HP prosecuted by Australian consumer regulator
Tough warranty conditions alleged to mislead and deceive punters
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the nation's guardian of consumer rights and regulator of competition and consumer law, has commenced legal action against HP over its warranty and repair practices.
The ACCC is upset with HP for five reasons, namely:
- The remedies available for a faulty HP product were limited to remedies available from HP at its sole discretion;
- Consumers must have had a faulty HP product repaired multiple times by HP before they were entitled to receive a replacement;
- The warranty period for HP products was limited to a specified express warranty period;
- Following the expiration of an express warranty period, HP would repair faulty HP products on the condition that consumers pay for such repairs
- Consumers could not return or exchange HP products purchased from the HP Online Store, unless otherwise agreed by HP at its sole discretion.
Those actions, the ACCC believes, are in contravention of the Australian Consumer Law's provisions that insist businesses tell the truth about their warranty obligations and consumers' rights to receive replacement products. The ACCC has wide powers and is wielding several against HP, with its statement about the case saying it will seek several remedies, including:
- Civil pecuniary penalties;
- Disclosure orders;
- Adverse publicity orders;
- Non-party redress for consumers affected by HP’s conduct;
- The implementation of a compliance program; and
If the ACCC wins the case, which will kick off on December 7th, HP will therefore have to pay damages, take out ads apologising for its conduct and get its house in order regarding warranties and how they are communicated to punters.
The case will be heard in Australia's Federal Court, the lowest court that hears matters pertaining to laws made by the Parliament of Australia. Appeal is possible to the Full Bench of the Court and then, under limited circumstances, to the High Court.
HP told The Reg, in a canned statement sent by a spokesperson, that “HP takes seriously the matters raised by the ACCC and will fully investigate and respond appropriately.” ®
I'm so old...
...I remember when HP stuff used to be good quality.
"HP takes seriously the matters raised by the ACCC and will fully investigate and respond appropriately
"HP knows full well what it did and is annoyed at formally being found out. Please bear with us while our PR department finds a way to spin the news and BS our way out of it"
I bet they will be spinning like maniacs, because the very announcement of this means customers will stop buying. It's well timed to become a large, fat spike into their Xmas sales..
The One Year Warranty Mindset
In the USA I gather that the only unpaid for repair/replace is the 1 year mfr warranty. The retailer seems to have no liability. In the USA retail prices are generally lower than in Europe.
In Europe some US firms try to apply US practice, regardless of the higher prices we pay -- and local law. Apple seems to have been a major perpetrator, glad to hear HP is being given a lesson in Oz.
Though it's not entirely straightforward nor universal across Europe, the typical model is that the retailer has responsibility for providing/supporting consumer durables that are actually durable. The warranty is essentially a support agreement from the mfr to the retailer.
Think how long a TV or fridge usually lasts as a guide to how long most substantial electronic goods might last *. Trading Standards used to suggest 6 years and within that period (roughly speaking) the retailer should repair or replace or refund a reasonable proportion of the price based on time.
* Actually, I have European and Japanese hifi gear still going after 35 years without fault.