The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has warned mobile phone service providers to play fair with customers when their phones break during contracts.
According to ACCC chairman, Graeme Samuel, customers have the right to expect their phones will survive the length of the contract without breaking down.
“Some companies are seeking to avoid their responsibilities by arguing that if a handset fails, it’s not part of the service contract,” he said in a statement. “This is simply not on. The ACCC believes the handset is an integral part of the package and if it fails…the company is responsible for the replacement or repair.”
The chairman was keen to add these conditions would only apply if the phone failed without misuse or accidental damage.
“The ACCC is currently in discussions with Telstra and Optus to bring these companies, their resellers and agents up to the line,” he said. “Companies must honour their agreements with consumers to the full and not attempt to dodge or whittle away their obligations.”
The demand by the ACCC comes after it hit Vodafone Hutchinson Australia (VHA) with court-enforceable undertakings to give customers on service contracts free repairs for the duration of their agreement.
“VHA has undertaken to take all reasonable steps to provide a loan phone to customers while faulty phone is being repaired,” Samuel added.
The move puts resellers on notice with continuing uncertainty as to whether or not the carriers are responsible for the costs involved with the free warranty.