‘Sorry, it’s out of warranty’… You may have heard these words from a vendor if you’ve investigated having a product repaired. In this article Gene Schirripa discusses the recent case of ACCC v LG Electronics Australia Pty Ltd (2019) ATPR 42-268. He explains why this case serves as a good reminder to us all that, even if we’ve been told that our product is out of warranty, consumer guarantees may still apply.

The decision

The Full Federal Court held that that LG Electronics Australia (LG) engaged in two instances of ‘false or misleading conduct’. LG was ordered to pay penalties of $160,000 (with a decision regarding costs not yet finalised).

The court focused on two specific and separate cases of false and misleading conduct when a customer was told that:

  1. their television could not be repaired because it was out of warranty
  2. LG could not do anything about a defective television because it was out of warranty.

The Australian Consumer Law (ACL)

The ACL provides for a number of consumer guarantees, including that products must be of acceptable quality. This means they must be, among other things:

  • safe and durable
  • free from defects
  • acceptable in appearance and finish.

Consumers are often entitled to a repair, refund or replacement even after a manufacturer’s warranty has come to an end. Therefore, the representations made by LG in the above instances were held to be false and misleading.

It’s important that you are aware of your rights at law as a consumer. Consumers are often entitled to refunds or repairs for defective items, notwithstanding any representations a vendor may make about a product.