UPDATED: LG Misled Consumers Over TV Repairs Claims Full Federal Court
LG Electronics who has a history of run ins with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has lost another battle with the Full Federal Court ruling that the Korean Company made multiple representations to consumers that were false.
The Full Federal Court also partially upheld an appeal by the ACCC against an earlier judgment dismissing the ACCC’s case against LG Electronics. In total 17 cases were dismissed against LG, this was not revealed in the ACCC presss release relating to the case.
Angus Jones the General Mager of Marketing at LG told ChannelNews that LG was “happy wit hthe outcome of the case”.
He said “Today the Full Federal Court dismissed the majority of the appeal brought by the ACCC from an earlier decision. The Full Court found that LG Australia did not engage in false or misleading conduct in 17 out of the 19 alleged representations concerning customers’ rights under the consumer guarantees in the Australian Consumer Law which were the subject of the appeal. The Court did not make a similar finding in relation to the remaining two representations but noted that the two consumers involved were not in fact misled. This is consistent with our commitment to customer service and handling of consumer guarantees.
LG Australia is committed to honouring our obligations under Australian Consumer Law and will be carefully reviewing the findings of the Court.”
The Court also dismissed the ACCC’s appeal in respect of other LG statements made to consumers.
The ACCC instituted proceedings against LG in December 2015 alleging, that they have misled consumers who complained about defects with its televisions. Also misled were LG retailers and repairers.
The ACCC said that the remedies available to consumers were limited to what was outlined in the LG manufacturer’s warranty.
In the circumstances where the Full Court held that LG had made a false representation, LG had in effect represented that no rights other than those under LG’s manufacturer’s warranty existed.
“When consumers buy products, they come with a consumer guarantee under the Australian Consumer Law that they will be of acceptable quality. Manufacturer’s warranties exist in addition to the consumer guarantee rights,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.
“Consumers will often still be entitled under the consumer guarantee to a repair, refund or replacement when the manufacturer’s warranty does not apply or has come to an end,” Ms Court said.
The Full Court noted that LG’s training of staff not to mention the ACL unless it was raised specifically by a consumer risked LG making false or misleading representations, as it is a short distance from this to effectively denying the existence of the ACL consumer guarantees altogether.
“The ACCC welcomes the Court’s decision, which should serve as a warning to businesses they run a risk if they choose not to mention the ACL consumer guarantees to customers,” Ms Court said.
“The ACCC will continue to take action where we believe that customers have been misled about their consumer guarantee rights.”
where the defect occurred after the LG manufacturer’s warranty had expired, the consumer was only entitled to a remedy if the consumer paid for the costs of assessing the failure.
LG told consumers that they had no further obligations, and any step it took in relation to the television was an act of goodwill and that the TV owner was only entitled to have the television repaired and if they did they were liable for the labour costs of the repair.
The ACCC’s case was dismissed at first instance in September 2017.