By Patrick Avenell

The ACCC has today embarrassed a mobile phone retailer for not complying with trade practices law. The retailer, who sells brands including Nokia, BlackBerry, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, has been forced to publish corrective notices and refund purchases to unsatisfied customers.

For 18 months, M2 Telecommunications, which trades as Simply Mobiles, told customers that it wasn’t responsible for any warranty claims, and that the manufacturers were the only source of replacements or refunds. The ACCC, and the relevant laws, disagree.

“The ACCC was concerned consumers may have been misled or deceived about their statutory warranty rights or the performance of their mobile phones by M2 Telecommunications,” said ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel.

"Statutory rights entitle consumers to a refund from a retailer in particular situations and cannot be excluded."

In addition to the aforementioned brands, Simply Mobiles also sells Motorola, HTC, iMate, LG and Palm.

As a result of the ACCC’s investigation, it has forced M2 into publishing corrective notices on its website and in the press and offer refunds to qualifying affected consumers.

Then, in what is becoming amusingly common, Samuel took another swing at the entire telecommunications industry, which is a longstanding stick in his craw.

"The telecommunications industry is a major source of warranties and refunds complaints received by the ACCC each year.

"I have put the telecommunications industry on notice that it must improve its standards. Poor advertising practices and misrepresentations about warranties and refunds are priority concerns for the ACCC.”