Three Australian electrical retailers may be misrepresenting consumer rights over the warranty assurances handed out with a purchase, according to new research.
The accusations have been levelled at Harvey Norman, The Good Guys, and JB Hi-Fi by ‘Choice’, an independent Australian consumer advocacy group.
Here’s what you need to know.
Investigators from Choice posed as normal customers to salespeople at 80 Harvey Norman, The Good Guys, and JB Hi-Fi stores across Australia.
They documented their experiences, including the details and frequency of being offered an extended warranty deal.
Harvey Norman, The Good Guys, and JB Hi-Fi have all offered ‘extended warranty’ deals with purchases.
Under this deal, consumers are offered to pay for a longer warranty period than what may already be included in their purchase.
This is said to allow customers to replace, repair, or refund their product at no extra cost during the extended warranty period.
Choice’s investigation found the extended warranty deals offered by the retailers were already covered under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
Under the ACL, consumers are guaranteed a repair, replacement or refund when there’s a fault with the product purchased.
This means that extended warranty periods were being offered for a fee, despite consumers already being entitled to some sort of remedy under law.
While extended warranties can add further benefits to what’s already in law, Choice found customers were paying for rights they already had.
Choice recorded 71% of salespeople “actively” misrepresenting consumer rights, often by implying there was a very small or no chance that their product would be remedied after the warranty period had elapsed.
This was the most prevalent at JB Hi-Fi (83% of salespeople misrepresenting consumer rights), and was followed by Harvey Norman (69%) and The Good Guys (60%).
Over 91% of the salespeople offered an extended warranty deal.