HP Australia Fined for Misleading Customers on Warranties

HP Australia has been ordered by Australia’s Federal Court to pay an AUD 3 million (USD $2,719,500) fine for making false or misleading representations to customers and retailers on consumer guarantee rights.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) began proceedings against HP last October. Then ACCC and HP reached a settlement. Apart from the fine, the Court also made orders including declarations, injunctions, a contribution towards the ACCC’s costs, consumer redress orders, public disclosure orders, corrective advertising orders, and orders to implement a compliance program.

Based on the parties’ agreed facts, the Court found that HP made several false or misleading representations to consumers about their consumer guarantee rights, including that:

The remedies for consumers were limited to the remedies available at HP’s discretion;

The warranty period for HP products was limited to a specified express warranty period;

Consumers were required to have their products repaired many times before they were entitled to a replacement;

Consumers were required to pay for remedies outside the express warranty period;

Products purchased online could only be returned to HP at HP’s sole discretion.

Also, the Court found that HP represented that it was not liable to compensate a retailer if the retailer failed to obtain authorization from HP before giving a consumer a replacement or refund.

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