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Avoiding consumer guarantees without breaking the law – avoid this sneaky tactic!

Fines imposed after LG found to have misled consumers over TV repairs

The recent case of LG versus the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (‘ACCC’) found LG had on two out of seven occasions misled consumers about their rights under Australian Consumer Law concerning repairs of televisions.

The electronics company faces fines of up to $1.1 million for each of the contraventions.

But in the five other instances, the three judges decided LG had not misled consumers by failing to mention information about the consumers’ rights under the Australian Consumer Law.

Australian Consumer Law applies as well as manufacturer’s warranty

Under Australian Consumer Law and irrespective of any manufacturer’s warranty, consumers are entitled to a repair, replacement or refund if goods or services are faulty and it is “reasonable” that the products should still be in a functioning quality considering their typical lifespan.

For example, despite a one-year manufacturer’s warranty on a television, the Australian Consumer Law still applies after that time lapses and it is likely you would be entitled to a repair, replacement or refund if there was a manufacturing fault that caused the television to malfunction or the reasonable working life for the product had not expired.

The LG case highlights a flaw in Australian consumer law. Companies that sell you goods and services have no obligation to tell you your rights. For consumers, the lesson from the LG case is to know their rights.

Important for consumers to know their rights

If a consumer does not know their rights, a company may get away with just referring to a product being out of warranty, pretending the Australian Consumer Law does not exist unless the customer mentions it.

A further case will hopefully clarify all this. In the meantime, consumers should learn their rights.



This article was written by Margaret Miller, partner at Bell Legal Group. It is general in nature, is not legal advice and must not be relied on as such. If you need assistance relating to the topics discussed, please contact Margaret to obtain advice specific to your circumstances. Call 07 5597 3366 or send an email to mmiller@belllegal.com.au