By Keri Algar

SYDNEY, NSW: Following an investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Optus has joined Vodafone and Telstra in providing consumers with a 24 month express repair warranty on mobile handsets, including the iPhone.

According to the ACCC, Optus had allegedly made misrepresentations about consumers' rights for faulty phones and the telco’s resultant pledge to address the ACCC’s concerns for a three year period has been described by the consumer watchdog as a “big win for consumers”.

"Optus has joined the other major telcos in providing 24 month warranties, and we now have a situation where consumers who purchase a mobile phone on a fixed contract have a warranty for the life of the contract," said ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel.

The ACCC has also used this opportunity to remind retailers of the new Australian Consumer Law which came into effect 1 January 2011.

"Retailers take note – you cannot wipe your hands clean of a faulty product just because the manufacturer's warranty period has ended, particularly when your product is supplied in conjunction with a lock-in contract that is longer than the manufacturer's warranty period," Samuel said.

"The law gives consumers a basic, guaranteed level of protection for goods and services they acquire and such rights and guarantees cannot be excluded or limited by suppliers. In fact, any representation by a supplier that seeks to exclude or limit these rights and guarantees available to consumers is illegal."

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