How to get Apple to replace out-of-warranty faulty devices

Apple are notorious in Australia for misleading customers in relation to their rights when it comes to warranty replacements. 

Australia has some of the toughest consumer protection laws in the world and Apple staff have often been caught-out, misleading consumers about their rights. 

If your Apple device (laptop, phone, iPod, airport, AppleTV - whatever) is out of warranty and has a fault which you did not cause (i.e. the product is defective), so long as the product is within it's "reasonable use" lifetime, Apple must, by law, replace or repair the fault. 

The specific sections of the Consumer Protection Act you need to be aware of are:

How long do consumers’ statutory rights apply?

Statutory rights are not limited to a set time period. Instead, they apply for the amount of time that isreasonable to expect, given the cost and quality of the item.

This means a consumer may be entitled to a remedy under their statutory rights after any manufacturer’s voluntary or extended warranty has expired.

For example, it is reasonable to expect that an expensive television should not develop a serious fault after 13 months of normal use. In this case, the consumer could argue the item was not of merchantable quality and ask for it to be repaired, even if the manufacturer’s voluntary warranty had expired.

and, if you still get grief from the Apple staff...

Misleading consumers about their rights

Statutory rights are consumers’ rights which are implied in all consumer contracts by the Act. They cannot be changed, limited or refused by a seller.

It is against the law for a seller to do anything that leads consumers to believe their rights are limited, or do not apply – for example, by claiming that no refunds will be given under any circumstances.  

The above clause basically states that it is illegal for Apple staff to tell you that you don't have the right to have your device repaired or replaced. 

The key things you need to do are:

  1. Contact Apple immediately after the fault occurs
  2. Determine what is a "reasonable" life expectancy of the device
  3. Ask for a repair or replacement

If you get the standard "it's out of warranty but you can pay us $N for a repair or replacement" statement

  1. Start quoting the Consumer Protection Act
  2. Threaten to lodge a complaint with the ACCC (who aren't all that fond of Apple at the moment) against Apple and the Apple store manager, be sure to get his or her name. If you're in an Apple store be sure to raise your voice a level or two when you mention "ACCC" and "Consumer Protection Act" and "illegal" as this will often result in an immediate back-down.
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