Apple issued government warning over repair, replacement practices in New Zealand

Posted:
in General Discussion
New Zealand's Commerce Commission recently warned Apple that it may have misled consumers in that country about replacement rights for both first- and third-party products sold through the online Apple store.

New Zealand Commission's threat to Apple


New Zealand's Commerce Commission has issued an eight-page warning to Apple alleging that the company breached that country's Consumer Guarantees Act and Fair Trading Act.

According to an account by the NZ Herald, the commission is arguing that Apple, through Apple Sales New Zealand, circumvented that law by "telling consumers that its products are covered by a guarantee for two years, and for referring them to the manufacturer of non-Apple branded products, excluding Apple's liability for certain products."

Commissioner Anna Rawlings noted the Consumer Guarantees Act does not specify such predetermined expiry periods or other requirements.

The letter is the result of around two years of complaints regarding terms and conditions tied to purchases, as well as repairs and replacements of faulty products. Another point of contention is Apple's responsibility for third-party products sold through its online store.

"We consider that Apple is likely to be misleading consumers by trying to exclude its liability for non-Apple branded products, the letter said. "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."

Apple cooperated with the investigation and made changes to conform with the commission's findings. For example, Apple employees are now aware that consumer rights laws are not bound by time, the agency said.

The company has long operated in New Zealand. It activated Apple Pay last October and AppleCare and Mac warrantees in January, at the same time that Australia gained access to the same services.
Alex1N

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    nunzynunzy Posts: 662member
    New Zealand is being unfair to Apple. If anybody knows how to take care of its customers, it is Apple.
    magman1979MisterKit
  • Reply 2 of 20
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,634member
    The good old CGA, what a poisoned chalice!  It means we can get a retailer to repair any product ‘free’ within a reasonable operating lifespan i.e. years.  It sounds like a great deal for the customers (the AppleCare upsell’s a bit tough) but then the public wonders why products are cheaper overseas.
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 3 of 20
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    Not a huge deal. Apple will simply markup all products to account for absurdly open-ended liability for the retailer.
    anton zuykov
  • Reply 4 of 20
    Just another example of a company expanding globally without understanding and double checking that laws and consumer rights differ greatly from country to country. It's no big deal - Apple has already revised it's terms and employee guidelines to match New Zealand law so there's not much of a story here imho.
  • Reply 5 of 20
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,350moderator
    No need to reinvent the wheel; Apple can simply look at how other businesses in NZ deal with the particulars of consumer protection laws there.  Unless it’s spelled out clearly in the law, in which case they will simply adapt. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 20
    lowededwookielowededwookie Posts: 1,035member
    It’s not just Apple that have been found guilty of this. Companies like Harvey Norman, Dick Smith, Supercheap Autos, Bunnings, all of which are Australian owned companies.

    All offer their own warranties but they are not needed because all products in New Zealand are covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act.

    Apple NZ however technically does not exist even if they do have their own offices here. Everything is run out of Australia.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 20
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 1,031member
    nunzy said:
    New Zealand is being unfair to Apple. If anybody knows how to take care of its customers, it is Apple.
    True, this legislation just ensures the consumer when buying a product from a merchant can reasonably expect it to last as one would expect it to. 

    It seems more or less the same legislation that exists in Australia and we don’t see companies imploding here due to its onerous and overreaching nature, as some might make it out to be, mostly because products do, in the main, last a reasonably long time. 
    edited May 2018 muthuk_vanalingamnunzywatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 20
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,764member
    nunzy said:
    New Zealand is being unfair to Apple. If anybody knows how to take care of its customers, it is Apple.
    New Zealand is not being unfair to Apple. These laws apply to all companies. Flouting them (through ignorance or deliberately) will lead to this kind of action.

    Apple has a long history of trying to flout EU consumer law with its selling practices of AppleCare for mobile devices. It is a repeat offender, and AFAIK, never challenges consumer protection demands because it has known from the outset that, in the training phase of store employees and the wording of online marketing, it was misleading purchasers. I think it has had its house in order for a couple of years now although they tried to sell me AppleCare when I bought the iPhone 6 using the same tactics that consumer groups were complaining about.

    When I pointed out that the two year coverage the guy was trying to 'sell' me was already included in my statutory consumer rights, he gave a wry smile and conceded I was right but said he had the obligation to offer it to me anyway.
    singularitymuthuk_vanalingamnunzydysamoria
  • Reply 9 of 20
    avon b7 said:
    nunzy said:
    New Zealand is being unfair to Apple. If anybody knows how to take care of its customers, it is Apple.
    New Zealand is not being unfair to Apple. These laws apply to all companies. Flouting them (through ignorance or deliberately) will lead to this kind of action.

    Apple has a long history of trying to flout EU consumer law with its selling practices of AppleCare for mobile devices. It is a repeat offender, and AFAIK, never challenges consumer protection demands because it has known from the outset that, in the training phase of store employees and the wording of online marketing, it was misleading purchasers. I think it has had its house in order for a couple of years now although they tried to sell me AppleCare when I bought the iPhone 6 using the same tactics that consumer groups were complaining about.

    When I pointed out that the two year coverage the guy was trying to 'sell' me was already included in my statutory consumer rights, he gave a wry smile and conceded I was right but said he had the obligation to offer it to me anyway.
    They were fined about a million euros in Italy a few years ago for doing exactly that - charging customers for coverage that they were already legally entitled to.
    singularitymuthuk_vanalingamgatorguynunzydysamoria
  • Reply 10 of 20
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 1,433member
    nunzy said:
    New Zealand is being unfair to Apple. If anybody knows how to take care of its customers, it is Apple.
    wow, you sound like Apple's helicopter mom. Apple is a big grown up corporation which must learn to follow the laws of the countries it operates in and does not need anyone making excuses or defending its lack of compliance. 
    nunzyavon b7dysamoria
  • Reply 11 of 20
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 1,433member

    Not a huge deal. Apple will simply markup all products to account for absurdly open-ended liability for the retailer.
    What's absurd about consumer protection laws? The US is behind most of the world in many things regarding add this one to the list. 
  • Reply 12 of 20
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,183member
    No offense to our friends in NZ, but how much does it account for in Apple sales?

    I am guessing, about the same as Rhode Island, USA. 
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 13 of 20
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 22,898member
    avon b7 said:
    nunzy said:
    New Zealand is being unfair to Apple. If anybody knows how to take care of its customers, it is Apple.
    New Zealand is not being unfair to Apple. These laws apply to all companies. Flouting them (through ignorance or deliberately) will lead to this kind of action.

    Apple has a long history of trying to flout EU consumer law with its selling practices of AppleCare for mobile devices. It is a repeat offender, and AFAIK, never challenges consumer protection demands because it has known from the outset that, in the training phase of store employees and the wording of online marketing, it was misleading purchasers. I think it has had its house in order for a couple of years now although they tried to sell me AppleCare when I bought the iPhone 6 using the same tactics that consumer groups were complaining about.

    When I pointed out that the two year coverage the guy was trying to 'sell' me was already included in my statutory consumer rights, he gave a wry smile and conceded I was right but said he had the obligation to offer it to me anyway.
    They were fined about a million euros in Italy a few years ago for doing exactly that - charging customers for coverage that they were already legally entitled to.
    I had forgotten reading about that, but apparently it still wasn't enough to get Apple to change. They were charged and fined a second time about a year later according to this AI article.
    https://appleinsider.com/articles/12/12/21/italian-authorities-fine-apple-another-264k-over-product-warranties

    Extended warranties can be very profitable, and Apple is far from the only company that pointedly promotes them. 
    edited May 2018 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 14 of 20
    No offense to our friends in NZ, but how much does it account for in Apple sales?

    I am guessing, about the same as Rhode Island, USA. 
    They publish financial results at the companies office if you are curious. But I think the article is more about the abuse of consumer rights than the impact on Apple's revenue.
  • Reply 15 of 20
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 1,433member
    No offense to our friends in NZ, but how much does it account for in Apple sales?

    I am guessing, about the same as Rhode Island, USA. 
    Apple. would not have chosen to sell its products and services in New Zealand (or Rhode Island) if it did not want to profit from that country (and state). 
    Apple just acts like they don't have people that know how to read other countries (NZ being predominantly English language) laws, don't blame anyone but Apple. 
    edited May 2018 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 16 of 20
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,183member
    No offense to our friends in NZ, but how much does it account for in Apple sales?

    I am guessing, about the same as Rhode Island, USA. 
    They publish financial results at the companies office if you are curious. But I think the article is more about the abuse of consumer rights than the impact on Apple's revenue.
    Send me a link to Apple's NZ results, please.
  • Reply 18 of 20
    jdgazjdgaz Posts: 381member
    Wish I would have had one of those implicit warranties for my Phillips Plasma TV. Phillips basically told buyers to go screw themselves when they started failing at a rapid rate.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 20
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 22,898member
    jdgaz said:
    Wish I would have had one of those implicit warranties for my Phillips Plasma TV. Phillips basically told buyers to go screw themselves when they started failing at a rapid rate.
    Fingers crossed, mine that's now in my son's room is still ticking long. Nicely. 
  • Reply 20 of 20
    lowededwookielowededwookie Posts: 1,035member
    No offense to our friends in NZ, but how much does it account for in Apple sales?

    I am guessing, about the same as Rhode Island, USA. 
    Actually NZ has a pretty big market for Apple products but yeah, we're a country of 4 million+ so the sales won't be huge compared to Australia or America but that's really by the by. Do you really think this is a big issue for Apple to adhere to Consumer Laws in NZ?

    article says:
    Apple cooperated with the investigation and made changes to conform with the commission's findings. For example, Apple employees are now aware that consumer rights laws are not bound by time, the agency said.

    Oh, so no it wasn't a big issue for Apple to adhere to NZ laws.

    People are reading too much into this. The mere fact that Apple corrected themselves with regards to NZ law is a testament to how awesome Apple really is. This doesn't affect the cost of an Apple product in NZ for that you have to look at exchange rates and GST which is currently 15% and a new law has just passed that forces online sales to charge GST but even that won't affect Apple's prices too much considering the cost online is the same as the cost in the store so Apple is already charging the required GST.

    This is really a non-issue being blown out of proportion about an American company being run by an Australian wing that got NZ law wrong... and yet they corrected themselves.
    watto_cobra
Sign In or Register to comment.