By Wares May 30, 2018 Industry news

ComCom writes to Apple NZ for "likely" breaching Kiwi consumers' CGA rights and for allegedly avoiding liability on non-Apple products.

The Commerce Commission today said it has warned Apple Sales New Zealand after it "likely misled" consumers about their Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) rights and about its replacement products being new.

In the Commission’s view, Apple is "likely" to have breached the Fair Trading Act by:

  • Telling consumers that products are only covered by a guarantee for two years.
  • Referring consumers exclusively to the manufacturer of non-Apple branded products and excluding Apple’s liability for those products.

The Commerce Commission says Apple told some customers that their products were only covered by consumer law for two years and considers this was misleading as guarantees in the CGA do not expire after a legally prescribed period of time but apply "for a reasonable period".

Adds the Commission: "What is reasonable depends on the nature of the goods, any statements made about the goods and how the consumer, in fact, uses the goods.”

The investigation also found Apple was likely to have misled consumers by "trying to exclude its liability for non-Apple branded products when Apple is responsible, as a retailer, for compliance with the consumer guarantees applying to all products it sells, even if it is not the manufacturer".   

Retailers "must not point blank refuse to address consumer complaints and refer consumers exclusively to manufacturers for attention,” says the Commission.

The Commission also warned Apple about:

  • Telling consumers that they must accept a defined number of replacement goods before an alternative remedy would be made available (the CGA imposes no such limits).
  • Excluding liability when consumers might be entitled to compensation for some losses under the CGA.
  • Providing conflicting information on Apple’s website about the availability of spare parts and repairs for some products.
  • Leading consumers to believe that their faulty Apple products were being replaced with new products when they were in fact supplied with re-manufactured products.

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