Online electrical retailer amends misleading warranties and returns policy

An online retailer specialising in computers, software and electronic goods has amended its warranties and returns policy after ACCC action proved it was misleading consumers.

According to the ACCC, representations made by Esel Pty Ltd, trading as Mwave at www.mwave.com.au, breached the Trade Practices Act 1974 because its warranties and returns policy contained misleading and false information about consumer rights.

The ACCC raised concerns with the retailer after it stated that it did not provide any warranty and consumers had to deal directly with the manufacturer, warranties arising from statute did not apply, and the consumer was required to pay any shipping costs incurred in returning the faulty goods.

Mwave has admitted to these allegations and has amended its warranties and returns policy. Notices will also be placed on its website and newsletters explaining the conduct.

In addition, the company has agreed to consider warranty claims for faulty goods purchased since 1 July 2007. This is because many consumers were denied a remedy or may not have pursued a remedy because of the admitted false and misleading statements.

Graeme Samuel, ACCC chairman, used this example as a warning to other online retailers.

“Online traders should be aware that the ACCC reviews sites regularly and will consider action where remedial work is not quickly undertaken,” he said.

“Consumers have the same rights online as if they were to walk into a store. Basically, they can expect that a product would have a level of quality and performance that would be reasonable to expect, do what it is meant to do and match its description.”

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