Fisher & Paykel responds to ACCC proceedings over alleged warranty breaches

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Fisher & Paykel has issued a media statement in response to the Federal Court action brought against it and warranty services company Domestic & General:

Fisher & Paykel has received notice of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) proceedings and is reviewing them. Fisher & Paykel takes such matters seriously and we regret any inconvenience this may have caused our customers. We have fully cooperated with the ACCC during this investigation and will continue to do so.

This matter arose when Fisher & Paykel in Australia had offered to its customers an extended warranty product administered by Domestic & General. It immediately ceased to offer the extended warranty product in December 2012 when the ACCC first raised its concern regarding the representations made to customers.

Over the past six months we have written to all affected customers in Australia and offered a full refund where they wish to cancel the extended warranty. If customers have any concerns they can call 1300 994 016 between Monday to Friday during business hours, 8:30am – 5:30pm (AEST).


ACCC taking Fisher & Paykel and Domestic & General to court over alleged warranty breach
(12 November 2013)

Fisher & Paykel and warranty services company Domestic & General are facing Federal Court action after the ACCC accused them of “making allegedly false or misleading representations concerning consumers’ rights under the statutory guarantee regime in the course of offering an extended warranty”.

This action relates to the guarantees that customers have under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), which essentially state that consumers have a right to repairs or refunds even after the manufacturer’s warranty has expired.

The ACCC alleges that Fisher & Paykel and Domestic & General sent letters to customers after purchasing an appliance that said “the consumer would not be protected against repair costs for the appliance after the expiry of the manufacturer’s warranty unless the consumer purchased an extended warranty,” according to a statement released today by ACCC chair Rod Sims.

“Businesses should exercise caution when offering extended warranties to consumers, and must avoid misrepresenting or understating consumers’ statutory rights under the ACL consumer guarantees,  as well as overstating the value or additional rights (if any) provided to consumers by the extended warranties being offered,” Sims said.

In relation to this matter, the ACCC is seeking financial penalties, declarations, injunctions, orders for compliance programs and costs.

In a separate but related matter, there is also an investigation into whether Fisher & Paykel and Domestic & General have breached a financial service law or regulation:

The proceedings also involve alternative allegations under the consumer protection provisions of the ASIC Act, on the basis that the extended warranty plan offered may constitute a financial product and that, by offering the plan, Fisher & Paykel and/or Domestic & General were offering to provide financial services.

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