Netgear Australia has agreed to provide “remedies and refunds” to customers who were allegedly misled by its warranty and technical support representations.
The networking equipment manufacturer is making the move to refund customers as part of an undertaking arising from action by the Australia Competition and Consumer Comission (ACCC).
From June 2016, according to the ACCC, Netgear incorrectly told customers they could not receive a remedy for a faulty product, unless they were covered by its manufacturer’s warranty, or if they purchased a technical support contract.
“Netgear admits that it is likely to have misled customers about the remedies they were legally entitled to under the Australian Consumer Law,” ACCC Commissioner, Sarah Court, said in a statement.
“If a product fails to meet a consumer guarantee, consumers have the right to ask the supplier for a repair, replacement or refund, and the supplier or manufacturer for compensation.
"Warranties and technical support contracts operate in addition to consumer guarantees, not instead of these statutory guarantees,” Court said.
The ACCC said that Netgear has also acknowledged that some of the products with warranty representations on their packaging did not include the prescribed wording required by Australian Consumer Law.
Netgear has undertaken to correct its packaging to comply with the law.
Broadly, the undertaking offered by Netgear to the ACCC sees the company review all of its technical support contracts purchased between 1 July 2016 and the date of the undertaking.
In cases where the Netgear product in question has experienced a failure and the customer that bought it would have been entitled to remedy under Australian Consumer Law for free, Netgear has agreed to provide that remedy, in addition to a full refund of the price of the technical support contract.
The networking vendor will establish a consumer hotline for Australian customers who contacted Netgear technical support from 1 July 2016 in relation to a product which may have had an Australian Consumer Law failure that the consumer believes Netgear did not sufficiently address.
Moreover, the company will review each complaint to determine whether individual customers are entitled to a remedy or compensation under the current Australian Consumer Law.
As part of the undertaking, Netgear will also update its policies and procedures to ensure clear consideration of Australian consumer rights under the statutory consumer guarantees regime.
The undertaking comes almost three months after the company released firmware updates for several router models in order to patch a critical vulnerability that's publicly known and could be exploited by hackers.
The vulnerability, disclosed by a researcher in December last year, affected multiple Netgear router models, many from the company's Nighthawk series. The company initially confirmed the flaw in three models -- R6400, R7000, R8000 -- but it since expanded the list to include five more.