Investigator: know your warranty rights

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Investigator: know your warranty rights

One thing is clear: knowing your rights can save you money, and time

Investigator has a simple message this week: know your warranty rights. It’s a topic that comes up again and again as many readers are confused about their rights for refunds, repairs and replacements when things go wrong with their products.

The issue has come to the fore again because MSY Technology is accused of making false or misleading warranty representations by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

MSY Technology, a national company that sells computers, software and related goods, is alleged to have misrepresented consumers’ warranty rights in notices, price lists, pamphlets and promotional material placed in stores, and on certain receipts issued to customers.

No company should misrepresent a consumer’s warranty rights, knowingly or unknowingly,  but companies wouldn’t get away with this so easily if consumers knew their rights. Consumers aren’t advised to just rely on sales staff to tell them about their warranty rights.

In the simplest terms, all goods must meet a level of quality and performance that’s reasonable to expect given their price and description, and must be free of defects that weren’t obvious at purchase.

Goods must be suitable for any purpose the consumer made known to the retailer and they must match any description provided, or any sample shown.

If any of these conditions are not met the consumer has certain rights against the goods’ retailer or manufacturer, including the right to replacement or repair of the goods.

One of the main areas of confusion is to do with a manufacturer’s and/or retailer’s 12-month guarantee. These are voluntary warranties that are in addition to statutory rights, which cannot be overridden or ignored.

Statutory rights don’t have a fixed time limit, regardless of what the manufacturer or retailer voluntary warranty states. Depending on the price and quality of the goods, a consumer may be entitled to a remedy after any voluntary warranty has expired.

Your warranty rights are automatic and don’t require products or warranty cards to be registered with the manufacturer.

The ACCC is seeking court orders in relation to MSY Technologies that may include a compliance program and corrective notices.

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