iPhone gets special treatment on handset warranties

 

But competition watchdog won't let it happen again.

A court undertaking between Australia's competition watchdog and VHA, which formed the basis of new rules for mobile carriers around the length of phone warranties, featured one glaring exemption: Apple's iPhone.

The ACCC announced late last month that carriers offering handsets bundled with 24-month service plans would have to provide a warranty for the handset for the full 24-months.

It was a significant decision for the industry - most handset manufacturers only offer the carriers12-month warranties.

The announcement was based on an enforceable undertaking between the ACCC and mobile network operator VHA (Vodafone Hutchison Australia) and some formal discussions between the watchdog and VHA's two larger competitors, Telstra and Optus.

But what was not revealed at the announcement late last month was that VHA had specifically requested Apple's iPhone be made exempt from its enforceable undertaking.

"All Apple iPhone handsets are exempt from VHA's express 24-month repair warranty," VHA has since confirmed in a statement.

"The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) agreed to this exemption when it accepted VHA's undertaking on this issue."

VHA requested the exemption, arguing that that Apple prohibits the carrier from servicing iPhones at its service centres.

"VHA is unable to offer an express repair warranty for Apple products which extends beyond 12 months," a spokesman for the carrier told iTnews

All other handset manufacturers allow VHA to repair faulty devices at the carrier's own service centres or via other authorised repairers. But not Apple.

VHA has instead had to come to an agreement with Apple whereby those customers with faulty iPhones outside of Apple's 12-month warranty can BUY a refurbished (ie repaired) iPhone for $288.

Never again

ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel told iTnews that the exemption of the iPhone was limited to the VHA undertaking but warned that it was not something the regulator would agree to "in practice."

There would still be good cause for consumers to take VHA to court if the carrier attempted to charge them for a refurbished iPhone within their 24-month contract.

"The proposition was put to us that Apple charge a significant premium for service," Samuel said. "[The carrier] put to us that Apple iPhones are more difficult to repair and can therefore only be repaired by Apple.

"But frankly, I don't think that matters. Most manufacturers - be it Nokia, HTC, Motorola - they will all tell you they only have warranties for 12 months. It doesn't matter who the manufacturer is. What I'm saying to retailers is, your relationship with your manufacturer is your problem," he said.

"An exception was made in this undertaking, but I am not sure it is tenable in practice and not something I would condone in the future."

A tough business partner

The Apple iPhone has been a game changer for the mobile industry.

In its wake, carriers like Telstra have been forced to hand over control of the application environment on its handsets, whilst competitors such as Optus have had to accept financial losses due to the incredible strain the data-hungry device places on their network. And all carriers have also suffered device shortages at the expense of Apple's own retail stores.

It now appears VHA is making yet another concession to the manufacturer.

"While Apple products are exempt from VHA's express 24-month repair warranty, they are not exempt from the warranties implied by the Trade Practices Act which may extend beyond 12 months," the carrier told iTnews

"Of course, VHA will honour its obligations under the Trade Practices Act as well."

Apple's smartphone competitors were given the opportunity to comment on the apparent double-standard, but most took the opportunity to highlight their willingness to be a better business partner to carriers and more responsible supplier to consumers.

A spokesman for HTC said the ACCC's new rules represent "a great policy, which HTC wholeheartedly support.

"We have a 24-month warranty on our devices already in place with Vodafone for Australian customers," the spokesman said.

Apple's corporate affairs spokesman was asked for comment but supplied the company's stock-standard response.

"Apple does not comment on its business practices."

What do you think? Should Apple be treated any differently to any other device manufacturer?


iPhone gets special treatment on handset warranties
 
 
 
Top Stories
Frugality as a service: the Amazon story
Behind the scenes, Amazon Web Services is one lean machine.
 
Negotiating with the cloud email megavendors
[Blog post] Lessons from Woolworths’ mammoth migration.
 
Qld govt to move up to 149k staff onto Office 365
Australia's largest deployment, outside of the universities.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...

Latest VideosSee all videos »

The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
Scott Noteboom, CEO of LitBit speaking at The Australian Data Centre Strategy Summit 2014 in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. http://bit.ly/1qpxVfV Scott Noteboom is a data centre engineer who led builds for Apple and Yahoo in the earliest days of the cloud, and who now eyes Asia as the next big opportunity. Read more: http://www.itnews.com.au/News/372482,how-do-we-serve-three-billion-new-internet-users.aspx#ixzz2yNLmMG5C
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
To COTS or not to COTS? iTnews asks Karl Maftoum, CIO of the ACMA, at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
AEMO chief information officer Susan Sly calls for more collaboration among Australia's technology leaders at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Credit Union Australia's David Gee awarded Finance CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards.
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Damon Rees named Retail CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Woolworths.
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Acting Foxtel CIO David Marks accepts an iTnews Benchmark Award on behalf of Robyn Elliott.
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Sanjay Mehta named Industrial CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at ConocoPhillips.
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Greg Wells named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at NSW Health.
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
William Confalonieri named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Deakin University.
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
David Johnson named Government CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at the Queensland Police Service.
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott discuss the Coalition's broadband policy with the press.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
The Australian Federal Police have arrested a Sydney-based IT security professional for hacking a government website.
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO Chrissy Burns talks data.
New UTS Building: the IT within
New UTS Building: the IT within
The IT behind tomorrow's universities.
iTnews' NBN Panel
iTnews' NBN Panel
Is your enterprise NBN-ready?
Introducing iTnews Labs
Introducing iTnews Labs
See a timelapse of the iTnews labs being unboxed, set up and switched on! iTnews will produce independent testing of the latest enterprise software to hit the market after installing a purpose-built test lab in Sydney. Watch the installation of two DL380p servers, two HP StoreVirtual 4330 storage arrays and two HP ProCurve 2920 switches.
The True Cost of BYOD
The True Cost of BYOD
iTnews' Brett Winterford gives attendees of the first 'Touch Tomorrow' event in Brisbane a brief look at his research into enterprise mobility. What are the use cases and how can they be quantified? What price should you expect to pay for securing mobile access to corporate applications? What's coming around the corner?
Ghost clouds
Ghost clouds
ACMA chair Chris Chapman says there is uncertainty over whether certain classes of cloud service providers are caught by regulations.
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Privacy experts David Vaile (UNSW Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre) and Craig Scroggie (CEO, NextDC) claim they were not surprised by the Snowden leaks about the NSA's PRISM program.
Latest articles on BIT Latest Articles from BIT
Another phone with Telstra's Blue Tick: The Samsung Galaxy S5
Apr 8, 2014
Samsung's latest flagship phone joins Telstra's list of recommended handsets for customers in ...
Run an online shop? This might be worth bookmarking
Mar 28, 2014
Things like Australian safety standards are probably the last thing on your mind, but just ...
Vodafone switches on 4G in Tasmania: list of locations
Mar 28, 2014
See a list of locations in Tasmania that now have access to 4G via Vodafone's network.
Samsung Galaxy S5 on sale from Telstra next month for $912
Mar 27, 2014
It's not cheap, but if you are looking to upgrade your phone then the Samsung Galaxy S5 could be ...
What Australian workplaces actually rely on tablet computers?
Mar 14, 2014
If you're curious about where tablets are being used at work, here are three examples.
Latest Comments
Polls
Which bank is most likely to suffer an RBS-style meltdown?





   |   View results
ANZ
  21%
 
Bankwest
  9%
 
CommBank
  11%
 
National Australia Bank
  17%
 
Suncorp
  24%
 
Westpac
  19%
TOTAL VOTES: 1461

Vote