The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against LG Electronics.
The consumer watchdog is alleging that LG made false or misleading representations to consumers about their rights in relation to faulty products.
Complaints were made about defects with LG televisions and the company is said to have made misrepresentations to consumers, retailers or repairers that remedies available to customers were limited to the manufacturer’s warranty.
In cases where a defect occurred after the manufacturer’s warranty had expired, the ACCC claims LG asserted the consumer was only entitled to a remedy if the consumer paid for the costs of assessing the failure.
It also alleged LG told consumers it had no further obligations in relation to these repairs and any step it took in relation to the television on its part was an act of goodwill. Consumers were only entitled to have their televisions repaired, not replaced or money refunded, and were liable for the labour costs of the repair according to the brief.
ACCC chairman, Rod Sims, said when consumers buy products, they come with a consumer guarantee under the Australian Consumer Law that they will be of acceptable quality and this guarantee was in addition to any express manufacturer’s warranty.
“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 added.
“The ACCC will not hesitate to take appropriate action against manufacturers who misrepresent consumers’ rights and remedies for defective products under the Australian Consumer Law.
“The Australian Parliament has conferred these important rights on consumers, and these rights should not be undermined by misrepresentations.”
The ACCC is currently seeking declarations, injunctions, pecuniary penalties, corrective notices, a trade practices compliance program and costs in relation to the matter.
LG has responded to the action taken by the ACCC in a statement:
"Due to the ongoing nature of these proceedings, no further comment will be made at this stage except to say that LG is committed to its customers and compliance with its obligations under the Australian Consumer Law."