The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) has ruled that networking company NETGEAR has breached Australian Consumer Law about its warranties.

From June 2016, NETGEAR incorrectly told customers they could not receive a remedy for a faulty product unless they were covered by its manufacturer’s warranty or 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.

“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.”

“Consumer law rights cannot be excluded, restricted or modified. Warranties and technical support contracts operate in addition to consumer guarantees, not instead of these statutory guarantees,” Ms Court said.

In an undertaking accepted by the ACCC, NETGEAR has undertaken to:

  • Review all technical support contracts purchased between 1 July 2016 and the date of the undertaking and, where the NETGEAR product has had a failure, and the consumer would have been entitled to an Australian Consumer Law (ACL) remedy for free, to provide that remedy as well as a full refund of the price of the technical support contract;
  • Establish an Australian Consumer Rights webpage on its website within one month; and
  • Establish a Consumer Hotline for Australian consumers who contacted NETGEAR technical support from 1 July 2016 about a product which may have had an ACL failure that the consumer believes NETGEAR did not sufficiently address, and to review each complaint to determine whether the consumer is entitled to an ACL remedy and/or compensation.
  • Undertaken to update its policies and procedures to ensure clear consideration of Australian consumer rights under the statutory consumer guarantees regime
  • Establish and implement an ACL compliance program and mystery shopper program.
  • Details of the Consumer Hotline will be published on NETGEAR’s website within one month.

NETGEAR has also acknowledged that some products with warranty representations on the packaging did not include the prescribed wording required by section 102 of the ACL and the Competition and Consumer Regulations 2010. It has undertaken to correct its packaging to comply with the law.

A copy of the undertaking is available at: here.