HP Australia hit by ACCC legal case

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HP Australia hit by ACCC legal case

Warranty and guarantee obligations questioned.

HP has been hit with legal action from Australia's competition watchdog over allegations it did not meet its product warranty and consumer guarantee obligations under Australian law.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said in a statement that it had filed suit in the Federal Court "for alleged contraventions of the Australian Consumer Law".

A HP Australia spokesman told iTnews that it "takes seriously the matters raised by the ACCC and will fully investigate and respond appropriately.”

The ACCC alleged HP Australia represented to consumers that remedies available for a faulty product were at the vendor's "sole discretion".

Other allegations made by the competition watchdog include that:

  • HP required consumers to submit a faulty product for multiple repairs "before they were entitled to receive a replacement".
  • Warranty was limited "to a specified express warranty period", and that after the express warranty period lapsed, consumers had to foot the bill for any repairs.
  • Returns or exchanges weren't permitted for HP Online Store purchases, "unless otherwise agreed by HP at its sole discretion".

The ACCC said it would see remedies including injunctions, financial penalties, "adverse publicity orders" and redress for impacted HP customers.

A scheduling conference has been set down for 7 December 2012.

The Australian Consumer Law came into effect in January 2011, replacing the statutory warranties and conditions set out in the Trade Practices Act.

The ACCC has had some successes in past cases around technology product warranties, having the Federal Court impose $203,500 in penalties against MSY Technology "for making false and misleading consumer warranty representations."

It has also successfully prosecuted energy firms over door-to-door sales tactics using the Australian Consumer Law.

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