Apple is being forced to change its refund policy to fit under Australian consumer law after it was found to be lying to consumers about what they were entitled to by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
Apple and its suppliers told Australian consumers they were only entitled to what Apple wanted to offer them when products failed, rather than what they should have been entitled to under Australia's new consumer laws.
Under Australian consumer protection law, Apple is required to provide either a full refund or replacement for products with "major failure" and to offer free repairs, refunds or replacements for products with "minor faults". Apple is also responsible for non-Apple products sold in Australian Apple Stores. Apple's warranty practices and AppleCare packages must offer services in addition to Australian consumer law, rather than replacing them.
Instead, the ACCC found that Apple was telling Australian consumers they were only entitled to a full refund if the product was returned within two weeks rather than the two years under Australian law. Apple was also apparently telling consumers they could only get a full refund or replacement on products within a year of purchase, rather than two years. Finally, Apple was saying it was not responsible for non-Apple products it sold and only offered store credit rather than full refunds or replacements.
In response, Apple will start reassessing all claims about faulty products purchased over the past two years starting on January 6, and will provide customers with new warranty benefits once reviewed. The older claims will take 90 days to review, with the ACCC potentially taking further action if Apple does not follow through. In addition, Apple will publish a note on its website detailing Australian consumer rights, stock ACCC consumer rights brochures in its retail stores, and retrain staff and resellers.
Apple has run into trouble with its warranty practices in the past. In March, Apple adjusted its warranty policies to fit under Australian consumer law as well. Apple has also faced fines over AppleCare practices in Italy and lawsuits from other countries in the European Union.