Apple misled consumers into thinking they were only entitled to return items within 14 days and get items repaired within 1 year, according to the ACCC.
The ACCC told Apple it was in breach of Australia's consumer guarantees when it told consumers they were only entitled to a full refund if goods were returned within two weeks; that it would only provide a refund or replacement if products were damaged within a year of purchase; that it was not responsible for non-Apple products sold through Apple stores; and when it only offered a store credit rather than a full refund for faulty products.
"The ACCC was concerned that Apple was applying its own warranties and refund policies effectively to the exclusion of the consumer guarantees contained in the Australian Consumer Law," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said. "This undertaking serves as an important reminder to businesses that while voluntary or express warranties can provide services in addition to the consumer guarantee rights of the ACL, they cannot replace or remove those ACL guarantee rights."
Consumer guarantees in the country do not not have a time limit but can applied for as long as "reasonable to expect given the cost and quality of the item".
Apple has promised to reassess all warranty claims made in the past two years and provide customers what they were legally entitled to. The undertaking begins on January 6th and will last 90 days.
Apple has also agreed to publish a note on its website saying, "If you believe that you have been denied a statutory right or remedy by Apple in the past in relation to a product sold to you by Apple or did not pursue a warranty claim because of representations made to you by Apple, please contact Apple ... and your claim will be assessed."
Finally, Apple has promised to retrain staff and provide consumers with more information about Australian consumer laws. It must keep a consumer rights page on its website for two years starting January 6 and stock ACCC brochures about consumer rights in all stores.
Apple was fined 900,000 euros in Italy for selling customers AppleCare without informing them that they had two years of warranty coverage as required by law in the country. Also, earlier this year, EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said the company was still not informing EU consumers correctly about their warranty rights.