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Federal court orders HP to pay $3.2m

James Hutchinson (via AFR) | July 5, 2013
HP is found guilty to have misled customers about their warranty rights and has been served one of the largest penalties doled out to date under the new consumer law.

Federal court orders HP to pay $3.2m
According to a statement from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, HP's call centre staff were found to have misled customers about when they were eligible to receive a replacement for a faulty device, and whether they were required to pay for repairs outside warranty periods.

The Federal Court has ordered Hewlett Packard Australia to pay $3.2 million after finding it misled customers about their warranty rights, in one of the largest penalties doled out to date under the new consumer law.

According to a statement from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, HP's call centre staff were found to have misled customers about when they were eligible to receive a replacement for a faulty device, and whether they were required to pay for repairs outside warranty periods.

HP was also found to have told retailers that it could not indemnify them if they provided customers with a refund or replacement before obtaining authorisation from the company first.

According to technology publication ZDNet , lawyers for HP admitted in court proceedings last month that the company's help desk personnel had made misleading claims regarding warranties and repairs.

The ACCC said it and HP had agreed to the facts during the case, leaving the matter of penalties to presiding judge, Justice Robert Buchanan.

"The misconduct was widespread and systemic from a very large multi-national firm," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.

"The ACCC believes that this penalty sends a strong message to all companies, particularly large multi-national companies, that the Australian Consumer Law is not negotiable."

The company was required to pay the ACCC's legal costs, amounting to $200,000, and institute a redress program for affected customers.

A HP spokeswoman said the company had changed its policies in call centres and warranty practices to rectify the issue.

"We deeply regret that in the instances identified by the ACCC. HP fell short of our core commitment to high standards of service for Australian consumers," she said.

More to come

 

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