New Zealand Commerce Commission Warns Apple About Misleading Consumers

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The New Zealand Commerce Commission today sent a warning to Apple over concerns that the company misled customers about their replacement rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act and Fair Trading Act, reports the New Zealand Herald.

According to the commission, Apple may have violated New Zealand consumer law by telling customers its products have a two year warranty and also referring customers who purchase non-Apple branded products from Apple to the manufacturer for warranty issues.


From an eight-page statement released by the Commerce Commission:
We consider that Apple is likely to be misleading consumers by trying to exclude its liability for non-Apple branded products. If this behaviour is continuing, we recommend you take immediate action to address our concerns and seek legal advice about complying with the Fair Trading Act."
The New Zealand Herald says the Commerce Commission began an investigation into Apple's practices in April 2016 after receiving complaints from consumers who sought repairs from Apple but were told that their products were covered by consumer law for just two years.

Under the Consumer Guarantees Act, there is no set two-year period after which it expires, with the act instead outlining a set of requirements for consumer devices regarding build quality (products must be free from defects).

According to Commissioner Anna Rawlings, businesses should not base warranty decisions in New Zealand "solely on how long a consumer has owned a product." Instead, the "reasonable lifespan" depends "very much on what that product is" and each fault must be assessed "on its own merits."

During the investigation, the commission also said that Apple is "likely to have misled" consumers by excluding liability for non-Apple products. Apple is responsible, says the commission, for "compliance with consumer guarantees applying to all products it sells, even if it is not the manufacturer."

There were also some issues discovered around the availability of spare parts and repairs after one New Zealand customer was told he could have a maximum of four replacements for a faulty product.

The commission says Apple made voluntary changes to address some of the concerns that were raised, including making it clear to Apple employees in New Zealand that consumer law rights are not bound by a set time period. The commission believes Apple will consider and fix the other issues that were raised during the investigation.

Article Link: New Zealand Commerce Commission Warns Apple About Misleading Consumers
 

Scottsoapbox

macrumors 6502a
Oct 10, 2014
851
3,018
So the law several vague statements instead of an objective time frame? That's crazy pants.

Pass a law for a longer warranty period fine, but an 'it all depends' regulation helps neither the consumer nor the manufacturer.

Is there a strong attorney lobby in New Zealand?
 

Junior117

macrumors 6502
Apr 9, 2015
275
350
Toronto, Canada
This is a bit confusing to me so let me see if I get this right:

If I buy a MacBook Pro and, say, a third-party hard drive (let's say LaCie) from the Apple Store. Then the hard drive stops working at no fault of my own. Does that mean Apple isn't allowed to refer the customer to LaCie's customer support? Becuase based off of how I understood the article, this is where my conclusion leads to. I'd be happy if someone were to clarify this for me.
 
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Bboss

macrumors newbie
Jun 6, 2017
4
9
I could see this provoking a little tiff where governments are concerned that their constituents trust Apple more than the government. If Apple responds to New Zealand’s report with something like “It’s unfortunate for everyone when our governments mislead consumers about...”, it would be interesting to see what New Zealand responds with. And I’d love to see a poll that shows consumer trust in Apple relative to their own government. Maybe this is because I live in America, where trust in National government has been low for decades.
 

sir1963nz

macrumors 6502a
Feb 9, 2012
583
875
So the law several vague statements instead of an objective time frame? That's crazy pants.

Pass a law for a longer warranty period fine, but an 'it all depends' regulation helps neither the consumer nor the manufacturer.

Is there a strong attorney lobby in New Zealand?
No because you don't need a lawyer. If the claim is under something like NZ$15,000 you take it the small claims court where lawyers are not allowed.

The Consumer Guarantees Act allows for variable time frames because no one expects a 5 year life from a cheap piece of Chinese junk bought for $150, but they can expect that from Apple "premium" marketed products.

And this applies to spares too, so it is NOT reasonable for a spare mother board to cost more than the computer in 3 years time. I have used the CGA to get a MacBook repaired when the mother board died at 3 1/2 years, a GPS unit that lost all its data at 18 months old, a camera that was 2 days outside of its 12 month warranty, and have helped others make successful claims. The CGA applies to workmanship too, one claim I helped with was with a Harley Davidson where they rebuilt the motor but failed to replace the oil filter and wash the sump out properly, the end user had it seize on them after about 200km, they got the price of having it rebuilt professionally.

Legislation like the CGA show the the government is working for the PEOPLE, the ones who elected them, and not for the corporations..
[doublepost=1527642159][/doublepost]
This is a bit confusing to me so let me see if I get this right:

If I buy a MacBook Pro and, say, a third-party hard drive (let's say LaCie) from the Apple Store. Then the hard drive stops working at no fault of my own. Does that mean Apple isn't allowed to refer the customer to LaCie's customer support? Becuase based off of how I understood the article, this is where my conclusion leads to. I'd be happy if someone were to clarify this for me.
Correct, the FIRST port of call is always the place you bought it from. The end consumer has no obligation to go any further back down the supply chain.
IF the shop you bought it from no longer exists, then you can go back along the supply chain with the same right.

You don't even need to be the original owner. So long as there is no unreasonable damage (ie it has been opened beyond what is reasonable , or dropped, etc) then the act still applies. You can reasonably expect for example a refrigerator to last 10+ years.
 

sir1963nz

macrumors 6502a
Feb 9, 2012
583
875
I could see this provoking a little tiff where governments are concerned that their constituents trust Apple more than the government. If Apple responds to New Zealand’s report with something like “It’s unfortunate for everyone when our governments mislead consumers about...”, it would be interesting to see what New Zealand responds with. And I’d love to see a poll that shows consumer trust in Apple relative to their own government. Maybe this is because I live in America, where trust in National government has been low for decades.
Our governments have traditionally been quite reasonable and in general have been elected by the people, for the people.
We may argue with them, we may dislike policies, hell one of our MPs was hit in the face with a dildo (https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11585275) , the perpetrator was not shot, put in prison for life or any of the extremism the USA suffers from.

However, if there was a war of words Apple vs the government, Apple would LOOSE BIG TIME.
For a start the government would bring up how Apple financially operates out of Australia and therefore pays ZERO taxes on their multi billions worth of business in NZ......
 

0007776

Suspended
Jul 11, 2006
6,474
8,051
Somewhere
So they have no specific time period for how long the warranty has to last, just vauge language, and they are responsible for warranty on third party products sold in their stores? That just seems ridiculous.
 

rmcq

macrumors newbie
Jul 15, 2009
21
54
Sounds very similar to Australian law. Apple got in strife a few years ago, and now state that the warranty is at least two years on all their products. They also got rapped over the knuckles for third party products too.

Looks like a Apple didn’t learn their lesson, that even though the US Govt loves to screw over their constituents in favour of giant corporations, that doesn’t happen everywhere.
[doublepost=1527644267][/doublepost]
So they have no specific time period for how long the warranty has to last, just vauge language, and they are responsible for warranty on third party products sold in their stores? That just seems ridiculous.
The products should last for a reasonable period of time. For example, an expensive iPhone should last much longer than a junky Chinese Android. If you say your product is premium, the law makes you put your money where your mouth is.

Popcorn please while I watch all the US citizens handwringing.
 

PlunderBunny

macrumors newbie
Nov 5, 2009
6
12
So they have no specific time period for how long the warranty has to last, just vauge language, and they are responsible for warranty on third party products sold in their stores? That just seems ridiculous.
The funny thing is that you can read the above as sarcastic or serious. I read it as sarcasm, but I wonder if the original poster's intent was that it was a serious statement.
 
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Nermal

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 7, 2002
18,681
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New Zealand
So they have no specific time period for how long the warranty has to last, just vauge language, and they are responsible for warranty on third party products sold in their stores? That just seems ridiculous.
Consider situations like the infamous 2011 MacBook Pros with the faulty video chips. It's a well-known problem and if it was to occur on my machine today then it'd be treated as a manufacturing defect and would not be related to my handling of the machine. It's reasonable to expect that it'd be covered under the CGA.

As for warranty on third-party products, I don't see why that's ridiculous. If you sell a product then you're responsible for its quality. Don't sell flaky junk if you don't want to support it.
 

LiveM

macrumors 65816
Oct 30, 2015
1,132
518
This is a bit confusing to me so let me see if I get this right:

If I buy a MacBook Pro and, say, a third-party hard drive (let's say LaCie) from the Apple Store. Then the hard drive stops working at no fault of my own. Does that mean Apple isn't allowed to refer the customer to LaCie's customer support? Becuase based off of how I understood the article, this is where my conclusion leads to. I'd be happy if someone were to clarify this for me.
That’s right: Apple sold it to you, and therefore it comes with a guarantee from Apple as to durability.

It’s really not much different to Apple sorting out the issues with your Samsung iPhone screen.
 

Candlelight

macrumors 6502a
Oct 12, 2011
734
535
New Zealand
Someone at my work took a 3.5 year old iMac back to the shop they bought it from and they helped replace the damaged components no questions asked. Didn't have AppleCare or anything.
 

JimmyHook

macrumors 6502a
Apr 7, 2015
594
1,247
How in God’s name can Apple warranty another company’s stuff??????? That part makes less than zero sense. That is functionally retarded
[doublepost=1527647891][/doublepost]So any retail store in New Zealand is responsible for fixing the products they sell???
 

Candlelight

macrumors 6502a
Oct 12, 2011
734
535
New Zealand
How in God’s name can Apple warranty another company’s stuff??????? That part makes less than zero sense. That is functionally retarded
[doublepost=1527647891][/doublepost]So any retail store in New Zealand is responsible for fixing the products they sell???
There are no Apple stores in New Zealand so yes, if they sell Apple products they have to oblige.
 
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JimmyHook

macrumors 6502a
Apr 7, 2015
594
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Consider situations like the infamous 2011 MacBook Pros with the faulty video chips. It's a well-known problem and if it was to occur on my machine today then it'd be treated as a manufacturing defect and would not be related to my handling of the machine. It's reasonable to expect that it'd be covered under the CGA.

As for warranty on third-party products, I don't see why that's ridiculous. If you sell a product then you're responsible for its quality. Don't sell flaky junk if you don't want to support it.
So, Apple is supposed to keep parts on hand for hundreds of third-party products, and get trained on how to repair them. The length of warranty for their own stuff is one thing, I can’t get over how dumb that second part is
[doublepost=1527648214][/doublepost]
There are no Apple stores in New Zealand so yes, if they sell Apple products they have to oblige.
So, a mom and pop shop in New Zealand sells me a Nikon camera. It fails after a year. They have to fix it?
 

PlunderBunny

macrumors newbie
Nov 5, 2009
6
12
So, Apple is supposed to keep parts on hand for hundreds of third-party products, and get trained on how to repair them. The length of warranty for their own stuff is one thing, I can’t get over how dumb that second part is
[doublepost=1527648214][/doublepost]

So, a mom and pop shop in New Zealand sells me a camera. It fails after a year. They have to fix it?
They are responsible for arranging for it to be fixed - they don't actually have to open it up and fix it themselves. Very often this simply takes the form of the shop liaising with the supplier of the camera. The shop might not even incur any expenses in doing this themselves if the supplier covers it.

If Apple sells a laptop to you with a third party drive, and the drive fails, you take the laptop back to Apple and they in turn take the drive back to the third-party supplier. After all, why should you know or care that there's a third-party drive in the laptop? You gave your money to Apple - they should fix it.

The consumer always deals with the vendor, and can't be fobbed off or given the run-around. The CGA (consumer guarantees act) is one of the best pieces of legislation in a long time.
 

JimmyHook

macrumors 6502a
Apr 7, 2015
594
1,247
Apple should just withdraw from NZ if it becomes too much of an issue. Their Gov can explain
Yes, that's the rule here. Consumers are very well looked after.
That’s not good. That means a giant company like Nikon gets away with poor quality while mom and pop needs to become engineers to figure out if every single product in their family shop is good or not and how to repair them. That’s insane
 

lec0rsaire

macrumors 65816
Feb 23, 2017
1,494
1,402
How in God’s name can Apple warranty another company’s stuff??????? That part makes less than zero sense. That is functionally retarded
[doublepost=1527647891][/doublepost]So any retail store in New Zealand is responsible for fixing the products they sell???
I am of course in favor of companies standing by their products but they’re just looking for Apple to say the hell with it and stop selling 3rd party stuff in their stores. I find Apple’s warranty in the U.S. more than reasonable for electronics. 1 year included with a total of 3 years with AppleCare. This is on top of a 14 day return window without any restocking fees.

There are a truckload of other companies whose warranties are effectively good for nothing like the typically 90 day warranties on most consumer electronics. Why aren’t they going after those companies?
 

xplora

macrumors member
Sep 23, 2010
69
42
Hamilton, New Zealand
Regarding Apple being responsible for products they sell but are made by others, here in NZ the retailer is responsible for making sure the problem is dealt with, redirecting to the manufacturer is fine, but the retailer is required to be able to handle it, if the customer prefers it.
 
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PlunderBunny

macrumors newbie
Nov 5, 2009
6
12
Apple should just withdraw from NZ if it becomes too much of an issue. Their Gov can explain


That’s not good. That means a giant company like Nikon gets away with poor quality while mom and pop needs to become engineers to figure out if every single product in their family shop is good or not and how to repair them. That’s insane
The mom and pop shop don't have to repair the product - they send it back to Nikon. They don't need to engineer anything. Furthermore, no-one is forcing a shop to stock a particular product - if the company has a reputation for poor quality, the shop shouldn't sell their products.
 

Candlelight

macrumors 6502a
Oct 12, 2011
734
535
New Zealand
Apple should just withdraw from NZ if it becomes too much of an issue. Their Gov can explain


That’s not good. That means a giant company like Nikon gets away with poor quality while mom and pop needs to become engineers to figure out if every single product in their family shop is good or not and how to repair them. That’s insane
Sorry, I'll clarify; they don't have to perform the work themselves, that part is obviously left to the engineers etc. The mom and pop store is responsible for getting it organised. They will usually push you off to the manufacturer but they're not supposed to.
 
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sully54

macrumors regular
Sep 15, 2012
225
286
Canada
That’s right: Apple sold it to you, and therefore it comes with a guarantee from Apple as to durability.

It’s really not much different to Apple sorting out the issues with your Samsung iPhone screen.
As a consumer, this makes no logical sense to me.

The manufacturer is the one who guarantees the workmanship, not the retailer. So why should I go to the retailer, which wouldn’t be trained in any proper way on the manufacturer’s goods, to make a claim on the warranty?

It almost like I’m asking for a hammer to hit on my head dealing with a middle man when I could just go directly to the manufacturer.

Edit: I just want to add that there’s a difference between a hard drive being a component of a greater whole, and a stand alone hard drive sold as is.

Even if the hard drive in my Mac is a Samsung, the unit sold to me is Apple and they guarantee the workmanship (ie: they guarantee that all components work). If I buy a lacie hard drive as is in an Apple store, lacie guarantees workmanship. Apple’s relationship with the customer is merely transactional.
 
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