12 months warranty on a mobile phone is not legal in Australia. Nor is it valid on most consumer electronic equipment such as TVs, music players, computers, tablets or toasters.
12 months warranty is certainly not legal on a phone that is bought on contract. Legislation commenced in 2011 which made this more certain, if there ever was any uncertainty. Why is it then, that so few front line retail staff are aware of these laws? I realise that these staff aren’t trained lawyers, but that doesn’t remove the liability from the store. The penalties for informing a customer their equipment is out of warranty when it is in fact covered under Australian Law can be quite significant. Apple has recently discovered this after action was taken by the ACCC. Apple has had to admit that Australian law may provide for remedies beyond even 24 months.
I have lost count of the number of times staff try to sell me an extended warranty. When I tell them the product is already covered under Australian consumer law they look at me blankly and ask “when did that happen”.
These days you come to rely on certain things being there when you need them. Mobile phones, tablets, computers. Many of us would be lost if one of these things became unavailable to us for just one day. Some of us depend on them for them for income. These devices have now become a major part of the way we do business.
Imagine then what happens when they fail due to no fault of your own. One day it just doesn’t do what it did yesterday. So you take your 14 month old still shiny device back to the retailer or the authorised repairer only to be told, that it is out of warranty. Well guess what Mr/Ms repairer, or retailer? It is indeed covered under warranty under Australian consumer law and what’s more if you insist that it isn’t you can be liable for a large fine as a Harvey Norman Franchisee discovered.
That’s right, even if your retailer tells you when you buy it that your phone is only covered under warranty for 12 months, under Australian Law it is covered for much much more.
So how long will a mobile phone be covered under warranty. Unfortunately that isn’t clear. It comes down to a reasonableness test which includes things like the brand, the quality and the price relative to the price of its competitors.
For example, those paying $800 for one of the more modern smart phones would probably expect it to last longer than 12 months and most likely well past 2 years. In comparison, a $30 supermarket type phone would not be expected to last that long. Similarly a phone made by a prominent brand name company, particularly one that markets itself on quality such as Samsung, or Apple would be expected to last considerably longer. If it didn’t why bother to pay more?
How long do you expect your phone to last?