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

    • +7 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.

      • +3 votes

        Link isn't working, but I have heard analysis of that case in the past and the 8 years was a figure negotiated for the purposes of damages, and therefore not actually precedent setting for the purposes of setting an expected life under ACL. Obligatory IANAL.

        • +2 votes

          Here is the link http://www7.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/vic/VCAT...

          Yeah did some research and what you said is true.

          • +2 votes

            @LC1: Thanks, so from what I've read in the past, the "The parties agree that the expected life of the television is 8 years." line means that this isn't actually a precedent for ACL as it wasn't a decision by a judge or tribunal, it was a negotiation between parties to settle a case.

            • +1 vote

              @Joshm12: Yeah, that is true. At least though we can use this as an example of a tv life span to repair TV under ACL. As for a lot of people on this thread thinks even six years is too long. A lot of manufactories fob us off after the two-year mark so using this can help with getting a remedy.

              • +2 votes

                @LC1: I am one of those people :P I certainly have an expectation that they will last that long, but I don't think it is the manufacturers responsibility to pay for unexpected product failure on a consumer TV past the 5 year mark. From an engineering point of view, expected life will always be a range, and the question that is really being debated here is should the manufacturer or consumer pay if you get unlucky at the short end of the range. I just fear for competition and product availability in Australia if we all collectively decide that manufacturers need to fully warrant their products for the full design life.

                • +2 votes

                  @Joshm12: Yeah that true, I understand but for me it based on the price on product compared to other product offering. In this instance he paid $4400 for a TV. So it considered High end TV. Choice did an article https://www.choice.com.au/shopping/consumer-rights-and-advic... and it showed a high end tv life span at 11 years. So I would expect it to last a long time. We have a Panasonic Plasma Tv that we bought for $2,500 and 10 years later it is still working. If the Tv died now I'm happy it lasted based on the price that was paid. But if i spent $4,400 and it died at 6 years I would have asked for remedy. Where as if it was a cheap $500 TV that died at the six year mark even the three year mark I would say i got my use of it. So for me it all relative on the price of the product.

                  • +2 votes

                    @LC1: It's an interesting view that a higher priced product must last longer. There are some products where you pay more for higher quality and therefore expect it to last longer. But there are many others where you are paying for additional features not quality. An example for a TV would be a manufacturer sells a 75inch TV for 4 times the cost of a 40inch TV (let's assume the same range). Would it be reasonable to expect the 75inch TV would have a 4 times longer lifetime because it cost more even though you've got almost 4 times the TV area? I'm interested in how the ACL considers this.

                    • +2 votes

                      @thestig: When determining the higher priced being higher length of time; it is in comparison to other similar TVs in the market.

                      You would be comparing a 75" with other 75" in the market to determine if it is higher priced or not. For example; a Sony 75" (lets say OLED) may be twice the price of a Hisense 75" OLED - so a Sony should last longer than a Hisense (not twice, but comparatively longer).

                      • +1 vote

                        @MrHyde: That's what I would've thought but the comments here seem like they are saying that a $4k tv should be expected to last a certain time vs a cheaper tv with no mention of the features or how it compares to other similar sized TVs/feature TVs.

                        • +4 votes

                          @thestig: As per the ATO depreciation rates; a household TV effective life is 8 years. So, an average quality TV should last 8 years. An high quality TV should last more and an el cheapo would last less.

                    •  

                      @thestig: It based on a number of factors. It what @MrHyde said about comparing products to other similar TV in the market. Some people are buying $8k Tv to get the latest display tech. They are charged an early adopter fee to get this new tech. In my view, I will only take that also into consideration and determine it should last a bit longer than say the $4k TV.

      •  

        What is expected life of a mobile phone?

        •  

          3 years. A good place to start is looking at ATO depreciation rates and seeing what they use as the effective life of an item.

          Saying that, my phone is going strong for 6 years now. See no reason to upgrade just yet.

      •  

        To be fair, Peters TV was only 3 years old…. So shouldn't have failed.

  • +13 votes

    I think your claim for the JBL speaker was very reasonable.

    But I think the TV case was you being a nuisance customer and them deciding it was easier to repair than fight.

    I know $4400 is a lot for a TV, but 6.5 years is also a long time for a modern electronic device to last. A 'reasonable' lifespan will be a range. Nobody expects every product ever manufactured to last forever, you will always get some really lucky ones and some average ones. I'm not sure many people would agree with you that 6.5 years was well outside the reasonable life expectancy for a TV. I think your claim would've been thrown out by a tribunal.

    • +36 votes

      I hear what you're saying about 6 years being a 'long time' but only because we as consumers have been trained this way.

      Mostly due to the hyper-fast technological evolution in TVs over the last 20 years, and also because so many modern electronic products all die after 5 or 8 years, weve just come to accept poor quality as normal.

      • +1 vote

        To use a different example, we all expect cars to last 10-15+ years. That doesn't mean you get a 15 year warranty on manufacturers defects.

        I don't disagree that I would like my TV to last 6-10 years and I would have a reasonable expectation that it would. The question is who bears the cost of unforeseen part failures well into or past the design life of the product.

        I am not sure I agree on your noted precedents of ACL, but even if true, there is a level of reasonableness that needs to be applied across the board to enable manufacturers to actually sell products at profit in Australia, or they will just leave.

        I care about the environment, and I disagree with the shift towards throw-away goods. One of the reasons I use OzBargain is so that I can afford to buy good quality stuff once rather than throwing out Kmart stuff every 6 months.

        But I think it is very unhealthy to the total market (and our existing consumer protections) to expect complete warranties from companies for 5+ years on consumer products.

        P.S. Companies should be required to maintain part availability so that consumers can repair.

        • +5 votes

          Cars are perhaps not a great example to compare to as they have their own ACL guidelines and warranties above and beyond manufacturer warranties. They cover major and minor part failures for a “reasonable amount of time”. It’s up to the court, be it vcat, or whoever to make the judgments on what an appropriate amount of time is based on the car product failure and situation etc. But ACL is clear for cars, consumers are covered pretty well.

          Also keep in mind, that as cars age, the payout might decrease as well. For example if the engine of a 4 year old car explodes with a 3 year warranty, you might expect a free replacement. However if the engine of a 8 year old car explodes, you might expect a half price replacement. Not everything is black and white and there’s lots of room for compromises in the courts.

          All I was pointing out is that the OP is not the first to take a 6+ year old tv to a tribunal and win. Clearly in the eyes of vcat, 6 or 8 years is not considered a reasonable lifetime of the product.

        • +2 votes

          Here’s one example I could find in 20 mins.

          http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/vic/VCAT/2014/1038.ht...

          The tv was only 2.5 years old but both parties agreed that the life of a tv is 8 years. So there ya go.

          There’s more if you have a spare 15 days to spend trawling through legal cases. Haha.

    • +9 votes

      For the money paid on that TV I'd accept a total screen failure in 10 years but not the failure OP described. one seems wear and tear but the pixel failure says bad manufacturing to this untutored soul.

    • +2 votes

      If the reasonable lifespan of a $1350 TV is 8yrs then surely a $4.4k TV wouldn't be unreasonable to get 10yrs out of?

      https://www.ozbargain.com.au/comment/10589234/redir

    • +3 votes

      I know $4400 is a lot for a TV, but 6.5 years is also a long time for a modern electronic device to last.

      Man this is just such a bad take. Modern electronics should survive long enough to be basically obsolete before they fail.

      • -4 votes

        Yes they should. But that doesn't mean they should have a warranty that is that long. I explained reasoning but you chose to just pull out the first line of the first comment.

  • +1 vote

    Funny.. I wouldnt expect any TV to last 6 yrs… then I wouldnt spend more than a grand on a TV either, theres hardly anything worth watching anymore
    YMMV

    • +3 votes

      Nothing on FTA maybe.

      But we're in the golden era of television right now. I feel like I need to like a 4 week staycation if I'm ever to get though my netflix playlist.

      • +5 votes

        we're in the golden era of television right now.?

        LOLOL!!!! Your humor is noted

      •  

        Yeah there's a whole lot of stuff on all the streaming services and somehow I still get bored before I even click play just scrolling through the library.

      • +1 vote

        Lots of good stuff on fta, four corners was good last night

  • +12 votes

    Thankyou so much for making this post. Very rarely do we see users post resolutions to issues. Nice work.

  • +10 votes

    Most people would just buy another one (mostly due to laziness). Well done champ for sticking up for yourself.

  • +3 votes

    LOL.. a VCAT claim for a 6.5 year old TV?

    IMHO you're lucky it didn't get to mediation… they paid you to go away rather than wear the expense of showing up to defend your nuisance claim.

    • +13 votes

      Nuisance? Is it too much to ask for to get what you pay? TV developing this problem is a result of poor quality control. They're the nuisance in this case.

    • +6 votes

      VCAT determined a $1.3k TV was reasonable to last 8yrs, surely a $4.4k TV wouldn't be unreasonable to expect 10yrs?

      https://www.ozbargain.com.au/comment/10589234/redir

  • +2 votes

    Good on you. For me, depends on how much time i need to spend fighting it. Time > Money for me. Don't think i have the patience to do if it's going to cost me weeks of headache and hours of my time caling up and waiting on the phone.

    • +4 votes

      The total time I spent on the case was about 30 minutes each (writing my Points of Claim and application to VCAT), plus about 20 minutes on the conference phone call for the speaker.

      • +2 votes

        What about the assessment?

        • +3 votes

          One of my sons in law dropped the speaker off at the service agent on his way to work. The TV assessment is done in home, took less than 5 minutes.

      •  

        That's not too bad. Thumbs up for you.

  • +1 vote

    Hi op, nice work. Did you go via any ombudsman before lodging vcat?

    •  

      Any ombudsman?
      You mean like the consumer electronics ombudsman's office (the CEOO?)???
      They are always so helpful.
      /s

      •  

        Well…there's the accc.

        Then tio for telecommunications…

        Lsbv for legal…

        If there was a ceoo, it'll be more useful than your comment

        • +1 vote

          Well…there's the accc. not an ombudsman
          Then tio for telecommunications… not relevant
          Lsbv for legal… also not relevant
          If there was a ceoo, it'll be more useful than your comment because your comment solved all OP's problems?

      • +4 votes

        Not sure what it is in Vic, but in NSW it's Fair Trading. 9/10 times reasonable claims made to fair trading are settled without going to tribunal.

    • +2 votes

      I contacted the manufacturers directly by email or via their website. After I was dismissed I advised them that I would bring the matter to a small claim court.

  • +34 votes

    Well played OP.

    Many of the 'armchair experts' in the forum laughing at your 6.5 year old TV claim, would not be aware of precident VCAT cases where 8 and 9 year old TV's that have died, VCAT have ruled in favour of the consumer. So you are not the first to take large consumer applicance issues after 5+ years to VCAT and win. It's been well documented in previous ACL rulings that acceptable quality is not "1 year" as per the rubbish warranty periods offered by manufacturers and retailers. Good on you for sticking up for yourself. My brother in law did the same thing with his 8 year old TV that suddenly died, took Samsung to VCAT and won in a canter.

    • +20 votes

      Armchair idiots more like. It's the fact that these people exist that the rest of us have to actually go to lengths to get reasonable repairs done

      • +6 votes

        Agreed - and unfortunately why low quality manufacturers and retailers keep winning business. It's the environmental issue that irks me the most yet gets the least attention.

      • +1 vote

        on the plus side, if enforcing our ACL warranty rights was the usual instead of the exception, they'd factor it into the pricing more and we'd pay more in the first place.

        Anytime they're selling something with warranty, it's partially pricing like an insurance company would and factoring risk/rate of returns.

    •  

      8 year old TV that suddenly died, took Samsung to VCAT and won in a canter.

      can you tell us the details of the tv?

      how much did it originally cost , and was it top-range, mid-range, or cheap ?

  • +21 votes

    I think 6.5 years for a 4.4K TV is definately not too long.

    I've got a Sony that has been going strong for nearly 15 years now with not a single dead pixel. I would be very annoyed if a 4.4K lasted just 6.5 years - that averages out to about $700 a year - way too expensive.

    • +7 votes

      My other TV, an LCD Sony, is going strong at 13 years and I think most normal people would agree that it's a norm rather than an exception.

    • +5 votes

      I've have an AWA plasma TV going on 16 years now and it works perfectly. Still getting use out of it. TV's should have the expected life of at least 10 years or more.

  •  

    What do you guys think if acl period for Dyson V6 bought from Aldi for $300? Mine has this issue when on max vacuum for 2 seconds then stop then put on charge for a second before then can be used again. It's been 2.5 yrs, Dyson says 2 yrs.

    • +5 votes

      The battery is dead Jim.

      •  

        ………..and you can't get a warranty on that……………wish they were replaceable on most appliances/items though - THAT is the real issue!

        •  

          Lots of them are if you have even a mild ability to spin a screwdriver.

        •  

          Seems like you can replace the battery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gH_CoicD94k. Third party battery from $35 in Amazon.

          •  

            @foxmulder: Except don't buy the 3rd party, buy a genuine one, or it will fail prematurely

    •  

      You can buy a new battery for your Dyson. The replacement cost directly from Dyson is quite reasonable I think

    •  

      u sure its not this problem? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfexLlYw7NE

  • +3 votes

    We complain that we have higher consumer electronics prices than other countries in the world but are happy to pull shit like this above and beyond with our already strong ACCC regulation.

    If your $500 iPhone breaks after the 1 year warranty in the US, good luck getting any free support at all if you didn’t buy apple care. Cost of doing business in Australia must be significantly higher for a lot of tech companies.

    • -2 votes

      Yeah, it's a bit frustrating from that perspective. I do think the 6.5 years was definitely a stretch. And it's people like this that end up driving the price up for others because the cost of business is higher. So not really sure I'm actually happy for this person.

      • +16 votes

        Not for a TV that costs 4400 bucks, in today's money that can buy you and 85" TV, I'll be dammed if I am dropping that every 6.5 years, esp considering many people design a part of their house or buy furniture for the thing. In the CRT days TV's would last 20 years and still be going strong, businesses just took advantage of the technology cycle to sell people poor quality rubbish, just like many car manufacturers took advantage of the lease cycle. You wouldn't p!ss on Samsung or Goldstar back then

        • -1 vote

          In the CRT days TV's would last 20 years and still be going strong

          This would very often be due to the fact that they were serviced / repaired rather than disposed of.

          All the larger CRT TVs I've had were repaired at some time. The little <34cm ones were more "disposable" but they seemed to go forever

          • +3 votes

            @afoveht: In my experience they just lasted. Had a whole extended family with AWA TV's, and don't remember one person having their's fixed unless they bought it broken (uncle was a TV tech).Mine lasted more than 20 years and was on all day most days and when it did go it only required a capacitor. Later on when Sony Trinitrons became popular, 10 years was still common. Finally when people moved to LCDs the whole market got turned on its head, the Koreans killed the Japanese manufacturers on price and the quality evaporated.

            Spoke to my cousin recently and his 1980 AWA 48cm is still connected to his NES, and he can still play duck hunt on it.

            •  

              @Jackson: Tvs of the past had one job - to display an image. Modern TVs have multiple critical systems that if they fail will cause the tv to fail. A smart TV is essentially an all in one computer with all the potential failure modes of a pc system.

              Nobody is taking a computer MFR to court after 6.5 years because we have different expectations for that tech.

      • +7 votes

        Isn’t it terrible that we have laws protecting consumers.

        • -1 vote

          No, it's not. But the flipside of that is higher prices to account for these things. That was the point made.

          • +3 votes

            @Hybroid: There is no evidence to suggest that link. There are likely many factors and that may be a small one.

      • +4 votes

        Yeah, it's frustrating OP demands to expect a TV to work for some time for his hard-earned? Don't worry, Samsung isn't on the street homeless!! Poor Samsung.

        •  

          Lee Jae Yong the vice chairman and heir of Samsung is in prison. Poor Jae Yong!

    • -4 votes

      Negged (Lukas, to square out IMO undeserved plus 1 rating) as Iphone is irrelevant….and agree with OP….warranties are slanted in favour of the maker. Oztax is a real thing but I don't think it's cost of doing business here.

    • +1 vote

      Have you been to and purchased goods from other countries in the world that have similar consumer rights?

      •  

        ACL is much stronger than any other I’ve lived under. I’ve only done post-warranty claims/returns in Australia and California, they have all gone down much easier in Australia. In the US though it was pretty common to have simple tech products have lifetime warranty - those companies were extremely easy to deal with and would ship me out a few new charging cables almost every year.

        I assume a lot of people do not claim on their warranties at all in the US. Even the average non ozbargain joe in Australia may not use their warranty even within their advertised rights due to the perseived hassle.

  • +8 votes

    I'm glad you got the win on both cases here. I'm not even that old but I expect an expensive TV to last 10 years if you take care of it. That's just how old my family's previous non flat screen televisions lasted for.

    I'm glad people like you take cases and share the results with others as manufacturers will always push consumers as far as they can.

  • +6 votes

    Great job!

  • +15 votes

    Good on you. People are quick to run defence for multi-billion dollar companies as if it's their nan losing money. The other day the guy had a fly get in their Sony TV and people were saying it's acceptable.

  •  

    Hi Op

    Would you mind turning on your message? Need to discuss on your VCAT claim.

    • +16 votes

      Where's the study that says that we pay more because of having good cunsumer protection laws? We pay more because we are among the richest countries in the world, are comparatively small on population but large on land mass, and are not connected by land to any other country. We pay double to triple for a Porsche, and no one is taking those back for refunds.

      • -3 votes

        Cry me a river if you want a Porsche status symbol pay that supersized Australia tax. Most regular mass produced consumer items are rather competively priced compared to say 30 years ago

        • +13 votes

          The example was used to illustrate that there's absolutely no connection between having good consumer protection policies and cost of products. Further, practically all cars are much more expensive here than over in the US, from Toyota's to lambos. The fact is if we didn't have consumer protection laws, these multinational organisations would just be pocketing the money they saved at our expense.

          Come to think of it, ractically every Australian car ever built cost less in the US than here. All while the auto industry got huge govt handouts

          • +6 votes

            @Jackson: The Australia tax is not based on increased expenses, rather on more opportunistic business practices. They see us accepting without backlash, they be charging more.

          •  

            @Jackson: To be fair, it isn't all cars that are priced unfairly. You have to account for our taxes.

            Japanese and korean brands - toyota, subaru, Hyundai are priced fair, in some cases slightly cheaper than in other countries.

            VW sets fair RRPs in general, but most euro brands do have an Australia tax - BMW, Mercedes, Porsche to name a few

            Add on that the dealer network and spare parts supply chain is close to a monopoly for these brands, and you get into the situation where even independent mechanics need to buy parts at retail from the US, rather than buying them through official channels.

  • +3 votes

    Did the OP actually win at VCAT judgement or did the companies just pay up to avoid the hassle?

    • +1 vote

      Payout

  • -3 votes

    Not that I have one but if my $500 40 inch HD TV die at 6.5 yrs, should I go through VCAT too?

    • +2 votes

      ACL states that "Acceptable quality takes into account what would normally be expected for the type of product and cost". So cost is indeed a very important factor to say if that is acceptable or not.

      • -1 vote

        Never agreed with it. If the manufacturer charges more for the TV and expect to have it last longer, they would have advertised so as an incentive to buy. Otherwise, buy extended warranty.

        • +4 votes

          Otherwise, buy extended warranty.

          Is that you Mr Harvey?

    • +1 vote

      Well, if OP's TV was expected to be alive for more than 6.5 years at $4.4K, then if we divide it proportionally,
      your $500 TV should be expected to last 0.7 years… I think you are completely out of luck if your TV is out of warranty.

      •  

        Hahaha… all the Hisense units probably shouldn't be promoted here on OzB in that case.

      • +1 vote

        The question is would a reasonable person pay $500 for a TV if they expected it would last 0.7 years.

    • +8 votes

      $500 cheapy vs $4.4k.

      No. Op paid for quality and expected a good lifetime from this perceived quality. He didn't get it, so got money back. Good on him.

      • +1 vote

        No he paid 4k more to get more features and probably a bigger and better screen.

        Why doesn't Mercedes provide 7 yrs warranty compared to Kia which is cheaper to buy??? Have you tried to go to Merc at 6.5 yrs when the gearbox fails when a Kia will have that gearbox work past the 7 yrs mark.