I Stood up and Asserted My Rights - ACL

Some of you may recall the post 1 year ago here https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/545594
To summarise: I bought a $1,115 powered JBL speaker. The speaker failed after 3.5 years. I paid for the assessment and requested JBL to repair under ACL. They refused.

JBL instead offered to provide the part free of charge but asked me to cover the labour cost.
I disagreed and lodged a VCAT application (it's a small claim court in Victoria). JBL and I had a case conference with a VCAT mediation officer. JBL then agreed to pay for the repair in whole. It's been fixed.

Then another ACL claim.

I bought a Samsung TV at $4,400. After 6.5 years of use, the screen developed an egg-sized bright stuck pixel area, then 2 more similar areas in the centre of the screen.
I contacted Samsung requesting free repair or pro-rata refund under ACL. The same song was sung (no pun intended) - it's 1 year warranty and that's it.
I again had to respectfully point out:
ACL states that "Businesses must provide these automatic guarantees regardless of any other warranties they give to you or sell you." and "Products must be of acceptable quality, that is: safe, lasting, with no faults, look acceptable, do all the things someone would normally expect them to do. Acceptable quality takes into account what would normally be expected for the type of product and cost."
And 6.5 years of a $4.4K TV is not considered acceptable.
The day after I served Samsung with a VCAT notice and my Points of Claim, Samsung called me, sent agents to assess and then fixed the TV in my home, no charge, within 2 days.

My cost to get the speaker fixed was about $145 (assessment fee and VCAT fee) and for the TV was about $70 VCAT fee.

I hope companies like them just get to understand the law of doing business in Australia and comply, rather than spending lots of their staff time and being dragged to court to end up doing the right thing at the end.

Finally a note to the person/persons that said "you know damn well that you're not going to take this to court" - You know damn well now that I did.

Comments

    • +70 votes

      Better Off Stabbing Ears.

      • +2 votes

        Chopper is that you ?

      •  

        While I upvoted this and I own a 7.2 system that doesn't have any BOSE components, they do make damn good ANC headphones, and I'd never buy anything else on that front.

      •  

        Buy Other Sound Equipment
        Edit: somone beat me to it

    • +29 votes

      (B)etter (O)ff with (S)omething (E)lse
      Unless it's their NC headphones
      They're alright.

      • +8 votes

        My favourite is (B)uy (O)ther (S)ound (E)quipment.

  • +46 votes

    Good job. I'm going through a similar thing with a very large telecommunications company re privacy complaint. It's been going on for over a year now but totally worth it.

    • -1 vote
    • +5 votes

      Several years ago we moved house. Someone had just begun harassing my wife. So we requested a silent number at the new address. I knew we could get Telstra to threaten them to quit it, but they wouldn't have our number or address soon anyway so she'd feel safe again.

      We still had ADSL2, NBN was coming, but government lies about its cost hadn't become obvious yet. A couple of months later a wild amount of audible noise appeared on the line that kept killing the ADSL. I phoned Telstra, repair guy came, opened the junction box across the street, and spent hours rewiring us onto different lines to try and find a clean one.

      Several months pass. NBN prices were going to be much more than I was paying for ADSL2 (thanks very much government for lie #1), for less downloads, and now the copper was going to ripped out of the ground too (government lie #2) meaning I wouldn't "be able to stay on ADSL2 if I wanted to". So I got mobile broadband for internet, and we had no further use for the house phone due to using mobiles. So I was about to disconnect the house phone anyway when the new phone book arrived. For some reason I looked and saw our name and address in it!

      Turns out the repair guy had been on the phone with someone who changes Telstra stuff on a computer. During testing they turned our silent number off 'temporarily' for some reason but forgot to switch it back on.

      A Telstra rep apologised profusely, but damnit Telstra… We paid an extra fee, for months, for a silent number to ensure my wife's safety because someone was harassing her and didn't want them phoning or having our address. All they needed to do was look up our name again online (after the first couple of months) and the Telstra site would have given them both. Plus our address would still be in every phone book for the rest of the year!

      They asked "what would I be satisfied with as restitution". Since we were disconnecting anyway I said: "You can pay our last bill."

      Turns out the stalker had since had a heart attack and died. But in some ways I wish he'd turned up here. I wonder what kind of $$$$ we could have wrung out of Telstra in court for charging for a service for months which they weren't actually providing, forcing another house move, stress/fear caused, etc.

      • +6 votes

        RIP Mr. Stalker

      • +34 votes

        Mate, I still don't get the point of your story…

        • +37 votes

          If Your Wife’s Stalker Dies You Can Get Free Internet For A While

        • +2 votes

          Shall we start with "Ethel the Aardvark?…

          Telstra breached their privacy in a manner that could have lead to serious harm.

        • +1 vote

          Don’t mess with his wife, or you will…. rest …in……….,peeeace

        • -10 votes

          dmbminaret referred to a Telstra debacle. I related another Telstra debacle. It's called "engaging in conversation". (No need to be scared or confused, adults just do this sometimes.)

          I assume you were being facetious/attempting humour. But if not, you may have missed developing normal logical reasoning and/or basic comprehension skills which most people gain during the typical childhood. (Alternatively you may be suffering from early onset of some form of dementia.) Either way, your doctor can probably refer you to a psychologist for some type of remedial mental exercises that should improve the situation, or at least prevent further rapid mental degradation.

      • -2 votes

        With phone scams running wild and damaging the economy there is fresh talk of restricting secrecy. Most stalkers gone mad because some bitch drove them too.
        Small telcos copped huge fines for dodging ID checks.
        The last thing this world needs is another webshop in cyberspace that takes orders for no goods held and then starts a slow drop shipping process ignoring the purchaser waiting for the complaint window to clese. So many ebay stores send me nice sounding mails keeping me at bay and then they just vanish. Paypal is sending dept collectors after me for goods not received but I had missed the short 30 day complaint window! I always spend the $9 looking up the debt collectors directors private address and grill them in court. Idiots go to full court for ammounts under the Qcat limit so the judges throw them out!

      •  

        Turns out the stalker had since had a heart attack and died.

        After month of stress, not finding your phone number or address. You're responsible for that. Manslaughter ?

    • +5 votes

      I took Telstra to the TIO last year and listed what I wanted as restitution, the case officer said we can't offer you that, and if you keep going with your complaint you may get nothing. A day before mediation between the TIO she called me and agreed to give me what I asked for.

      It was a long and painful process, but it was nice to have a win in the end.

      • +1 vote

        I'm past the TIO. It's not their area. I just had mediation with Telstra and the OAIC. That didn't work out so now it goes to investigations and if there is a case then to the commissioner for judgement.

  • +5 votes

    Nice work!

  • +121 votes

    Ffs 6.5 years you used a TV for and you drag them (and yourself) through vcat?

    • +23 votes

      No, it didn’t actually get to a VCAT hearing. They just served them with a VCAT notice and they gave in. Knowing full well they’d have lost.

      • +60 votes

        I think they would have stood a great chance against him.
        I did however agree with the speaker.
        The TV just seems greedy though. A near 6.5yo TV would be worth peanuts now

        Didn't neg you btw

        • +111 votes

          The current value of TV has nothing to do with assessing what's a reasonable life of a $4.4k TV.

          • +20 votes

            @djc926: Fair. The 6.5 years does though

            • +32 votes

              @timthetoolman: I think 10 years is a reasonable amount of time you'd expect a $4400 to last in the eyes of the ACL. Any less than that and I'd be exercising my rights.

          • +14 votes

            @djc926: True but 6.5 years seems pretty fair. They fixed it because you were too painful to deal with rather than them thinking that had an obligation to do.

            • +10 votes

              @gromit: It is just business…nothing to do with how painful OP is
              they just weighed the cost vs benefit and also likely outcome..

              Normally they give the same warranty line
              and most people just give up..

              the few who don't…
              it will be cheaper to just get it fixed..

            • +2 votes

              @gromit: Why me? Lol It's the OP. I don't have a TV needing a repair

              •  

                @djc926: sorry lol, mistook you for the OP.

        • +2 votes

          I think you're right, but it would have cost Samsung more than that to defend the claim in lawyer fees so they took the cheaper option.

        • +10 votes

          My iPhone is 4 years old and at that price point would expect at least 5 years service.

          Good on OP. I think I wouldn’t have chased either because the marketing has conditioned us to be happy with 12-24 months warranty on consumer goods.

      • +10 votes

        Knowing full well they’d have lost.

        Or they deemed it wasn't financially worth their time to fix. Cost of going to court (staff wages etc) is likely greater than the cost of repair

        • +2 votes

          no staff wage

          just the lawyer fee

      •  

        More likely the cost of their lawyers or representative would be higher or only marginally lower than repair costs.

      • +1 vote

        Knowing full well they would of lost!

        Lol if you actually think they would of lost you are seriously deluded.
        They fixed it to make you go away not cause they thought they would lose.

    • +60 votes

      Under Peters v Panasonic Australia Pty Ltd (Civil Claims) [2014] VCAT 1038 (26 August 2014) http://www7.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/vic/VCAT...
      it has been agreed that the expected TV life is 8 years. Peter paid $1,350 in 2011 and it developed a fault. In 2014 the court awarded Peter $1,096.88 under ACL law.

      •  

        1350÷8x5=843.75. How o they work out 1096? Based on a higher rrp?

        • +6 votes

          I'm guessing using a depreciation formula which probably takes into account salvage value

        •  

          Or increased the value in line with inflation.

        • +1 vote

          Or it wasn't straight-line depreciation

          •  

            @LikeClockwork: I get the feeling this is the most likely answer of the 3 so far. At least rom my experience with cars insurance companies don't seem to consider inflation, and as far as the salvage value of a TV, I really don't see that either. How much is a broken TV really worth? I know TV technicians that say they aren't worth fixing, and they can do so for next to nothing in some cases

            •  

              @Jackson: The latest technology is cool and desirable for about a year until it is replaced by the next model (I'm looking at you, iPhone). Very quick depreciation in the beginning, but after that, is there really that big of a difference between the iPhone 7 and 8 today? Not really.

              Cars are very similar too, good point.

              Inflation would only have a marginal effect too. The RBA want to keep the inflation band steady for a reason - so people can reasonably estimate how much less their money will be worth in the future and what minimum nominal interest rate to invest at. Otherwise, reliability goes out the window and suddenly banks won't have our money to profit from ;)

      • +1 vote

        But does that 8 year expectation now hold as a potential precedence for other TV manufacturers? This was just an agreement between the two parties involved.

        • +3 votes

          Yes that is true it just an agreement. However, it can be used as an example if your TV dies earlier as there are some manufacturers who would deny warranty after the two-year mark.

      •  

        Thaaank you, this is exactly what I was going to ask the OP to provide.

      • +5 votes

        My Sony TV cost $2K late 2015 and started turning off with blinking red light after 3 years. Lasted another 12 months or so. Was told by Sony service agent by phone panel gone and well over $1k to fix, and I will need to pay service fee as warranty 1 year. I took it to another person in 2020, paid $70 for him to confirm the issue and he dumped it or sent for recycling. I am retired, have the time and will consider a claim with Fair Trading NSW.

      •  

        Dang, it's a shame I lost reciept for my Viano TV that died a couple of years later. It was only $600 TV though, but still I expected it to last a bit longer.

        • +1 vote

          still have a 42" vivo from dickies still kicking….remember brick and mortar dicky smith :P

        •  

          If you paid via card, a bank statement may help! Paid cash? TFB!

    •  

      seem bit far fetched. for the price of it though may be ok.

      •  

        I agree, but it's kinda funny to think that a car costs 10 times the price, yet you'd have a much harder time getting them to fix it in the event of an issue 6.5 years after purchase.

    • +6 votes

      My tv from 12 years ago still as good as day one. I don't think I would be satisfied for 5 or 6 years especially if I paid 4.4k…

    • +3 votes

      Even if you pay $500 for a TV it should last 8 - 10 years.

      The price might reflect the brand, size or features but it should not reflect its lifespan.

      Nothing wrong with my 15 year old plasma.

      • +4 votes

        Yup. Like air travel, you should still get to your destination in one piece regardless of seat ticket price or brand\provider. Paying extra is about added luxuries not about a shortening of your lifespan due to buying economy tickets rather than first class…

      • +2 votes

        I think the ACCC would disagree with you there…

        Under their definition of acceptable quality they put that it takes into account “the price paid for the product – for example, a cheap toaster is not expected to last as long as a top-of-the-range one”

      • +1 vote

        @superValue

        Nothing wrong with my 15 year old plasma.

        If you ignore the power consumption. ;-)

        But, agreed, I'm using an LED/LCD TV that's about the same age. A TV should last at least a whole decade, preferably two.

      • +1 vote

        I thought the same until I replaced our Panasonic plasma a few years ago.

        The new Sony looks just so much better, a huge difference.

        Old Panasonic is in the spare room and is still working but doesn’t get much use now.

    • +2 votes

      So what's the expectation, spend 4.4k every 6.5 years on a TV. So $675 every year?

      Not sure how the comment got so many +s, but manufacturers shouldn't be churning out low quality goods at a 4.4k price point.

  •  

    So you can can the manufacturer to court, rather than the retailer?

    • +4 votes

      You may want to google what VCAT is as it is NOT a court.

      • +10 votes

        It's more of a ring…. let's get ready to rumble!!

        • +1 vote

          Trial by combat?

      • -1 vote

        Not what i was asking

    • +2 votes

      Yes. A consumer can ask the manufacturer or importer of a product to provide a repair.

      This is detailed on page 19 of Consumer guarantees -A Guide for Businesses and Legal Practitioners

    • +2 votes

      You would be far more successful too. A retailer isn't going to give you 'go away' money, they don't care if the brand image of Sony or Samsung is damaged

  • +46 votes

    I think in both cases, considering the amount you paid for (especially the TV), then it is not reasonable for the product to fail so fast. The reason companies also try to fob you off is that probably only a small percentage of people actually go through with their threat of raising a VCAT etc case, so it's still cheaper for them to do this rather than do what the law requires them to. It's good to hear of success stories and what you need to do to force the companies to uphold their end.

    • +48 votes

      Like someone has posted their experience earlier, I just stayed calm, stayed respectful, and stayed my course.

      • +2 votes

        What Gervais fanboy said (both below) - well done and thanks.

  • +15 votes

    Brilliant job with that
    As a consumer I never knew we had any rights past the warranty period…

    Also you mentioned you got your Jbl speakers assessed, who did you get’em assessed by….?

    • +43 votes

      That's the point of this post, to raise awareness of consumers' rights. The speaker was assessed by an authorised service agent, suggested by the manufacturer itself, as was the case with the TV.

      • +2 votes

        Yup you are right, I shared your post with a few friends that too I am sure would find this very helpful..
        Again, thanks for sharing..

        •  

          Now I am confused, why have you plussed @flophunters comment calling him a pest?

  • +12 votes

    Congratulations and thanks for sharing the story.

  • +14 votes

    I’m pro ACL but I feel these were beyond expected lifespan. But seeing as VCAT backed you up I guess not.

    • +16 votes

      I disagree on the speakers should last 20 to 40 years, unless they are abused.
      I agree with the TV. TV life should be somewhere between 5 and 10 years, but it depends on how you calculate a TV life. For example if you take a LED life of say 20K hrs, then assuming 365 days/year @ 8hrs on per day then the life should be 6.8 years, but if you take 10hrs/day then it's 5.4 years.

      • +16 votes

        Who has time to watch tv for 8 hours a day let alone 10!?

        • +3 votes

          Lots of people leave it on all day for background noise.

          • +7 votes

            @JimmyF: LoL. Cheaper to buy a radio.

            • +1 vote

              @netjock: Oh yeah for sure, on a talkback station too 🙄

            •  

              @netjock: But they already own a TV? Maybe like to listen to the shows etc. Anyhow just saying what some people do and thats how they get 8 hours a day :)

      • +5 votes

        Exaclty. Speakers can last an insanely long time.

        TVs id expect something internal to fail after say 10 years or so, but not the screen in the way OP described.

        • +4 votes

          I am still using a pair of Bose 901's I bought 27 years ago

      • +2 votes

        I have been using my Creative Gigaworks T20 desktop speakers since 2005 , they are still amazing. (they were made from metal, they are now plastic and badly built) I agree with the lifespan point unless being abused.

      • +1 vote

        20 to 40 years for powered speakers, which probably utilise a switchmode power supply for the amp?!? Highly unlikely! Not to mention you'd be hard pressed to buy capacitors in the 21st century that don't dry up several decades prior to 40 years!

      •  

        speakers should last 20 to 40 years, unless they are abused.
        […] TV life should be somewhere between 5 and 10 years,

        Why so different?

        If we were talking un-powered speakers, sure, they should last until something eats the rubber surrounds.

        But OP's speaker is powered, and power supplies are usually the first thing to fail in electronic things (including TVs). Displays are a bit fragile, so I agree they would have a shorter expected lifespan, but not a factor of 4x.

    • +18 votes

      Note under both cases nobody found that the manufacturers were liable. The manufacturers offered to solve the problem to make it go away.

      • +3 votes

        The manufacturers solved the problem specifically because they didn't want to be found liable in court, which would open up a slew of further cases…

    •  

      I'm with you, pro ACL too… The TV was too far, the speaker, was just on the edge.