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Old 03-18-2013, 09:42 PM   #1
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"Reasonable" consumer warranty 2 years in Australia

As I posted in the Apple forum, Apple is changing its official policy on warranties to 2 years in Australia, in line with consumer laws which say that a "reasonable" warranty period must be abided by, and imply that "reasonable", for electronic goods, is around two years.

Has anyone tried to get a warranty repair between 12 and 24 months in Australia for a Kobo e-reader? Anyone currently got a faulty device in that time range since purchase? Check up on your consumer rights.
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Old 03-19-2013, 05:28 PM   #2
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Only two years for electronic goods?

New Zealand has had a similar law for quite a while. Because the law just says that the goods should last as long as should be reasonably expected, there has been some debate about how long things should last for. Back in 2009 Consumer Magazine finally put together some figures. In the electronics category they say:

DVD, CD players and recorders, home theatre, hifi systems should last 3 - 15 years (depends on if it was a budget model or a high-end model).
LCD, plasma, CRT TVs should last 12+ years.
Computers, printers, scanners, phones should last 5+ years.
Cameras, camcorders, MP3 players should last 5 - 10 years.

I'm guessing that e-readers should probably fall into that last category, which means if my Kobo fails within 5 years then I've got a good chance of getting it replaced under our Consumer Guarantees law.
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Old 04-12-2013, 01:04 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meeera View Post
Has anyone tried to get a warranty repair between 12 and 24 months in Australia for a Kobo e-reader? Anyone currently got a faulty device in that time range since purchase? Check up on your consumer rights.
My KT (bought at Hardly Normal) came with an explicit 12 months' warranty. HN offered to sell me an extended 3 year warranty for something on the upside of $60, but my experience of extended warranties is that they're a total scam.

(Just one example: The last time I paid for an extended warranty was on a PMP, which turned out to fail within the 12 months and because that model was now discontinued it was replaced by the manufacturer with a newer model. The company that administered the extended warranty, which hadn't even kicked in yet, declared it invalidated because I now had a different model than the one it was bought for, and wouldn't move it over to the new device or give me any kind of refund. Thieves.)

I understand what you're saying, but sadly I don't think you've got any grounds here in Australia for claiming a warranty beyond the 12 months — at least, not that anyone is going to acknowledge.
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Old 04-12-2013, 01:41 AM   #4
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I understand what you're saying, but sadly I don't think you've got any grounds here in Australia for claiming a warranty beyond the 12 months — at least, not that anyone is going to acknowledge.

Well, the point of the article is that Apple is already acknowledging it, and that the law looks to be behind you if you do want to claim between 12 and 24 months. That means there is a certain amount of leverage to be had if you threaten the rights sorts of consumer action when declined.
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Old 04-13-2013, 10:22 PM   #5
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The 'statutory warranty' period in Australia is not necessarily based on the type of product, such as an e-reader or TV. Instead they "apply for the amount of time that is reasonable to expect, given the cost and quality of the item" (my emphasis) Reference here.

So a cheap no brand TV would not have the same statutory warranty period as a high end TV.

An e-reader, at $120, is not expensive but I would expect more than 12 months for sure. As the OP has asked would be interesting to see it tested with an e-reader.

The first port of call is to talk to the seller as it is "it is their responsibility to provide a remedy". As such there would be a variety of success depending on your retailer.
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Old 04-13-2013, 10:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meeera View Post
Well, the point of the article is that Apple is already acknowledging it, and that the law looks to be behind you if you do want to claim between 12 and 24 months. That means there is a certain amount of leverage to be had if you threaten the rights sorts of consumer action when declined.
If Apple is choosing to extend its explicit warranty period, then great. But that's due to consumer pressure, not legal requirement.

I'm not against a longer time period for warranties by any means — I think everyone would agree that 12 months is simply too short — I'm just saying that the law doesn't enforce any actual rights beyond the warranty terms, if stated, or a generic 12 months if no period is defined.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RickyB View Post
The 'statutory warranty' period in Australia is not necessarily based on the type of product, such as an e-reader or TV. Instead they "apply for the amount of time that is reasonable to expect, given the cost and quality of the item" (my emphasis) Reference here.

So a cheap no brand TV would not have the same statutory warranty period as a high end TV.
I don't think that's what the pamphlet says, RickyB. The only two references to an explicit period are when it says:

Quote:
Voluntary warranties usually apply for a set period – typically 12 months.
which defines what rights you have, and

Quote:
For example, it is reasonable to expect that an expensive television should not develop a serious fault after 13 months of normal use. In this case, the consumer could argue the item was not of merchantable quality
and ask for it to be repaired, even if the manufacturer’s voluntary warranty had expired
which defines what it may be reasonable for a consumer to ask a seller or manufacturer to consider.

And note that this is in reference to voluntary warranties, not statutory ones. It doesn't say we have the right to demand a remedy, only that that would be a reasonable basis for negotiation. It's left wide open for the seller to decline. It's not enforceable.

The only implicit statutory warranty we have is 12 months, unless the manufacturer voluntarily states otherwise.
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Old 04-13-2013, 11:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacEachaidh View Post
The only implicit statutory warranty we have is 12 months, unless the manufacturer voluntarily states otherwise.
Could you clarify please why you think that? The article I linked to says:

Quote:
Since January 1, 2011, when a new national Australian Consumer Law came into force, a statutory warranty for a “reasonable” period of time has existed for goods sold in Australia, even if the manufacturer's voluntary warranty (usually set at 12 months) has expired.
We are specifically talking about >12 months statutory warranty here, not voluntary.
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Old 04-14-2013, 12:54 AM   #8
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I was trying to make the distinction between rights you can enforce, and what you have "reasonable" grounds to negotiate — which means what you can ask for but not demand, and what the seller or manufacturer doesn't necessarily have to agree to.

It's all very well for the ACCC to say it's "reasonable" to ask for more (and I agree, it is), but that carries no legal weight whatsoever. Unless they want to create good word-of-mouth, the seller can simply say "No, I think 12 months' warranty is reasonable for this" and decline to act any further. Your only option then is to go to court (you can report it to the ACCC, but its own pamphlet says the ACCC won't take part in a dispute between a customer and a seller), but you still have to get the court to agree with you; it's not your automatic right, however much it should be, and that's my point.

It's not really a "statutory" warranty if it doesn't confer any enforceable rights. It's just an implied grounds for negotiation, and the seller can be as unreasonable as they want, stick to their guns and the basic 12 months, and they're not prosecutable for it.
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