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Apple is being forced to change its refund policy to fit under Australian consumer law after it was found to be lying to consumers about what they were entitled to by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
Apple and its suppliers told Australian consumers they were only entitled to what Apple wanted to offer them when products failed, rather than what they should have been entitled to under Australia's new consumer laws.
Under Australian consumer protection law, Apple is required to provide either a full refund or replacement for products with "major failure" and to offer free repairs, refunds or replacements for products with "minor faults". Apple is also responsible for non-Apple products sold in Australian Apple Stores. Apple's warranty practices and AppleCare packages must offer services in addition to Australian consumer law, rather than replacing them.

Instead, the ACCC found that Apple was telling Australian consumers they were only entitled to a full refund if the product was returned within two weeks rather than the two years under Australian law. Apple was also apparently telling consumers they could only get a full refund or replacement on products within a year of purchase, rather than two years. Finally, Apple was saying it was not responsible for non-Apple products it sold and only offered store credit rather than full refunds or replacements.

In response, Apple will start reassessing all claims about faulty products purchased over the past two years starting on January 6, and will provide customers with new warranty benefits once reviewed. The older claims will take 90 days to review, with the ACCC potentially taking further action if Apple does not follow through. In addition, Apple will publish a note on its website detailing Australian consumer rights, stock ACCC consumer rights brochures in its retail stores, and retrain staff and resellers.

Apple has run into trouble with its warranty practices in the past. In March, Apple adjusted its warranty policies to fit under Australian consumer law as well. Apple has also faced fines over AppleCare practices in Italy and lawsuits from other countries in the European Union.

Article Link: Apple Forced to Change Refund Policy Under Australian Consumer Law
 

Lancer

macrumors 68020
Jul 22, 2002
2,128
93
Australia
IMO any new computer or tablet should last at least 5 years without fault so warranties should reflect this. Its good to see Apple is being 'forced' to change its policy but when I get my iMac just under a year ago I opted for the extended warranty even though under Australian law it's most likely covered for 3 years anyway.
 

MrSmith

macrumors 68040
Nov 27, 2003
3,046
14
I thought Apple simply got round refunds/repairs by claiming water damage.
 

bushido

Suspended
Mar 26, 2008
8,070
2,754
Germany
i always thought u have to proof that it was defective from the start after one year which seems rather impossible. u learn sth new each day i guess
 

BlueParadox

macrumors 6502
Sep 3, 2010
280
175
Melbourne, Australia
Great news. Like an early Christmas present, but not sure from whom...

Yeah, something seemed a bit easy a few weeks back in the local Apple Doncaster store when just out curiosity I took a sick iPad 2 (purchased from early last year) in for a diagnosis and they replaced it with a new one! It was well and truly out of the stated 1 year warranty.

Apple Australia must have known the ACCC was going to push this through, and so prepared their troops. Definitely makes me rethink purchasing the Applecare ever again - for iPhones and iPads that is; now there's on need with their warranty covering only 2 years. Might be good, however, to extend a purchased Mac's warranty up to 3 years.
 

buysp

macrumors 6502
Feb 12, 2013
276
0
Sydney, Australia
I like Apple products but...

It's about time Apple fell into line! We cannot have corporations dictating terms to consumers and governments!

Now do i or don't i purchase Applecare for my late 2013 rMBP?
 

roland.g

macrumors 604
Apr 11, 2005
6,583
1,571
This is just another ridiculous example of people wanting something for free. Sad to see so many people agree with this.
 

leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
10,390
4,904
IMO any new computer or tablet should last at least 5 years without fault so warranties should reflect this. Its good to see Apple is being 'forced' to change its policy but when I get my iMac just under a year ago I opted for the extended warranty even though under Australian law it's most likely covered for 3 years anyway.
If you don't mind computer prices rising 10-15% to account for the longer warranty, sure ;)
 

diazj3

macrumors 6502a
Jan 19, 2008
879
135
This is just another ridiculous example of people wanting something for free. Sad to see so many people agree with this.
Seriously? for free?

As a screwed 2008 MacbookPro NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT debacle customer, with my computer failing just one month after they unilaterally closed the repair program in 2012, bricking a 42 month old computer - for which I paid very good money for - because of their incompetence and greed... I agree. I wish more governments would have the balls to truly represent their citizens interests, instead of boosting consumption.
 

Mike Oxard

macrumors 6502a
Oct 22, 2009
802
454
This is just another ridiculous example of people wanting something for free. Sad to see so many people agree with this.
It's not free, we pay for this as part of the price of the item we are buying. Apple know full well what is expected of them when they sell an item in any market and price that item accordingly. If they are then trying to deceive consumers it is they that are in the wrong, not the consumer.
 

b0bab0i

macrumors regular
Jan 10, 2012
155
2
Seriously? for free?

As a screwed 2008 MacbookPro NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT debacle customer, with my computer failing just one month after they unilaterally closed the repair program in 2012, bricking a 42 month old computer - for which I paid very good money for - because of their incompetence and greed... I agree. I wish more governments would have the balls to truly represent their citizens interests, instead of boosting consumption.
This was actually an Nvidia manufacturer GPU defect for 8400 and 8600 models, same thing happened to my Sony vaio FZ. Sony extended the GPU/ motherboard warranty to 5 years from purchase date from funds Nvidia allocated for this recall.
 

H2SO4

macrumors 601
Nov 4, 2008
4,480
4,319
I can see the refund and replacement requirements forcing prices up.
Don't see how they can get much higher but I agree. Consumers will never learn that it only actually seems like they win.
 

diazj3

macrumors 6502a
Jan 19, 2008
879
135
This was actually an Nvidia manufacturer GPU defect for 8400 and 8600 models, same thing happened to my Sony vaio FZ. Sony extended the GPU/ motherboard warranty to 5 years from purchase date from funds Nvidia allocated for this recall.
I know... but Apple is liable for repairs and warranty, as Sony was. Instead, they only extended the warranty repairs for 3 years, and cut it for all of them without warning at the end of 2012.
 

MattInOz

macrumors 68030
Jan 19, 2006
2,761
0
Sydney
This is just another ridiculous example of people wanting something for free. Sad to see so many people agree with this.
For free no?
I paid good money a product that should last for a reasonably expected life span. For computers and electronics it's been established that should be a minimum two years. ie. most reasonable people expect a computer to last that long before battery, hard drive, screen backlight might be an issue. This is what Australian Law covers and gives consumers confidence buying a product. Apple want to sell here that is our law.

Not to mention they mark up to cover local compliance. So it's not free at all.

If I purchase overseas then it would be for free or I'd be unreasonable to expect coverage beyond standard warranty.
 

Jessica Lares

macrumors G3
Oct 31, 2009
9,244
750
Near Dallas, Texas, USA
Full refund within 2 years? That's the work of a nanny state, of which the United States is in danger of becoming.
Yeah, this is my problem right there. Replacement, sure, refund? No way. I will never open up a business in Australia if it's going to be that way. It's like giving away a free upgrade.

If you're so offended by the large markups, then you have a choice not to buy the product in the first place BTW. It's the same here in America. I want to buy a CD from the UK, it's going to cost me $10-20 markup to import it.
 

H2SO4

macrumors 601
Nov 4, 2008
4,480
4,319
Not to mention they mark up to cover local compliance. So it's not free at all.
This is the only part of your statement that is irrefutable. The rest, (as much as I'd love a lifetime warranty), is down to a matter of opinion.
Consumers and business need to be more transparent on both sides. Business can be made to and often, (though not always), receive penalties when they are not. Consumers on the other hand are quite often and without recourse, dishonest.
They arrive at a store, (any store not just Apple), and it's 'Oh no I didn't drop it, that chip was from being in my pocket with my keys', or, 'No I haven't worn it - it was creased as it was left in the bag'. Business on the other hand may try and employ shady practices to try and counter this to conserve profits.
I was in Currys recently and somebody brought in a laptop with a problem, it was a few months old. Did they refund it? No.
They had to send it off for repair that may take up to six weeks.
 

roland.g

macrumors 604
Apr 11, 2005
6,583
1,571
So almost every consumer electronic comes with a 1 year warranty typically, though some are only 90 days. And all these items are also typically filled with parts sourced from various suppliers, hard drives, memory, CPUs, GPUs and so on. And so most retail outlets or manufacturers, Apple, Best Buy, or through 3rd party programs like Square Trade offer the ability to buy some piece of mind for an additional price to cover in most cases all repairs for a period of 3 years instead of 1. Some add negligence to that, covering you for your own idiocy and clumsiness. Or you can risk it and go without.

But you've decided (as has the Australian government as well) that 1 year is insufficient and instead it must be 2. I'm not sure I agree that any manufacturer has to cover an item for that long a period on a default basis. The customer does have the option to repair an item, and in many cases some manufacturers, Apple included, will still offer a free repair beyond the warranty period, without being forced to do so.

And in addition to this, the Australian consumer laws dictate that any product, Apple or 3rd party sold through their retail channels must also be covered by Apple, not the manufacturer of the product? Really, I think that is ridiculous. That's like telling a grocery store to ensure that the food you buy stays good until you decide to eat it.
 

b0bab0i

macrumors regular
Jan 10, 2012
155
2
I know... but Apple is liable for repairs and warranty, as Sony was. Instead, they only extended the warranty repairs for 3 years, and cut it for all of them without warning at the end of 2012.
Yeah that kinda sucks. I'm glad Sony extended it to 5 years. I guess Apple just kept the money for themselves because from the reports, Nvidia had money set aside and gave money to the laptop manufacturers to cover the recall but allowed them to choose the terms of the extended warranty.
 
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