Harvey Norman and Nintendo refusing to oblige to Australian Consumer Law

I purchased a Nintendo Switch in March 2017 (still covered under warranty by Australian Consumer Law) and just recently the left joy con controller (that CAME WITH THE SYSTEM) is malfunctioning.As advised by live chat, a week ago i took the system in to Harvey Norman and they then acknowledged the fault and took the controller away to Nintendo. Nintendo then came back and said the controller was not covered by Australian Consumer Law and only the tablet system itself is, despite the controller being a necessary part to play the system and coming in the box. I have wasted so much time on this already and am not driving 20 minutes out of my way to no avail going to my local Harvey Norman store.

Isn't it true that under Australian consumer law, Harvey Norman are required to replace or repair the system on the spot, and they did not do that and as a result, i a stuck in a limbo with Nintendo.

Any advice?

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  • Did you ask HN to replace the controller on the spot?

    • Yes but they said 'thats not how we do it'. Will be calling them tomorrow and making sure this is resolved before i hang up (i walk in a received new controller) because 'thats how i do it'.

  • I don't think anything in the ACL covers replacing an accessory (the controller) that was sold with the original unit and you've had for just shy of two years.

    Sounds like general wear and tear to me.

    Also I'm sure they could (quite successfully) argue that you have used/abused the controller.

    When the guarantee of acceptable quality does
    not apply
    • Goods fail to be of acceptable quality if:
    – the consumer causes them to become
    of unacceptable quality or does not take
    reasonable steps to prevent them from
    becoming of unacceptable quality
    – the consumer uses the goods in an
    ‘abnormal’ manner

    Why not just buy another controller for $50-$60 and be done with it?

    • This. Hit hn up to cover half the cost, they should do it to shut you up.

    • I don’t think it’s wear and tear. My red one has always been faulty. You’ll be playing a game and all of a sudden “please reconnect your controller”. Like all 10 times I’ve used that controller this has happened. Only the red.

      • Wait a second….I thought it was only me and just started to notice this because I've only started playing with the console docked to the stand. My red one sometimes stops working (the stick won't do anything) or the inputs are delayed or it would throw the disconnected message for the red one. Not even a year old and not a heavy Switch user…. :|

      • Is this the issue the OP is having though? He didn't say in the original post.

        Funnily enough I get that issue on my launch console to.

      • My left one has the same constant disconnect issue. Unfortunately I've modded mine with a clear purple shell so warranty is out the window :(

        Its unrelated to the drifting issue (which I've also had in the same left joycon) where you move a bit of the joystick and move it back to neutral, but your character keeps on moving.

    • the left joy con has been problematic there is a piece of foam interfering with the signal on some controllers

      Loads of vids on how to fix or improve the performance might be worth pulling it apart first if they are not going to help might fix issue and leave buying a replacement till later.

  • Harvey Norman is the worst when to comes to warranty claims. They will do anything to not honour your rights. It is one of the main reasons I stopped buying from them.

  • Of course the controller is covered by the Act - the question is, what are your rights in the circumstances.
    Why do you assume the statutory warranty still applies to the item? Why do you think the item is not of appropriate quality (as opposed to being broken because of misuse)?
    Is it a minor fault, or a major one? When did the issue first become apparent? Is the item outside the rejection period?
    All of these issues need to be addressed before your rights are clear.

  • +14 votes

    I don't believe this.

    I and many others have had the same issue. I called up Nintendo directly and explained the problem - they authorised a return; I sent them the JoyCon; they fixed my JoyCon and sent it back within the week. Were marvellous to deal with and I was technically out of warranty.

    It sounds like Harvey Norman 'relayed' what Nintendo said to you? That's where I call BS. Call Nintendo tomorrow and deal with them direct (03 9730 9822 or online submission: https://www.nintendo.com.au/forms/console-repair/).

    Let us know the outcome.

    • +2 votes

      This. Don't muck around with HN, just speak directly to Nintendo yourself! Who knows what HN even said to Nintendo!

  • Drive to HN and suggest to the store manager the only civil way to settle this is through a speed run of Super Mario on Switch, winner takes all (or for you, a brand new joycon controller).

    He/She won't be able to resist!

  • You had the controller for nearly 2 years and no one outside of people who used your console know how you or others handed that controller - and no its not just the left hand side you can flip it and use it as a spare controller.

    The question is was that a reasonable time for one to break and that's what nintendo and hn will be arguing under the ACL

    Your options are to contact consumer affairs in your state and be prepared to take hn or nintendo to court .

  • The left joy con on my son's switch developed a faulty top switch after 9 months.

    9 months of solid use, being dropped, mushed, greasy chip fingers all over it, sweated into etc etc - I was annoyed but had to concede to myself that it actually just wore out from pretty intensive use for several hundred hours.

    While we only needed the left replaced, you can grab a pair here: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Nintendo-Switch-Joy-Con-Pair-Neo... for under $100 delivered.

  • If I were you, I’d suggest writing a letter, if nothing comes from contacting Nintendo directly, and explain that you consider that HN, as the seller, has a responsibility to you, as the buyer, to provide a remedy, and ask them to attempt to repair the joy-con for you, and that if the controller cannot be repaired, that it be replaced.

  • Despite the number of times you said 'Australian Consumer Law', you don't seem to have much idea what it actually is.

  • Harvey Norman are required to replace or repair the system on the spot

    The retailer may have obligations under ACL to provide a remedy in the form of a repair, a replacement or a refund. However, the remedy isn't required to be provided on the spot.

  • still covered under warranty by Australian Consumer Law

    According to who?

    Isn't it true that under Australian consumer law, Harvey Norman are required to replace or repair the system on the spot


    • highanddry… giving false information to people again

      • As much as his political persuasions and antithetical to mine he knows what he's talking about when it comes to legal issues.

        Both of what he said above are correct - they aren't required to replace or repair it "on the spot".

  • This is a known issue with Switch consoles from around 2 years ago.
    It's nothing to do with how it has been used.

  • I was in a very similar boat to you. Purchased my switch in March '17 and had the red/right joy-con stop working in November last year. I was dreading having to go through Nintendo's support channel and getting a refurb so I went to EB Games where I originally purchased it. They had a look and said it's obviously not as a result of wear and tear and it's a commonly known problem. They then got out a brand new console, switched over both the controllers, and gave me a new receipt with the details. They said they would send Nintendo the brand new console they opened, but with my faulty controller and say it was defected.

    Maybe you can get HN to do something similar? I wouldn't hold my breath but here's hoping.

  • Did they give a reason why it wasn't covered under ACL? I don't think included accessories are exempt from ACL unless you would reasonably expect something like that to need replacing so quickly.

    That said, my Switch that I bought from Big W had backlight issue out of the box. I took it back expecting to get it exchanged for a new unit but they also said all warranty issues are sent back to Nintendo to determine what to do.

    Kinda sucky given I was out of a Switch for almost a month and what's the point of buying it at launch if that were the case… But I took the path the least resistance and Nintendo did replace it so all good.



    • Might be an idea if you did that for your keyboard.

    • Since when does the consumer warranty say a $50 accessory that's 21 months old should be replaced for free if it develops a fault….


      • People keep calling it an "accessory" but it's an essential part of the console. The fact that it detaches is irrelevant - the console can't be used without the controller.

  • Typical Harvey Norman. Will never buy anything from them again.

  • Depending on where you live you should get a satisfactory outcome from your state's Fair Trading.

    All appliances have a normalized lifespan which supersedes any manufacturer's warranty.

    Game controllers are a rather special case but there should be a number (in years or months) that your local fair trading dept can refer to.

    I have a feeling that you may be coming close to that lifespan though at 21 months of use.

    All you can do is inquire.

    If they find in your favour HN will quickly shift gears.

  • Thought ACL only covered one year with this stuff?

    In this case it's just shy of 2 years, odds are it'd be turned away as "wear and tear". Crap IMO, but will likely be what happens.

    • There aren't any specific time limits with statury warranty.

      The ACL basically states that warranty should last for a reasonable amount of time based on the expected life, use and claims about a product.

      For example, you might expect a $10 toaster to last a year. But a $200 toaster should probably last 5.

  • When you buy a product with "accessories", for example a playstation 4 with the controller, the controller is counted as an accessory and will have less warranty timeframe than the PS4 itself. Not many people know this. It's like when you buy a phone, the phone has 2 years warranty but the headset, charger etc will only have up to 1 year warranty. I believe it's like 6 months warranty now.

    But in saying that, HN and Nintendo are being dicks.

  • Considering Gerry Harvey is the biggest cry-baby since the USA's Rump, it's no wonder you're getting this BS.

    Have a Google, "harvey norman fined consumer".

    HN are (profanity) the WORST retail shop. I won't bother unless they're closing something out at an insane price.