Air conditioners sold in Australia are not fit for purpose

I was being facetious to some extent, but somehow I will get across that the “comfort” which I expected to be afforded with the purchase of this unit was not forthcoming…a lot of thee’s and thou’s but you get my drift…

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It will come down to fit for purpose. A fit for purpose air conditioner should provide ‘comfort’/enjoyment, one which isn’t, wont. Fit for purpose includes functionality, adequacy, works as described, suitable for employed conditions etc.

It should be relatively straightforward to demonstrate whether a product is fit for purpose…it will be difficult to demonstrate whether it provides ‘comfort’ as this is a subjective measure. A air conditioner which functions may not provide comfort, such as one under-designed or in a box oven type house where external heat inputs exceed the capability of the aircon. One persons comfort expectations may also be very different to another persons comfort.

I wouldn’t be arguing ‘comfort’, I would be arguing fit for purpose which includes having a aircon which works well and provides associated or expected enjoyment. A aircon not fit for purpose doesn’t provide any enjoyment or meet the intended purpose or function (or a reasonable person).


QCAT claim is being filed today. I got no response from Toshiba (AHIC Australia Pty Ltd) when I gave them a heads up. I am seeking a refund of the cost of the air conditioner installed plus costs of filing the claim.


Attention all who have weighed in on this topic over the last couple of years.

The ACCC (Office of Fair Trade) is in the process of liaising with Toshiba for a solution to our dilemma which is dealing with an air conditioner which is clearly not fit for purpose as it has had 3 PCBs fail in 4 years, rendering it a most unreliable system. I am asking for a refund in order to purchase a totally new system.

But I do not think the problem ends with me. If the ACCC, and the folks who have commented from the electronics team in this forum, have no teeth to force manufacturers to improve their design, or even rate their performance in terms of pest infiltration, the next thing to consider is lobbying the Government to make manufacturers cover damage in their warranties. If they are liable for repairing damage by geckos, they sure as hell will take steps to reduce the incidence of this “plague.” Until such time, they will do nothing because as I stated in the very first post, they make a lot of money either replacing PCBs for half the cost of a new air con or simply by selling new systems. My four-year-old system has not worked for at least half the time it has been installed. There is a 5 year warranty but I have had to enlist the help of the ACCC and QCAT to get them to repair the system at their cost. I am thinking class action lawsuit. How would I go about determining to what extent in Queensland (or Australia) the problem exists? Isn’t this where a “consumer watchdog” would come into play? I have thought about contacting the media, eg A Current Affair. A google search really doesn’t show anything like what they have in the US, ie radio programs that name and shame. I even had success through a radio program with a Department of Immigration matter, so the power of this kind of publicity is enormous. I also thought about starting a FB page seeking examples of people’s experience with damaged air conditioners. I realise I may seem like a dog with a bone, but honestly, I think it’s a fight worth having, even if ACCC has no teeth for bones. TIA


The Government may just say you have the ACL to rely on which does include compensation for damages caused by the failure of the service or goods. Perhaps your claims through QCAT should claim compensation for the additional costs incurred by the failure of the units? Time lost from work, travel expenses, and similar. ACL certainly provides for this, I don’t know how many avail themselves of the ability to claim further compensation.

I am not saying that this is right, I’m just outlining what I think the Government will respond with and why it may require stronger action (and a possible way) by those affected by the failures to get further action by manufacturers to address the issue. It is when the manufacturers hip pockets get savaged, that they will most likely address the problems.


Assume you have noted @Redlandsneen most recent post.

Did you get any useable feedback from the ACCC?

I don’t believe the AC industry can honestly say it is providing ‘fit for purpose’ products. Outdoor weatherproof solar PV and battery inverters have similar exposure. They are properly constructed and prevent gecko access. Split system AC units are not.

On my previous comments on accessing AC systems in chose reviews for IP ratings. The intent was not to have Choice make the technical assessment. The request was for the reviews to determine whether the product supplied came with a manufacturers specification of IP rating or other steps to eliminate risk from gecko damage.

Whether a class action is the best way forward, is a Choice campaign and ‘Grand Shonky’ for the industry another option?


We have an arbitration date from QCAT at the end of April.

Has Choice given any consideration to lobbying for prohibition of critter infiltration from warranties? While it would be difficult or impossible to impact the design of products imported from overseas, I would think warranties would be within the purview of products provided by the Australian entities, whether retailers or joint ventures, eg Carrier-Toshiba. I will address the ACCC directly on this issue. I also need help in ideas for quantifying incidences of this problem. Perhaps a Facebook group asking people to join if they’ve gone through anything even similar to what we’ve gone through? Help!

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So Toshiba was a no-show for QCAT mediation today. My application will go directly to the Magistrate’s Court now. My contact at the ACCC/Office of Fair Trading characterised my issue of vermin damage to split system air conditioners as “small.” I told him that from this thread, it appeared to be a larger problem than he acknowledges. I need some real support here. Where do I go from here? He suggested writing to ACCC, not filing a complaint, which is what lead me to OFT, to try and get them to look at this. I want national attention brought to the fairness to consumers of explicitly excluding vermin damage from warranties. So far CHOICE has not come up with any ideas for moving this forward. TIA.


My QCAT hearing took place today. Evidently, it is completely acceptable for manufacturers to exclude damage by vermin (geckos) from their warranties. End of story. Toshiba, when forced by the QCAT Tribunal, the ACCC, and the Tribunal again, has come to the party in a certain sense - twice replacing the PCB at no cost to us (just in time and energy spent filing claims and complaints) and most recently offering to replace the unit, albeit the same design model which we contend is not fit for purpose. We opted for a cash settlement, in essence a “refund” after 4 years, which the Magistrate did not hesitate to tell me, I was not entitled to under Australian Consumer Law from the manufacturer. Refunds are usually paid by the vendor, in this case an independent air conditioner technician. Anyway, we will be installing a new air conditioner and looking for recommendations. The Magistrate intimated that we purchased the system with full knowledge of the aforementioned exclusion for gecko damage. Does anyone know of a brand that is not quite as strict or indeed has a reduced incidence of pest infiltration? TIA.


I’m a Queensland HVAC technician of 19 years and I’m not aware of any manufacturers that warrant vermin damage officially, however sometimes a technician will put it through out of the goodness of their heart.

We prefer Panasonic as they have a coating over the delicate components of the PCB’S. We also offer clients the option to spray all the boards with 4 coats of Action Corrosion HVAC spray to help further :+1:

Hope this helps!


If it’s not too much to ask, and you feel able to comment, it may assist all of is to understand.

How does the assessment of the failed component at the premise determine it is due to the presence of a gecko/s?

Looking at our solar PV inverter it has similar types of power electrics and circuit boards with advanced electronic control. It has been no problem for the manufacturer to fully enclose the power and control electrics and provide ingress protection suitable for outdoor installation exposed to rain, dust etc. What explanation do AC manufacturers provide for not providing that portion of the AC electrical equipment with a similar level of protection? EG IP5X might be a minimum compliance rating suitable.

In respect of @Redlandsneen hard earned success (well done) I’ve been sitting on a similar situation with a Fujitsu AC (first failure) for a unit just past 5 years old at the time. I purchased that brand because I knew they were reliable. We had 2 of their large split systems installed in 2001 in our then home in FNQ, aka gecko central. They were still going strong in 2015, along side several smaller box units in the bedrooms. A nearby neighbour who worked in the industry offered some pertinent opinions on brands. It will make for an interesting discussion given @Redlandsneen experience.

Hopefully someone can offer reliable advice to @Redlandsneen on the design attributes of the different brands and models. I’ve recently noted at least one make mention of coated PCB’s used in their products. At risk of causing an unexpected failure we’ve 4 x MHI split AC’s installed at our gecko frequented timber home. The 2 older units were installed in 2017.

If I had a choice today it would be for an outdoor unit with a sealed inverter and controller board similar in quality to our made in China Solar PV inverter.


Just out of curiousity, as Toshiba is a Japanese company, I wondered whether the air conditioners sold in Japan are any better protected against geckos. Perhaps not, if this article is anything to go by.


This thread (“Best Geko Proof Airconditioner”) at whirlpool may be worth following.


So the cash refund will not cover the cost of a new air con installed so I’m wondering if the split system unit is worth selling to someone who has access to wholesale PCBs who can use the system. It was actually a very efficient heating and cooling system WHEN it was working in terms of the area output etc. Feel free to research the model, Indoor unit RAS-24N3KV2 Series; Outdoor unit RAS-24N3AV2 Series. I prefer recycling whenever possible. TIA.

Hello. I can’t find your email of a few months ago. Can you please get in touch with me? Thanks.