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Initally It Was Dodgy TV Claims Now LG Is Being Slammed Again By The ACCC For Their Faulty Solar Batteries

LG who has been selling questionable solar batteries in Australia via their Energy Solutions business, which can overheat and catch fire without warning, has been forced to provide enforceable undertaking that it will increase its efforts to alert and protect consumers according to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission.

LG Electronics is well known to the ACCC for their questionable consumer activities.

Back in 2019 the Federal Court imposed $160,000 in penalties on LG Electronics Australia Pty Ltd (LG) for making misleading representation to consumers about their consumer guarantee rights relating to LG TV’s.

In June 2018, the Full Federal Court found that LG made misleading representations consumers who believed they had purchased faulty televisions.
When consumers called LG they were told that they had no rights other than those under LG’s manufacturer’s warranties.

This is the same Company that was recently singled out for security issues linked to their WebOS software found on their latest OLED TV’s.

Security researchers from Bitdefender have discovered four vulnerabilities in LG’s WebOS that impact multiple versions of the company’s smart TV portfolio.

The vulnerable operating system has reportedly made tens of thousands of devices vulnerable to remote attack. LG Australia made no announcements relating to the issue.

In the past and due to enforced ACCC undertakings, all LG Electronics PR and marketing statements have had to be approved by lawyers before they could be issued ,resulting in Australian media only getting an announcement sometimes days after the same announcement has been made in other parts of the world.

The undertaking to make accurate statements in the Australian market was part of an undertakings deal with the ACCC due to questionable actions by management at the local subsidiary.

In their latest run in with the ACCC it’s been identified that the South Korean Company via their Energy Solutions division is still trying to track 4,000+ batteries that the Company had issued a voluntary recall for.

The problem affected over 18,000 batteries in Australia with 15 incidents of property damage caused by LG solar batteries in Australia, including a house in Victoria that was completely destroyed.

The undertaking worked out with ACCC contains commitments that LG has to undertake a widespread advertising campaign to alert consumers about safety risks with the batteries subject to the recalls, and to use its best endeavours to ensure that all affected batteries are remedied within 12 months.

Questions have been raised over the effort LG has been putting in so far to track down consumers with the Company well known for its reluctancy to spend money on marketing on issues such as a recall.

Recently the business that is suffering in several divisions in Australia, and who reported a 21% fall in revenues last year has moved to sack senior executives who have worked for the Company some for close to 14 years replacing them with executives on lower salaries.

“We are warning consumers who have a solar energy storage system to check if their battery is affected by these LG recalls. If you have an affected battery, including one that has already received a software update, switch it off and contact LG urgently,” Deputy Chair Catriona Lowe said.

“LG has committed to increase its efforts to alert consumers to the safety risk posed by the affected LG batteries and will take steps to remediate or replace the batteries. LG will also provide compensation to consumers for higher energy bills during the period their battery is switched off.”

Recently, there was a fire involving an affected LG battery that had been remedied with an LG software update designed to prevent incidents caused by the defect in the batteries.

Investigations are ongoing to determine the cause of the fire and whether the software update failed to work as it should.

“The ACCC is extremely concerned by this development, and we are keeping a close watch. LG is contacting affected customers now to instruct them to switch off their batteries. We urge all consumers who previously had a software update installed to immediately switch off their battery, pending the outcome of these investigations,” Ms Lowe said.

Some of the LG solar batteries are close to $10,000 to purchase with a replacement promise set to cost the South Korean business millions.

“As part of the undertaking given to the ACCC, LG has agreed to replace these affected batteries or provide refunds to consumers if investigations conclude that a software update is no longer an appropriate remedy. LG will also provide compensation to consumers with these batteries for higher energy bills incurred during the period their battery is switched off.

The ACCC had been concerned that LG’s advertising to date was inadequate in alerting consumers to the dangers of these LG batteries.

Following ACCC advice provided earlier this year, the Assistant Treasurer issued a proposed recall notice, which is a formal step towards a compulsory recall, due to concerns that LG had not taken satisfactory action to prevent the affected batteries causing injury to any person.

Following this step by the Assistant Treasurer, LG met with the ACCC and offered to make significant additional commitments via a court-enforceable undertaking.

“The undertaking given to the ACCC by LG places comprehensive and court-enforceable obligations on LG to alert consumers and fix their batteries,” Ms Lowe said.

Following the ACCC’s acceptance of the undertaking from LG containing these detailed commitments, the Assistant Treasurer has accepted the ACCC’s recommendation that it is not necessary to issue a compulsory recall notice for the affected LG batteries.

The ACCC will seek orders in the Federal Court to enforce the undertaking if LG fails to comply with the commitments it has made in the undertaking.

Management at LG Australia have not commented on the issue to ChannelNews or SmartHouse.

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