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Nokia exits hot water after ACCC intervention

Nokia Australia has reached agreement with the ACCC over its Nokia Care Centres run by Fone Care Pty Ltd after coming under fire over customers warranty and refund rights not being met.

Nokia ACCCThe ACCC intervention will enable consumers to better exercise their warranty and refunds rights at Nokia Care Centres. With the ACCC finally accepted administrative undertakings from Fone Care Pty Ltd, the operator of Nokia Care Centres throughout Australia, and Nokia Australia Pty Ltd.

The ACCC became aware that a consumer had attempted to return a faulty Nokia mobile phone battery to a Nokia Care Centre and was asked to sign a service agreement. In the ACCC’s view, the agreement:

  • Restricted consumers’ rights to make a statutory warranty claim to within three months of purchase
  • Required that consumers accept Nokia’s decision with regard to any statutory warranty claim with no right to take any action if a consumer disagreed with the decision, and
  • Required consumers to agree to allow personal information to be disclosed to third parties.

In the course of the investigation the ACCC discovered that the agreement had been authorised by Nokia Australia. It also emerged that a refund policy had been displayed at Nokia Care Centres which represented that there was a 14 day time limit on statutory warranty claims and that Nokia Australia had been unaware of the use of the policy.

The ACCC raised its concerns with Nokia Australia and Fone Care that the agreement and the refund policy misrepresented consumers’ statutory warranty
rights. In response to the ACCC’s concerns, Fone Care undertook to:

  • Cease using the refund policy
  • Cease using the service agreement in its current form, and
  • Refrain from making false or misleading representations in relation to consumers’ statutory warranty rights in the future.

Nokia Australia also responded to the concerns and has undertaken to refrain from authorising Fone Care to use any agreement, policy or other document that makes false or misleading representations in relation to consumers’ statutory warranty rights in the future.

“Consumers are fortunate to have a broad range of technical products to choose from and some of these products are becoming increasingly complex,” ACCC
chairman Graeme Samuel said. “It is more important than ever that consumers know what their statutory warranty rights are and that manufacturers and retailers do not mislead consumers about these rights.”

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David Olsen

David Olsen

An undercover economist and a not so undercover geek. Politics, business and psychology nerd and anti-bandwagon jumper. Can be found on Twitter: <a href="http://www.twitter.com/DDsD">David Olsen - DDsD</a>

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