Tech giant Apple has been warned by the Commerce Commission of New Zealand after it likely misled customers, while online retailer NZSALE has pleaded guilty to four charges of failing to comply with product safety standards.
In the Commission’s view, Apple is likely to have breached the Fair Trading Act in a number of ways, including telling consumers its products are only covered by a guarantee for two years, which is in direct violation of the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) in that they do not expire after a legally prescribed period of time.
“Although businesses may form a view about how long a product should generally last, they must assess each reported fault on its own merits,” said Commissioner Anna Rawlings, “they should not base decisions solely on how long a consumer has owned a product. The reasonable lifespan of a product will depend very much on what the product is.”
Apple was also warned for pushing customers to the manufacturer of non-Apple branded products when Apple is responsible, as a retailer, for all products it sells.
“It is natural that many retailers may wish to liaise with manufacturers to assess and remedy product defects but they must not point blank refuse to address consumer complaints and refer consumers exclusively to manufacturers for attention,” Ms Rawlings said.
Additionally, NZSALE has been charged with failing to comply with the product safety standard for children’s nightwear, after it was found that three types of nightwear and a sleep sack were made of material that was too flammable to be used, did not carry the right fire hazard label, or had no fire hazard labelling at all.
The Commission’s investigation was sparked by a product recall of these products in Australia following an investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. The products were publically recalled in New Zealand in December 2015.
In New Zealand 73 units were sold – although only eight garments were returned through the recall and a further 15 were confirmed destroyed by consumers.