New Zealand Commerce Commission Warns Apple About Misleading Consumers

The New Zealand Commerce Commission today sent a warning to Apple over concerns that the company misled customers about their replacement rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act and Fair Trading Act, reports the New Zealand Herald.

According to the commission, Apple may have violated New Zealand consumer law by telling customers its products have a two year warranty and also referring customers who purchase non-Apple branded products from Apple to the manufacturer for warranty issues.


From an eight-page statement released by the Commerce Commission:
We consider that Apple is likely to be misleading consumers by trying to exclude its liability for non-Apple branded products. If this behaviour is continuing, we recommend you take immediate action to address our concerns and seek legal advice about complying with the Fair Trading Act."
The New Zealand Herald says the Commerce Commission began an investigation into Apple's practices in April 2016 after receiving complaints from consumers who sought repairs from Apple but were told that their products were covered by consumer law for just two years.

Under the Consumer Guarantees Act, there is no set two-year period after which it expires, with the act instead outlining a set of requirements for consumer devices regarding build quality (products must be free from defects).

According to Commissioner Anna Rawlings, businesses should not base warranty decisions in New Zealand "solely on how long a consumer has owned a product." Instead, the "reasonable lifespan" depends "very much on what that product is" and each fault must be assessed "on its own merits."

During the investigation, the commission also said that Apple is "likely to have misled" consumers by excluding liability for non-Apple products. Apple is responsible, says the commission, for "compliance with consumer guarantees applying to all products it sells, even if it is not the manufacturer."

There were also some issues discovered around the availability of spare parts and repairs after one New Zealand customer was told he could have a maximum of four replacements for a faulty product.

The commission says Apple made voluntary changes to address some of the concerns that were raised, including making it clear to Apple employees in New Zealand that consumer law rights are not bound by a set time period. The commission believes Apple will consider and fix the other issues that were raised during the investigation.

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19 months ago

So the law several vague statements instead of an objective time frame? That's crazy pants.

Pass a law for a longer warranty period fine, but an 'it all depends' regulation helps neither the consumer nor the manufacturer.

Is there a strong attorney lobby in New Zealand?


No because you don't need a lawyer. If the claim is under something like NZ$15,000 you take it the small claims court where lawyers are not allowed.

The Consumer Guarantees Act allows for variable time frames because no one expects a 5 year life from a cheap piece of Chinese junk bought for $150, but they can expect that from Apple "premium" marketed products.

And this applies to spares too, so it is NOT reasonable for a spare mother board to cost more than the computer in 3 years time. I have used the CGA to get a MacBook repaired when the mother board died at 3 1/2 years, a GPS unit that lost all its data at 18 months old, a camera that was 2 days outside of its 12 month warranty, and have helped others make successful claims. The CGA applies to workmanship too, one claim I helped with was with a Harley Davidson where they rebuilt the motor but failed to replace the oil filter and wash the sump out properly, the end user had it seize on them after about 200km, they got the price of having it rebuilt professionally.

Legislation like the CGA show the the government is working for the PEOPLE, the ones who elected them, and not for the corporations..
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This is a bit confusing to me so let me see if I get this right:

If I buy a MacBook Pro and, say, a third-party hard drive (let's say LaCie) from the Apple Store. Then the hard drive stops working at no fault of my own. Does that mean Apple isn't allowed to refer the customer to LaCie's customer support? Becuase based off of how I understood the article, this is where my conclusion leads to. I'd be happy if someone were to clarify this for me.


Correct, the FIRST port of call is always the place you bought it from. The end consumer has no obligation to go any further back down the supply chain.
IF the shop you bought it from no longer exists, then you can go back along the supply chain with the same right.

You don't even need to be the original owner. So long as there is no unreasonable damage (ie it has been opened beyond what is reasonable , or dropped, etc) then the act still applies. You can reasonably expect for example a refrigerator to last 10+ years.
Rating: 13 Votes
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19 months ago

So they have no specific time period for how long the warranty has to last, just vauge language, and they are responsible for warranty on third party products sold in their stores? That just seems ridiculous.

Consider situations like the infamous 2011 MacBook Pros with the faulty video chips. It's a well-known problem and if it was to occur on my machine today then it'd be treated as a manufacturing defect and would not be related to my handling of the machine. It's reasonable to expect that it'd be covered under the CGA.

As for warranty on third-party products, I don't see why that's ridiculous. If you sell a product then you're responsible for its quality. Don't sell flaky junk if you don't want to support it.
Rating: 12 Votes
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19 months ago
Thanks guys, enjoyed my popcorn. US citizens in shock and surprise that a government they elect might actually work in their interest.
Rating: 11 Votes
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19 months ago
Kiwi>Apple
Rating: 11 Votes
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19 months ago
Sounds very similar to Australian law. Apple got in strife a few years ago, and now state that the warranty is at least two years on all their products. They also got rapped over the knuckles for third party products too.

Looks like a Apple didn’t learn their lesson, that even though the US Govt loves to screw over their constituents in favour of giant corporations, that doesn’t happen everywhere.
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So they have no specific time period for how long the warranty has to last, just vauge language, and they are responsible for warranty on third party products sold in their stores? That just seems ridiculous.

The products should last for a reasonable period of time. For example, an expensive iPhone should last much longer than a junky Chinese Android. If you say your product is premium, the law makes you put your money where your mouth is.

Popcorn please while I watch all the US citizens handwringing.
Rating: 9 Votes
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19 months ago
I love the outrage here! I was born in the USA but moved to NZ 13 years ago. I understand both places very well. The NZ system works just fine thanks!
Rating: 8 Votes
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19 months ago

So, Apple is supposed to keep parts on hand for hundreds of third-party products, and get trained on how to repair them. The length of warranty for their own stuff is one thing, I can’t get over how dumb that second part is
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So, a mom and pop shop in New Zealand sells me a camera. It fails after a year. They have to fix it?


They are responsible for arranging for it to be fixed - they don't actually have to open it up and fix it themselves. Very often this simply takes the form of the shop liaising with the supplier of the camera. The shop might not even incur any expenses in doing this themselves if the supplier covers it.

If Apple sells a laptop to you with a third party drive, and the drive fails, you take the laptop back to Apple and they in turn take the drive back to the third-party supplier. After all, why should you know or care that there's a third-party drive in the laptop? You gave your money to Apple - they should fix it.

The consumer always deals with the vendor, and can't be fobbed off or given the run-around. The CGA (consumer guarantees act) is one of the best pieces of legislation in a long time.
Rating: 8 Votes
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19 months ago

As a consumer, this makes no logical sense to me.

The manufacturer is the one who guarantees the workmanship, not the retailer. So why should I go to the retailer, which wouldn’t be trained in any proper way on the manufacturer’s goods, to make a claim on the warranty?

It almost like I’m asking for a hammer to hit on my head dealing with a middle man when I could just go directly to the manufacturer.



Actually it make perfect sense, the seller is responsible for what they sold.

The customer did not buy the product from the manufacturer, they bought it from the seller, and therefore are well within their rights to expect the seller to deal with problems when they arise, it then becomes between the seller and the manufacturer to sort out separately. The seller can direct people to the manufacturer, but if the customer wants the seller to handle it, the seller must handle it.
Rating: 8 Votes
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19 months ago

So they have no specific time period for how long the warranty has to last, just vauge language, and they are responsible for warranty on third party products sold in their stores? That just seems ridiculous.


Its quicker, its cheaper for everyone concerned. No need for lawyers, and the little guy can win against a corporation with tons of money to waste without bankrupting himself.

And it gets even better, if their faulty product caused you other legitimate expenses (ie shipping for revue

How in God’s name can Apple warranty another company’s stuff??????? That part makes less than zero sense. That is functionally retarded
[doublepost=1527647891][/doublepost]So any retail store in New Zealand is responsible for fixing the products they sell???


Correct. That responsibility to repair is most often contracted out to 3rd parties, but they are responsible for getting it to the repair centre , having it tied and getting it back.

And as it turns out, these retailers then go back to the manufacturer and gets reimbursed by them, if they dont play ball then their products are not long on the shelf and a competitors product takes its place.

The reason the retailer takes initial responsibility is that when it comes to imported products the customer has no ability to seek redress. For example if you were to buy a Ferrari and it had a significant fault, who do YOU believe is responsible, the people you bought it from (who may not be the authorised agent), or Ferrari in Italy ? Thats right the people who sold it to you (at a profit).

It is a perfectly acceptable was of handling things, we don't spent a fortune on lawyers who then take 90% of the winnings, we get things fixed.

Also ALL goods for retail in New Zealand MUST be prices with all taxes etc included. There is none of this ******** where you see something on the shelf for $20 and you pay $25 because of taxes. Hidden costs are illegal here. You see a hotel for $200 a night, thats what you pay, there is no +taxes, + resort fee, + city taxes, etc, its all up front and honest.
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And getting a Genius Bar appointment sucks now?

NZ: Hold my beer!


Its not hard, and it all works without the need for lawyers.
Our government KNOWS that every customer is also a voter, and no our politicians are far more accountable and are far more accessible to the voters than those in the USA. If you know the right bar to go to you can go and have a beer with a lot of them, there is no in your face security guards with guns. We are ranked as being far more democratic than the USA, more "free", have better education, healthcare, welfare and are a much happier country. We the people vote, and the government generally look after we the people and not the large corporation.
Rating: 7 Votes
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19 months ago

Apple should only be liable for products carrying the Apple logo. The macs, phones, tablets, watches, ATVs and their corresponding 1st party accessories. Nothing else.


That's true in the USA and China, but fortunately consumers are much better off in Europe, Australian the NZ. Apple seems reluctant to accept that in NZ so will probably end up with a compliance program coming their way.
Rating: 7 Votes
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