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Govt. Watchdog Group Finds Apple Misled Aussies On Consumer Rights

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the long-term-fixing dept.

Australia 85

beaverdownunder writes "Apple has agreed to an agreement to ensure staff inform customers of rights under Australian consumer law. Despite the 2011 law requiring retailers to provide a refund option for faulty goods, and free repairs to items reasonably expected to still function properly (this part of the law is intentionally ambiguous), Apple steadfastly stuck to its AppleCare program, denying warranty repairs to units more than one year old (without the purchase of an extension) and only offering replacement or credit for DOA items. Apple has promised to compensate all Australian customers who were charged for repairs during the last two years, and make the terms of the law clear on the Australian Apple website. How this will affect company warranty policy is unclear — under the law, consumers could be entitled to repairs for the life of the product (barring damage, of course)."

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85 comments

The law will change (1, Informative)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 4 months ago | (#45734197)

It's cheaper for Apple to change that law than to provide repairs.
It's more profitable for the lawmakers to change that law than to force Apple to provide repairs.

Therefore, the law will be changed.

Capitalist Oligarchy 101.

Re:The law will change (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45734231)

The current law is, ironically, bad for consumers. We currently have the choice of 1 year or two years. Now all apple prices will tend up to the international price plus apple care.

If Australians want to know why they are constantly charged more for things, this is an example of such regulation.

Re:The law will change (4, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 4 months ago | (#45734285)

If Australians want to know why they are constantly charged more for things, this is an example of such regulation.

Australians are charged more for things because charging Australians more for things produces a greater benefit than not charging them more.

Everything else is Stockholm syndrome. It's time to kill the beliefs about the fairness of the world.

Re:The law will change (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45734359)

Australians are charged more for things because charging Australians more for things produces a greater benefit than not charging them more.

Everything else is Stockholm syndrome. It's time to kill the beliefs about the fairness of the world.

Considering that Stockholm is one of the most expensive cities to live in in the world one can argue that even the excessive charging is Stockholm syndrome.

Re:The law will change (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45737635)

Pretty sure it also has to do with the fact that in Aus you can get a job that pays $20 an hour flipping burgers

Yeah, right. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45734579)

"Oh, consumer protection laws are bad for consumers!".

No, Chicken Little, it isn't.

Oh, and requiring things work well means you buy fewer of them. Each one bought has a profit margin built in for the stuff making it up, so you're paying more for 2 iPads lasting half as long than you do for 1 iPad.

Re:The law will change (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 4 months ago | (#45734793)

Oh a warranty period is why we're charged more for non-electronic goods, clothing items, food, and software sold as services through websites?

Please expand on that won't you.

Re:The law will change (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45735339)

You expect a company to stand behind the products they make. That costs money. Alot of money when the products are crap.

Here in america when you buy a crap product that fails the normal response is 'oh well, lets buy another one'. Oh that food i bought gave everyone salmonella? Sucks to be us.

But in australia you have options to get your money back.
So we have to charge australians more... To make up for those who got their cash back or actual quality out of a product.

Sorry. It's just good business. And hey. You're all backwards and standing on your heads down there on the ass of the planet. So you'll put up with it. You don't know any better.

Fuck you pay me.

Re:The law will change (1)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | about 4 months ago | (#45737693)

Because the lowest median household income in Aus is double what the USA considers to be 'poverty'?

Re:The law will change (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 4 months ago | (#45741569)

So just because my company here pays me more than my company pays the same position in the USA adjusted for exchange rate means that companies should screw people?

I wonder if they took into account that despite earning more my take home pay is lower than my USA counterparts given they are taxed at 25% while I'm taxed at 50%.

Also sub question: What came first, the unaffordable high prices and cost of living from screwing consumers, or the kindness of the corporations trying to make all their little peons rich?

What the USA considers poverty is irrelevant because the cost of living is different.

Re:The law will change (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45743703)

What exactly is a "lowest" median?

Re:The law will change (2)

erroneus (253617) | about 4 months ago | (#45735021)

Consumers need to give up on Apple. Why continue to believe that supply and demand works against a company which refuses to listen to demand?

Re:The law will change (2)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | about 4 months ago | (#45734237)

It's more profitable for the lawmakers to change that law than to force Apple to provide repairs.

Yes. It is also easier for lawmakers/political elite to seem to be forced to change the law against their will in order to avoid political fallout. "We are just normalizing with internationaly recognized laws", Enter the TPP [startpage.com] .

Re:The law will change (5, Informative)

gnoshi (314933) | about 4 months ago | (#45734367)

Since this is just the latest in a sequence of run-ins for Apple with the Australian consumer watchdog, I doubt it.
One of the things I like about living in Australia is the consumer protection law. Any phone you buy on a 2-year contract with a provider is required to have a 2 year warranty, thanks to the government consumer watchdog. Recently, another company was fined for lying to people about their rights. Displaying 'No exchanges or Refunds' sign is against the law, since you are legally obliged to provide exchanges or refunds if a product is defective, or does not do what it claims to do.

The claim that 'the current law is, ironically, bad for consumers' is bullshit. It might be bad for the subset of consumers who buy products that work and who have no problems, if we assume that companies charge what they need to rather than the maximum the market will bear in the conditions. It is good for the subset of consumers who companies try to fuck when they sell unreliable crap.

To quote the Consumer Affairs Victoria (Australia) site example:
"Danny buys a plasma TV for $6000. It stops working after two years.
The store says they will not provide a repair or replacement as the TV only had a 12-month manufacturer’s warranty. They tell Danny he should have bought an extended warranty, which would have given five years’ cover.
However, it is reasonable for Danny to expect more than two years’ use from a $6000 TV. He is entitled to a repair, replacement or refund from the store."

I agree with Consumer Affairs Victoria. A $6000 TV should work for more than two years.

Re:The law will change (0)

Thruen (753567) | about 4 months ago | (#45735201)

I suppose different people judge what's reasonable in a different way. I'm in the USA and I wish our laws were more about protecting consumers then corporations, but the warranty issue does feel like there's some trade-off. I'm a little unclear on the specifics of what the law requires them to provide, but in any case the same principle applies. If they're expecting to spend more fixing devices than they would be without it, it's reasonable to expect them to charge more for the devices in the first place. iPhones and $6000 TVs aren't necessities, after all, they're luxury items.

As much as I'd love for the result of things like this to be higher quality products for consumers that won't fail so quickly, I think it's more likely they'll just factor in the cost of replacing their current products when setting a price. While I don't think that's the reasoning behind jacking up the prices for everything in Australia to the degree that they do, I could see it being reason for a smaller price hike. I'd still take the trade, as it'd probably be less of a difference than the optional extended warranties from stores, but being good to the customer is still an expense even if it's one they should be obligated to undertake.

Tldr? Danny can expect to pay $6250 now that the TV will definitely last longer.

Re:The law will change (1)

gnoshi (314933) | about 4 months ago | (#45762621)

I suppose different people judge what's reasonable in a different way. I'm in the USA and I wish our laws were more about protecting consumers then corporations, but the warranty issue does feel like there's some trade-off.

I think there's always a trade-off. Requiring companies to repair their products for longer if they don't work will cost them more. It can also incentivize making products that fail less, since the outcome of failure is repair (a cost to the manufacturer) rather than re-purchase (income to the manufacturer). This trade-off extends to poor working conditions for low pay, conflict minerals, pollution, etc (of course I'm not saying you support any of these things)

As much as I'd love for the result of things like this to be higher quality products for consumers that won't fail so quickly, I think it's more likely they'll just factor in the cost of replacing their current products when setting a price.

You may be right: if a company has to factor in making products last, then maybe it will actually increase cost. In a way, it is just spreading risk. It does depend a bit on whether the pricing is driven by maximum tolerable price, or costs (and in reality, it will be both).

This law prevents wholly inadequate warranties being used (e.g. 6 months on a TV). Some will argue that this it is the responsibility of the customer to choose a product with an appropriate warranty, but that ignores two things: 1. Products may not be available with longer warraties (when all companies settle on short ones), and 2. There is a disparity of information, which means the customer is at a disadvantage in the purchasing transaction: the manufacturer knows the failure rates, and the customer does not.
It also means that you can't wind up with a situation where everyone just offers a wholly inadequate 6-week warranty. (I'd argue, as Consumer Affairs Victoria does, that for a $6k TV a one-year warranty is essentially a more moderate version of this).

Indeed, it may be as simple as you say with "Danny can expect to pay $6250 now that the TV will definitely last longer."
And I'm ok with that.

Re:The law will change (0)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 4 months ago | (#45735309)

So basically Aussies pay for mandatory extended warranties on all products, then go boo hoo my stuff is expensive.

Re:The law will change (1)

gnoshi (314933) | about 4 months ago | (#45762635)

Yeah, that'd be clever except that Aussies also pay more for software, and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who claimed a warranty on software.

Re:The law will change (1)

Static (1229) | about 4 months ago | (#45734463)

It's cheaper for Apple to change that law than to provide repairs.
It's more profitable for the lawmakers to change that law than to force Apple to provide repairs.

Therefore, the law will be changed.

Capitalist Oligarchy 101.

Apple is far from the only company affected by stronger consumer protection laws. I doubt they are even the largest company. And it is an area of law they cannot ignore because the regulator has teeth, which is what the top story is all about. Consumer advocate groups have been campaigning for a long time about these rights. If Apple tried to Make Them Go Away, they would find themselves in quite a lot more hot water.

The correct solution, of course, is for them to make sure their products are actually made to last the typical lifetime people expect from them. Which is exactly what the latest consumer protection laws are designed to encourage.

Wade.

Re:The law will change (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 4 months ago | (#45734907)

Not every country bends over backwards for corporations. Some countries actually fund government departments who's purpose is to sue corporations to uphold consumer protection laws.

Re:The law will change (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about 4 months ago | (#45740207)

Won't actually happen here. We are too small for them to bother.

Our consumer protection laws are actually really quite strong.

Sadly, not the first time (5, Insightful)

Camembert (2891457) | about 4 months ago | (#45734227)

I have several Apple products and in general I like them. Still it is sad for such premium products that the maker has to be strongarmed into agreeing to local law. The same happened in Europe where (and I think it is reasonable) products such as laptops should have a 2 year guarantee. Perhaps not on Applecare level (which is really good, I had to use it once and was happy with the service quality - a technician came to my home to replace my 27" imac screen panel), but at least a normal guarantee should be expected.
Of course Applecare becomes less attractive if it is just a one year extension and a higher service level. But frankly the products while well made are expensive enough to have the above mandatory local guarantee applied without hassle.

Seems like result would be higher price (0, Troll)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 4 months ago | (#45734247)

The end effect I can see of countries forcing long warranties on products is that Apple essentially bakes in Applecare to the price.

There's no way a business can afford a longer warranty period without collecting for it somehow.

Another possibility is that Apple would become more stingy with repair/replacement, which would be a shame as it's really nice to go in and have them say "well, this just isn;t working, have a new one".

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (4, Interesting)

Jiro (131519) | about 4 months ago | (#45734281)

If the price of the long warranty is equal to the cost of the warranty to Apple, they'll just bake it into the price. If the warranty is a high margin item whose standard retail price far exceeds the actual cost to Apple, Apple can't just raise the price by the standard retail price of the warranty--raising the price shifts the demand curve and reduces the total number of Apple products sold (something that does not happen if the warranty is sold at the same retail price but as an optional item). Apple would instead be forced to raise the price by a smaller amount that is closer to the actual cost of the warranty, so as not to reduce sales too much.

Imagine that they were selling iPads but had a deal where you paid an extra million dollars to get them gift-wrapped. If the government forced them to gift-wrap every iPad, they could not raise the price by a million dollars.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45739489)

raising the price shifts the demand curve and reduces the total number of Apple products sold

Raising the price has no effect on the demand curve. It just changes were the supply and demand curves cross. Luckily for Apple, every Apple buyer I know is very price insensitive. Demand is inelastic for Apple products.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (1)

pgpalmer (2015142) | about 4 months ago | (#45740275)

Considering that a major selling point for the iPad Air is that it's slightly thinner, I wouldn't put it past them to add gift-wrapping as a standard feature on their products.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (2, Insightful)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about 4 months ago | (#45734295)

There's no way a business can afford a longer warranty period without collecting for it somehow.

Well, they could build their products to last at least 2 years, that should drastically reduce the number of repairs/replacements needed... but I know, that's just a fantasy.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (2)

drsmithy (35869) | about 4 months ago | (#45734659)

They already build their products to last at least 2 years, otherwise they wouldn't have been offering extended warranties that cover out to 2 years.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45734825)

So there shouldn't be a problem then. All the cry and no real problem. Their extended warranty is just a money grab. If you wan't to sell on markets that require two year warranty just do it, unless your product is crap. That's why the law is there, to protect consumers from the worst crap. The same consumers wanted those laws. I live in such country, and I tell you I really, really, really like my consumer protection laws. They protect ME. It might cost more, but i'm willing to pay. Also it cost's way less than those extended warranty plans. ( Yes, they offer them here also, usually as a better return process, or simply as an expansion to the warranty time )

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 4 months ago | (#45735349)

Where from? I want to know more about your consumer protection laws

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (1, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#45735223)

Most manufacturers of expensive, premium products offer a longer than mandatory warranty. 8 years on a car, 5 years on my Panasonic TV, 3 years on my NEC laptop. One year says "we don't think it will even last the legal minimum 2 years" to me.

  Of course Apple products are not cheap crap, they just want to gouge you for an extended warranty.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (1)

drsmithy (35869) | about 4 months ago | (#45805177)

Most manufacturers of expensive, premium products offer a longer than mandatory warranty. 8 years on a car, 5 years on my Panasonic TV, 3 years on my NEC laptop. One year says "we don't think it will even last the legal minimum 2 years" to me.
Actually I have found the complete opposite to be true. Generally speaking, the more "premium" the product, the shorter the warranty.

Exhibit A: Swiss watches.

Fundamentally, however, this has nothing to do with "warranty" - at least not in a country with proper consumer protection laws - this is about having a formal means to pursue companies that sell faulty goods without having to go through the cost and hassle of an individual legal action.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (1)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | about 4 months ago | (#45734341)

There's no way a business can afford a longer warranty period...

Certainly not when they deliberatly build in obsolescence [wikipedia.org] so your forced to throw away/consume more - increase profits vs deplete more natural resources. Longer warrenty periods by law would go a long way to reign in companies balancing act - how short can they push a products life without overtly harming the brand. Force them to increase product quality (or at least remove the cheap gimmicks [ifixit.com] they use to sabotage their own products after a short period).

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (2)

tlambert (566799) | about 4 months ago | (#45734437)

There's no way a business can afford a longer warranty period...

Certainly not when they deliberatly build in obsolescence [wikipedia.org] so your forced to throw away/consume more - increase profits vs deplete more natural resources.

That's BS. My iPhone battery has lasted 6 years so far. The battery charge lasts 3 days to a week, depending on my call volume.

Are you maybe loading crApps on it that consume a lot of battery for no reason? Even with a lot of cycles, the iFixit article is pretty crappy in its estimates of charge cycles, in my experience (760+ charges so far). Apples not going to guarantee this level of performance, but my experience is that others get similar numbers.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 4 months ago | (#45734985)

My wife has had the top edge power button on her iPhone4 die 3 times now, and each time Apple wanted £119 to replace the unit - she now doesn't have an iPhone and won't ever have an iPhone again.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (2)

puto (533470) | about 4 months ago | (#45740039)

I work for ATT and you either got an iphone made by the hand of god himself, or you are lying. Or you make 2 1 minute calls a day. One of our biggest complaints when I get customers escalated to me is that the phone is only a year old and the batter does not keep a charge. I seriously doubt a six year old iphone is that marvelous. Of course a six year old iphone did not have all the newer technology that sucks battery, so you might have a shred of truth, but Apple is the king of planned obsolescence. So either you are rocking a regular 2g or a 3g. As for the other poster he is correct. I get a call escalated today. Iphone 5 user has a broken power button. Customer goes to Apple and they tell her it is $135 us to replace it, and they cannot guarantee it will work, that it could also be the screen that is effected, that she is better off getting a new phone. She calls one of our reps furious. I found a local repair shop for her via the internet, and they fixed it for 20 bucks, with a 3 month warranty. If you have a broken screen, you can get it repaired at Radio Shack for 70 bucks. They build in obsolescence and then instruct their geniuses to overcharge for repairs so they can make the case to just buy a new phone.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45734543)

I disagree with the article; the solution is to not buy Apple.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45734645)

Sorry but have to call bullshit on that.

Apple has a replacement program for the batteries, and for a long time customers you actually got a device swap, and the old device gets rebuild as a service part. Given the tools and equipment required to pull the device apart thats a not bad approach to start out with. It took them years, but they went form a globally centralised repair strategy, to a regional repair strategy, and they finally managed to get the disassembly/reassembly rigs down to a price point that they could afford to put them in to Apple retail stores, and have stuff fixed in the back room.

There are many examples of the batteries lasting much longer than iFixit's estimate.

iFixit has a vested interest in what they say : their business is as an independent repair service. Anything that damages their business by taking repair opportunities away from them - they've a track record in trying to grab media attention for. Apple doesn't owe them a livelihood.

Now I'll wear the Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance philosophical issue - if phones were thicker, heavier, had standard sized replaceable batteries, more easily disassembleable (is that a word ?) and used standardised commoditised parts, they'd be easier to self repair and use generic repair services to maintain. Absolutely true. But no manufacturer in their right mind is going to commoditise their own product and reduce their product's competitive advantage. Its been tried and in general, the consumer markets reject modularised maintainable products, and the companies that make them go broke. Its a nasty symbiosis between the design people and the consumers - thinner, faster, smaller, bigger, more cromulent always wins.

Also keep in mind that some environmental legislation like RoHS actually makes certain kinds of products longevity LOWER - some of those nasty chemicals used in insulators and capacitors just plain last longer than their environmentally friendly replacements.

Apple is arguably the least bad of any of the mainstream phone and tablet manufactures - they actually stock spare parts, they fix the devices, and they provide software updates for 3-4 years - roughly 2x the time window of almost any other vendor you pick. Oh, and once they stop updating your device's OS, they still make the last compatible version of an App available via the App store infrastructure. If you look at device churn rate data from carriers, some of the cheaper Android phones are getting junked & replaced at under a year (and then there's the "tablet in the drawer" , "Z10 landfill" and "Surface RT landfill" problems where literally billions of dollars worth of product gets made, maybe never consumed, or maybe just rots in a drawer).

However, I do think they should bite the bullet and stop charging for AppleCare Protection Plans, and just bundle 3 years warranty into everything. 3 years warranty is really a gimme when the vendor has decent quality control (which is usually true for Apple hardware).

Consumers knowing he difference between "need" and "want" , and managing the consequences of the "want" responsibly is far more important than flogging Apple over things that it does less bad than almost the entire industry.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 4 months ago | (#45734369)

In the EU warranty is 2 years by law, and Apple sticked to it if you "complained" but did the same thing as in Australia: thy misslead customers to believe that warranty was only one year.
All industry, all laptop manufactors give minimum 2 years warranty or a significantly higher guaranty.
If companies like Leveno, HP, IBM, Dell etc. can give two or more years without noticeable pricing problems then Apple surely can as well.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 4 months ago | (#45734443)

In the EU warranty is 2 years by law, and Apple sticked to it if you "complained" but did the same thing as in Australia: thy misslead customers to believe that warranty was only one year.

You are saying that, but it's not true. Both in the EU (most of the EU, some countries are different), and Australia, there is nothing in any law that says two years. It says "reasonable time".

Importantly, by using the word "warranty" you are just confusing things. There are two totally separate things: One is warranty. The manufacturer, or anyone else, gives you entirely voluntary some kind of warranty (obviously the warranty influences what I buy, but there is no law whatsoever that forces them). The other is "statutory rights". When you buy something, the seller (not the manufacturer) is responsible that the item is of reasonable quality, does what it is supposed to do, and works for a reasonable time. That's totally separate. So no, Apple as the maker of a computer or phone or tablet doesn't have to give you any warranty whatsoever. On the other hand, if you buy directly from Apple, or from an Apple store, the store has legal responsibilities - whether the product you buy is made by Apple or not.

What's interesting is that these laws apply to _any_ store, and I've never seen any store in the UK actually telling me about consumer rights, and only Apple is ever told off for this. Dell for example doesn't tell you _anything_ about your consumer rights. And unlike Apple, Dell is _always_ the seller, so they are _always_ responsible for statutory rights.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (2)

mrbester (200927) | about 4 months ago | (#45734599)

The EU directive (that has been ratified into local law by most countries) varies according to the type of item, but it does indeed state two years for electronic devices such as phones (white goods get more), after which the onus is on the consumer to prove a manufacturing fault and usually the most you can expect is a repair or replacement. If the item in question is no longer made then you might get an equivalent value *at time of sale adjusted for inflation / RPI* item.

The reason Apple is getting told off all the time is because they try to dodge the law all the time. Dell won't publicise your statutory rights but they don't go out of their way to mislead you into thinking you don't have any.

It *is* a warranty, a manufacturer's warranty, codified under statutory rights law as distinct from an after purchase warranty that is provided by the seller. Thus Apple (the manufacturer) have a manufacturer's warranty for an iPhone and Apple (the seller) can also offer you a (extended) warranty. *Those* are two separate things.

When claiming under manufacturer's warranty your first recourse is the place you bought it from and *they* have to go through the hassle of fighting with the manufacturer (though PC World tried to dodge that when I had a faulty Transformer). However, the seller has to fulfill the conditions to the buyer then and there, making it like a charge back on a card.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (2)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 4 months ago | (#45735629)

When claiming under manufacturer's warranty your first recourse is the place you bought it from and *they* have to go through the hassle of fighting with the manufacturer (though PC World tried to dodge that when I had a faulty Transformer). However, the seller has to fulfill the conditions to the buyer then and there, making it like a charge back on a card.

If you buy an Apple product in the UK, you have about the same rights both under manufacturer's warranty and statutory rights for six months. The next six months the manufacturer's warranty is better for you, and from then on you only have statutory rights.

As long as you are protected by both, you have the choice to claim either against the seller or the manufacturer, whatever suits you better. Neither of them has the right to pass you on to the other.

And no, there is no manufacturer's warranty codified anywhere. For most products that you buy, you have no idea who the manufacturer is, and if you did know, you would have no way of forcing them to do anything. That's why the sole legal responsibility is with the seller, because you know the seller, you went there once to buy the goods so they are usually near enough to go there again with complaints. The seller may have a contract with the manufacturer so they are not stuck with the cost, but that's of no interest to the customer.

When you mention Dell, the Italians were quite upset that Apple doesn't make your statutory rights clear enough when selling extended warranties. And they _do_ tell you about them, but apparently it's not clear enough. Dell does no such thing. They sell you two years extended warranty without mentioning statutory rights at all, which is exactly what the Italians complained about with Apple.

Apple store. Ring a bell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45734657)

Yes, it's a store.
Run by Apple.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45734681)

As someone who actually lives in europe I can tell you that the law does say 2 years.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 4 months ago | (#45734997)

Dell isn't always the seller as there are commercial resellers and outlets that stock Dell equipment - PC World for instance.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 4 months ago | (#45736439)

In the EU the law says: "two years", since minimum a decade, and before that in germany the law was liek that since minimum 30 years.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 4 months ago | (#45736521)

The manufacturer, or anyone else, gives you entirely voluntary some kind of warranty (obviously the warranty influences what I buy, but there is no law whatsoever that forces them).

Well then I missunderstood the english terms warranty and guaranty.

In germany a "guaranty" is voluntary, and must excede the minimum the law demands, obvisouly.

The other german term is "gewÃhrleistung", which seems to be "guarantee" in english ... this is the time you have to replace/repair your product by law (which is two years).

What's interesting is that these laws apply to _any_ store, and I've never seen any store in the UK actually telling me about consumer rights
I guess the point is that Apple was "missleading" by "voluntarily" giving a very short (shorter than law demands) warranty. While on the other hand a semi educated person should now: law demands more.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (1)

Bert64 (520050) | about 4 months ago | (#45734495)

Or offer higher quality, better tested products... Offering a long warranty isn't going to cost anywhere near as much if the failure rate is extremely low.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (3, Informative)

WillKemp (1338605) | about 4 months ago | (#45734521)

The end effect I can see of countries forcing long warranties on products [......]

They're not forcing long warranties on products. The law merely requires that a good should be of merchantable quality and fit for purpose - anything else is essentially fraud anyway.

Another possibility is that Apple would become more stingy with repair/replacement, which would be a shame as it's really nice to go in and have them say "well, this just isn;t working, have a new one".

They're not being generous, it's what Australian law requires them to do.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 4 months ago | (#45738663)

They're not being generous, it's what Australian law requires them to do.

Australian law requires Apple to fix the issue. That can be done (A) by just giving you a brand new device while you are in the store, or (B) by having you send it out for repair and wait a week...

As a consumer I'd rather have (A) than (B). Making Apple have to support longer warranties out of the gate means that they would be more likely to do (B), but Apple doesn't want that kind of poor user experience - so they would lean more to simply raising the price a bit to make up the difference.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (1)

WillKemp (1338605) | about 4 months ago | (#45742643)

Australian law requires Apple to fix the issue. That can be done (A) by just giving you a brand new device while you are in the store, or (B) by having you send it out for repair and wait a week...

As a consumer I'd rather have (A) than (B). Making Apple have to support longer warranties out of the gate means that they would be more likely to do (B) [......]

Under Australian law, the consumer gets the choice - not Apple. You have the right to choose replacement, refund, or repair. Most retailers try and convince you that a faulty item must be repaired and they can't replace or refund - mentioning your state or territory's fair trading department usually changes their mind instantly.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 4 months ago | (#45742919)

Very interesting, I stand corrected. I wasn't aware the consumer laws there were that generous.

Do you really have the ability to ask for a refund for a full two years?

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (1)

WillKemp (1338605) | about 4 months ago | (#45742989)

Do you really have the ability to ask for a refund for a full two years?

You can ask for a refund for as long as seems reasonable. However, ultimately it comes down to what the adjudicator in your state or territory's fair trading tribunal thinks is reasonable - or, maybe, what you can convince the retailer they would find reasonable.

The amount of time that's reasonable would probably depend on the nature and price of the item. If it was something that should reasonably be expected to last, say, 5 years, you could possibly make a case for it to be replaced or refunded for up to that length of time. However, it's likely the tribunal would be less sympathetic to that as time goes on - although it may depend on how much you would be inconvenienced by repair.

With cheaper goods, it may come down to how much it will cost the retailer to defend themselves in the tribunal versus the cost of replacement or refund - particularly if you convince them you know your rights and will put up a good fight.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (0)

Mr0bvious (968303) | about 4 months ago | (#45734537)

There's no way a business can afford a longer warranty period without collecting for it somehow.

Huh? What a load of nonsense. Are you claiming that Apple would not be profitable if they offered a longer warranty period? If so, your perception needs some adjustment.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (2)

drsmithy (35869) | about 4 months ago | (#45734637)

This has nothing to do with warranties.

This is about requiring manufacturers to take responsibility for selling faulty products.

If someone sells me thousands of dollars worth of electronics and it fails after 12 months (or even a few years) of normal use, they've sold me a faulty product and should either repair or replace it. Even you free market extremists should be able to get your heads around that.

I've pulled the "Consumer Protection Laws" card a couple of times already in the last few years, each time to have home appliances either repaired or replaced after they failed outside the warranty period. Two years and four years, respectively, are not acceptable lifetimes for a microwave and a washing machine.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 4 months ago | (#45735485)

This is about requiring manufacturers to take responsibility for selling faulty products.

See, you are mixing it up, like so many do. Manufacturers don't sell you goods. Retailers sell goods. Apple manufactures goods and gives warranties. There are no laws that say anything about the warranties that a manufacturer should give. Various retailers sell goods made by Apple and many others. Sometimes Apple is itself a retailer, selling products made by Apple and others. The _retailer_ is responsible for selling faulty products.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (1)

don depresor (1152631) | about 4 months ago | (#45736431)

So you're telling me the manufacturer give the items to the sellers for free? Because otherwise they would be selling crappy stuff, to the retailer...

Re: Seems like result would be higher price (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45734691)

So a longer warranty means company will have to raise prices, but giving new items to replace ones that seem broken won't cost them, or the customer, one cent more?

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45734799)

The end effect I can see of countries forcing long warranties on products is that Apple essentially bakes in Applecare to the price.

There's no way a business can afford a longer warranty period without collecting for it somehow.

Oh, but there is. Make products that don't suck. It's not unreasonable to expect $600 phone to last for two years. From European viewpoint "applecare" type of deals just seem like money grabs for something that SHOULD be baked into the price. Next they start selling "TESTING" packages, where they actually give you a phone that went thorough quality control? Hey, nobody forced you to buy non-tested phone, you knew there was a risk, eh? If they make it absolutely clear in the packaking their product is so crappy it will only last for one year of normal use, i'd let them skip the "expected lifetime" requirements.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45735171)

Only if it's a competitively priced product. Apple, notparticipating in the race to the bottom, has plenty of room to either design a solid product or fix the defective ones. This isn't the government interfering with capitalism, this is the proper functioning of a market regulator to allow capitalism. Remember, trust is the basis of capitalism. If there is a gross power disparity between the consumer and the supplier, capitalism doesn't exist.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 4 months ago | (#45737203)

The end effect I can see of countries forcing long warranties on products is that Apple essentially bakes in Applecare to the price.

There's no way a business can afford a longer warranty period without collecting for it somehow.

Another possibility is that Apple would become more stingy with repair/replacement, which would be a shame as it's really nice to go in and have them say "well, this just isn;t working, have a new one".

Actually, that's already what they do.

If you count the cost of AppleCare into the price of the device, then add taxes, you find that the EU and Australian prices aren't too far out of line anymore with the US prices. And make sure you count all taxes - including various duties (which can easily approach 50%) of import.

Of course, the AU and EU governments will still complain and whine that they're "gouged" but it appears that Apple is one of the least gouging companies around - at least when you compare like to like (add sales taxes to price, add extended warranty to price, etc).

And yes, it's things like this that people forget all about, and yes, Apple is at fault for selling AppleCare when you don't need it.

But it's not gouging when the law says an extended warranty is mandatory and companies build it into the baseline cost.

Re:Seems like result would be higher price (0)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#45743929)

It's not an extended warranty, it is the minimum product quality required by law. If Apple can't reliably build to that standard then they have lost the right to sell goods here.

Re:Sadly, not the first time (1)

rainmouse (1784278) | about 4 months ago | (#45734259)

I have several Apple products and in general I like them. Still it is sad for such premium products that the maker has to be strongarmed into agreeing to local law.

Thankfully, with the ugly exception of worldwide tax avoidance, it's only in the USA that Apple appears to be above and beyond the law. Because you love them so much, this genuinely makes you sad?

Re:Sadly, not the first time (1)

Camembert (2891457) | about 4 months ago | (#45734309)

I have several Apple products and in general I like them. Still it is sad for such premium products that the maker has to be strongarmed into agreeing to local law.

Thankfully, with the ugly exception of worldwide tax avoidance, it's only in the USA that Apple appears to be above and beyond the law. Because you love them so much, this genuinely makes you sad?

BTW I am European. "Sad" is perhaps a strong word, but yes, in general my satisfaction is pretty high (App Store and all!) so while they do a lot of things right in my experience, it is irritating that they do this so obviously wrong.

Re:Sadly, not the first time (2)

rainmouse (1784278) | about 4 months ago | (#45734477)

BTW I am European. "Sad" is perhaps a strong word, but yes, in general my satisfaction is pretty high (App Store and all!) so while they do a lot of things right in my experience, it is irritating that they do this so obviously wrong.

My apologies, I misread your post and made myself seem a little bit dafter than usual. I mistakenly believed it made you sad that Apple were being strong-armed into following local laws, rather than sad that they had to be forced to comply with local laws. Hence my rather unfounded sarcasm in the previous post. My bad.

Re:Sadly, not the first time (2)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | about 4 months ago | (#45734279)

Still it is sad for such premium products that the maker has to be strongarmed into agreeing to local law.

F-That Mate, there can be no exceptions just because your a mega corporation. You don't like the local laws, minimum wage, environmental or employee protections [slashdot.org] , do not operate in that locality - your not welcome as a company.

Most Corporations are almost always looking to freeload to pad their bottom line. I.E. externalize the negatives [wikipedia.org] so that the rest of us and our children have to pay the deficit one way or the other. Given the ease with whch they can buy their politicians, they usually get away with it...

you're (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45734311)

Quick, edit your comment so you don't look like a bogan!

Re:Sadly, not the first time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45734313)

which is really good, I had to use it once and was happy with the service quality - a technician came to my home to replace my 27" imac screen panel

On-site support is standard for all business products. Nothing special.

Redundancy Department of Redundancy (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45734289)

Apple has agreed to an agreement...

/. editors, you've been putting it off all these years, but please shoot yourselves now.

Terrible Title (-1)

Mistakill (965922) | about 4 months ago | (#45734343)

"Govt. Watchdog Group Finds Apple Misled Aussies On Consumer Rights"

Which Government? China? France? Kenya? Brazil? Rome? Would be more helpful with which country this involves in the title

Re: Terrible Title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45734411)

You failed grade 5 didn't you? The very same sentance tells you.

Re: Terrible Title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45734525)

In which grade did you fail to learn to spell "sentence"?

Re: Terrible Title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45734891)

The same grade you spent smoking fags behind the toilet block. Grammer, duh! {Commer after "spell"}.

Re:Terrible Title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45734417)

Is this a joke, or are you just that dense? You even quoted the part that tells you the country.

"Govt. Watchdog Group Finds Apple Misled Aussies On Consumer Rights"

Apple Misled Aussies On Consumer Rights

Aussies [lmgtfy.com]

Re:Terrible Title (1)

stealth_finger (1809752) | about 4 months ago | (#45734455)

"Govt. Watchdog Group Finds Apple Misled Aussies On Consumer Rights"

Which Government? China? France? Kenya? Brazil? Rome? Would be more helpful with which country this involves in the title

I don't think Chinese, French, Brazillian etc govts care if apple lie to aussies. Without it mentioned you can assume its the Aussie govt.

Re:Terrible Title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45734833)

why would any government but the Australian one care if Aussies were misled by Apple??

Headline Picker Misleads Readers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45735221)

FTFA: It's not "Apple" but "Apple Employees" doing the misleading, if any was done at all, a significant difference; for Apple to have mislead, it would have had to have been explicit or implicit company policy to do so; proof of such is not presented in the article.

Re: Headline Picker Misleads Readers (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about 4 months ago | (#45740227)

The employees followed Apple policies. Its on all their Apple Care documentation.

Australia - STOP BUYING APPLE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45735255)

Seriously.

Force these damn companies to stop treating you like shit. Don't buy their stuff.

"But AC, how will I make pretty pictures, and edit video?"

Use an alternative, if it means you have to learn a who new set of skills, oh well so what. It will benefit you in the future.

Switch to a free OS that runs on off the shelf hardware. Hell build your own system and use a flavor of Windows if you want to use something familiar.

Stop allowing yourself to be treated like shit.

How it really works... From an Australian. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45742871)

Here's what will happen, if Apple are smart, which they don't tend to be in Australia.

Firstly, they do nothing differently. Then when a consumer calls them and has been referred to them by Consumer Affairs ( or the similar state body ) they apologize and give them a brand-new latest-model free phone. Customer goes away happy and consumer affairs goes away satisfied.

Less than 1 in 200 people with a problem take this approach, so it doesn't cost Apple much... This is how other retailers in Australia do it.

Australia is like that... We have some great protection laws but very few people can be bothered taking them up.

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