In relation to faulty products.

The Federal Court has dismissed proceedings brought by the ACCC against LG Electronics Australia Pty Ltd (LG). The ACCC had alleged that LG made false or misleading representations to consumers about their rights in relation to faulty LG products.

In relation to complaints about defects with its televisions, the ACCC alleged LG misrepresented to consumers, retailers, or repairers that:

  • the remedies available to consumers were limited to the LG manufacturer’s warranty;
  • where the defect occurred after the LG manufacturer’s warranty had expired:
    • the consumer was only entitled to a remedy if the consumer paid for the costs of assessing the failure
    • LG had no further obligations, and any step it took in relation to the TV was an act of goodwill
    • the consumer was only entitled to have the TV repaired (and not to a refund or replacement)
    • the consumer was liable for the labour costs of the repair.

Justice Middleton dismissed all of these allegations.

“The consumer guarantees under the Australian Consumer Law are in addition to a manufacturer’s warranty. Consumers should be aware that even if a manufacturer’s warranty expires, they may still be entitled to a repair, refund, or replacement under the consumer guarantees,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.

“Consumer guarantees are not limited to a set time period. Instead, they last as long as it is reasonable to expect depending on factors such as the nature and price of the item or any representations made about the item.

“Consumer guarantees are an enforcement priority for the ACCC, and we will take appropriate enforcement action against businesses that misrepresent a consumer’s rights in relation to faulty products.

“The ACCC took this case because we were concerned that LG’s representations to consumers who had complained about faulty televisions were misleading about the remedies available to them under the Australian Consumer Law.

“The ACCC is carefully considering the judgment,” she said.