Nokia customers can now better exercise their warranty and refund rights after action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The ACCC has accepted administrative undertakings from Fone Care, operator of Nokia Australia and Nokia Care Centres, following an investigation that began a consumer attempting to return a faulty Nokia mobile phone battery to a Nokia Care Centre and was asked to sign a service agreement.
In the ACCC’s view the agreement restricted consumer rights to make a statutory warranty claim within three months of purchase and required consumers to accept Nokia's decision with regard to any statutory warranty claim with no right to take any action if there was a consumer disagreement.
On top of this, consumers had to agree to allow personal information to be disclosed to third parties.
During the course of the investigation the ACCC found the agreement was authorised by Nokia Australia.
It also emerged that a refund policy displayed at Nokia Care Centres indicated there was a 14-day time limit on statutory warranty claims. Nokia Australia was unaware of this policy.
The ACCC raised its concerns with Nokia Australia and Fone Care that the agreement and the refund policy misrepresented consumers statutory warranty rights.
Fone Care has ceased using the refund policy and the service agreement in its current form. It has also refrained from making false or misleading representations in relation to consumers statutory warranty rights in the future.
Nokia Australia also responded to the concerns and undertook to refrain from authorising Fone Care to use any agreement, policy or other document that made false or misleading representations in relation to consumers statutory warranty rights in the future.
"Consumers are fortunate to have a broad range of technical products to choose from and some of these products are becoming increasingly complex," ACCC chairman, Graeme Samuel, said in a statement. "It is more important than ever that consumers know what their statutory warranty rights are and that manufacturers and retailers do not mislead consumers about these rights."
In January the ACCC hit Vodafone with court enforceable undertakings after finding the telco had illegally mislead customers.