The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has commenced legal proceedings in the Federal Court against LG Electronics Australia on the grounds that the company made “false or misleading” representations to consumers about their rights in relation to faulty LG products.
The consumer watchdog is alleging that in relation to complaints about defects with its televisions, the electronics company 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; and/or
- LG had no further obligations, and any step it took in relation to the television was an act of goodwill; and/or
- the consumer was only entitled to have the television repaired (and not to a refund or a replacement); and/or
- the consumer was liable for the labour costs of the repair.
ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said the Commission will not hesitate to take action against manufacturers who misrepresent consumers’ rights and remedies for defective products under the Australian Consumer Law.
“When consumers buy products, they come with a consumer guarantee under the Australian Consumer Law that they will be of acceptable quality. This guarantee is in addition to any express manufacturer’s warranty,” Mr Sims said in a statement.
“Although the manufacturer’s warranty only applies for a specified period of time, consumers will often still be entitled under the consumer guarantee to a repair, refund or replacement after the manufacturer’s warranty ends.”
He said the matter was listed for a Case Management Conference in the Federal Court in Melbourne before Justice Middleton on 5 February 2016 at 10:15am.
This is not the first time the ACCC has commenced legal proceedings against the South Korean electronics manufacturer. The Commission has previously taken court action against LG for “misleading or deceptive conduct” with respect to the existence and duration of statutory warranties.
On that occasion, the Federal Court ruled that LG Electronics Australia had made false or misleading representations in several of its online mobile telephone user manuals, thus breaching the consumer protection provisions of the Trade Practices Act 1974.