CHOICE membership

Audioengine 3 year speaker warranty issues

Warranties are always a hot topic…opinions sought…
I bought some Audioengine speakers June 2019…approx $400. The first set died within a couple of days, so Umart cancelled the first order and I technically repurchased a new set…around 11 June 2019.
10 June 2020…speakers have died again. Luckily they have a 3 year manufacture warranty.
Umart advised they would be sent away and it would be a few weeks before they are back.

It’s been almost 4 weeks now…at what stage could I ask for a refund? And would that be an option?

My biggest concern is they break again and it’s another 4 weeks or so getting them fixed. Not only that, the manufacturer reserves the right to repair or replace with a “refurbished” unit. I didn’t sign up for a second hand item!

5 Likes

I wonder if this is to see what caused the fault, since it is a reoccurrence…it is possible that overvoltage or undervoltage could be one of many causes. If it is due to under/overvoltage it would be interesting if they deal with it as a warranty claim or deny the claim indicating that your local power network is the problem and to take it up with the network operator.

Impedence ir rating could also be caused by the wrong Amplifier match to speakers as well. Some amps are rated differently and not all speakers can be used on all amps. Have they asked details of your sound system setup?

Having same product fail consistently is an issue…but it may be worth asking Umart if yours is a one off or have they had issues with other speakers of the same make, model and batch. Looking online, tyere doesn’t seem to be a large number of posts indicating general issues with Audioengine speakers.

If the fault is determined to not be your making (or your local power network), then if it fails the third time you would be in your rights to ask for a refund. One could argue that there is something intrinsically wrong with the quality, design or manufacture which leads to ongoing faults.

3 Likes

There was no Amp in this case, the speakers were just directly connected to the TV, or used for music via Bluetooth.
I did ask Umart if they had many problems with these speakers and they said no…
My initial online research also came up with very positive results for Audioengine speakers.

2 Likes

This issue has come up a number of times, for example:

The bottom line is that it is within a business’ right to provide you a refurbished item if that is included in their terms and conditions, as long as it is like for like or better.

2 Likes

I disagree, they may use a refurbished item but they should inform the consumer that is what they are doing and then the consumer can make a decision on the way they want to go.

I can not see how a company or consumer can prove what they have received is like for like replacement when the item is refurbished. Just because they say it has been tested does not mean it is a like for like replacement. Just because they say it is so does not make it so. At what stage does the replacement become like for like instead of a new one, one day, month, year or one use or a thousand uses.

There are many laws that are flawed, Choice is a good place to discuss these issue’s, to point out things while legal that consumers should be made aware of them and you never know maybe even changes could be made.

A business does not have the right to do what they want to my property without my permission and if we have handed this right to them then we are in big trouble as consumers.

1 Like

As the Speakers have failed thus a major fault you can ask for a refund now as 4 weeks seems quite a long time for diagnosis of the issue, and as their usage is most likely a daily one again the timeframe does not seem reasonable. The choice for a major fault of refund, repair or replace is at the consumer’s choice not the retailers. ACL is very clear on this major fault point. If they later determine that it was abuse by the consumer that led to the fault the retailer is within their rights to ask for the money back.

Even if the fault is minor you are able to ask for a refund, repair or a replacement but the retailer has the choice of what they offer.

If you decide to let them repair the item they are able to use refurbished parts to repair the device/s but before they undertake the repair they must give you an advice that they may do so. This advice might already be incorporated in their notice/receipt for the goods. This question has been asked already oin this site re the KIA car parts that @phb has linked to.

Re the relevant sections of ACL

" Repair notices

Under the Australian Consumer Law, businesses accepting goods for repair must provide consumers with repair notices when:

  • the goods being repaired are capable of retaining user-generated data, for example, mobile phones, computers, portable music players and other similar electronic goods
  • it is the repairer’s practice to supply refurbished goods rather than repair defective goods, or to use refurbished parts in the repair of defective goods.

The consumer must receive the repair notice in writing before the goods are accepted by the business for repair."

"Repairs

If the problem with a product or service is minor, you must accept a free repair if the business offers you one.

If the business fails to give you a free repair within a reasonable time or cannot fix your problem, you can:

  • get it done elsewhere and pass on the costs to the business
  • ask for a replacement
  • ask for a refund
  • recover compensation for the drop in value below the price paid."

"Replacements and refunds

You can ask for a replacement or refund if the problem with the product is major.

Replaced products must be of an identical type to the product originally supplied. Refunds should be the same amount you have already paid, provided in the same form as your original payment.

The business may take into account how much time has passed since you bought the product considering the following factors:

  • type of product
  • how a consumer is likely to use the product
  • the length of time for which it is reasonable for the product to be used
  • the amount of use it could reasonably be expected to tolerate before the failure becomes noticeable.

For a major problem with services you can cancel the contract and obtain a refund or seek compensation for the drop in value of your services provided compared to the price paid.
What is a major problem?

A product or good has a major problem when:

  • it has a problem that would have stopped someone from buying it if they’d known about it
  • it is significantly different from the sample or description
  • it is substantially unfit for its common purpose and can’t easily be fixed within a reasonable time
  • it doesn’t do what you asked for and can’t easily be fixed within a reasonable time; or
  • it is unsafe."
2 Likes

This could be why they have sent the speakers away for testing to see what cased the repetitive fault with the speakers provided to you. It will be interesting to see what the outcome is.

As outlined above, if the speakers failed through something in your house…then they may not be covered by a warranty or consumer guarantee.

What was the nature of the fault with the speakers?

Was there a surge protector on the power cable?

Is there anything wrong with the TV…e.g. did you have old speakers plugged into the TV that also failed and why you bought the new ones?

2 Likes

I think most people who have an electronic device fail (even twice) would not be expected to fully investigate the fault as if it had occurred because of their behaviour or their house. What if the fault is a plant fault in that something has gone wrong at manufacturer level? It has failed in what many would consider normal household usage, the onus is on the retailer to prove otherwise. In the meantime the purchaser should pursue what outcome they wish. As a major fault the purchaser has the right to seek a refund as their choice and not to be supplied with a refurbished part if that is their desire. If later it is proved to be their fault the retailer can seek reimbursement.

A reasonable time as expressed in the ACL is somewhat arbitrary in nature and I would think 1 or 2 weeks is perhaps reasonable to determine the cause of failure and to repair/replace it. I took the 4 weeks period from the original post’s discussion for the timeframe of diagnosis/repair and seems quite lengthy to me.

One set failed within a few days and the replacement took about 12 months to fail, this would seem unlikely to be a fault in the house as one would expect the 2nd fault/failure to rear it’s head within a short period as experienced in the 1st instance if it was so severe as to cause failure in such a short time.

3 Likes

The nature of the speaker fault…I was watching TV one evening, using the speakers as normal. Went to bed…next morning…nothing! I might add, I don’t physically turn off the speakers, they automatically turn off if not used for a period of time.
Surge protector…yes, via a power board…and that is still ok.
TV is working fine…prior to this I had a Bose set used as my TV speakers…they lasted 15 years. The TV is not that old!!

3 Likes

I have emailed Umart asking for an update on my claim…and their response today…

“Your speakers are currently being tested with AudioEngines vendor and they will inform us if the speakers will be repaired or credited.”

It’s 4 weeks today since I returned the speakers… so do you think I’m still able to just ask for a refund…based on this time frame? That option wasn’t discussed /offered at the time I left them.

3 Likes

If it was an essential appliance (fridge, oven, TV etc) then yes, but since it it may he considered a ‘luxury’ item not critical to the function of something else (e.g. TV still produces sound but maybe not as good quality), maybe wait a little longer.

Alternatively and what I would do is reply to their email saying thanks for the update and indicating politely that you are starting to get concerned in relation to the delay and if you don’t receive information about its repairability in 2 weeks, you will be seeking a refund as you think it is a major fault under the ACL. This then sets the ball rolling in relation to getting it resolved and gives them a heads up to what you seek should it can’t be repaired or there is no progress in relation to the warranty claim.

By the way, did you plug the speakers into something else to see if they worked (phone, radio etc) to check that it wasn’t the TV AUX port that wasn’t faulty or had in intermittent fault?

2 Likes

If the speakers were hardwired to the TV you could have an impedance issue causing incompatibility . I’m pretty sure the Bose speakers are a different impedance to the Audioengines . Might be wrong but it seems strange 2 sets of speakers have died . Maybe check your TV .

4 Likes

@phb
Thanks for your suggestion re wording of email…I’ve sent them a polite version so they are aware of my intentions.

@vax2000 @phb
As for the testing of the speakers…they are also wireless/bluetooth and I would use them in conjunction with both my phone and also my Google Home device in bluetooth mode. They were tested with bluetooth, also tested with a lead from my phone to the speaker and then Umart tested them instore before sending them off. They were connecting via bluetooth, but no sound was evident.
I was quite relieved (in a way) when Umart confirmed my diagnosis, knowing that I wasn’t doing something wrong!

5 Likes

Send them a formal letter asking for either the speakers or a refund in say 7 days, send it either by email or by registered post so you have proof of it being sent… This would seem a reasonable time frame. You have already waited 4 weeks with no real updates as to an expected resolution.

CHOICE’s email template for a small device not a fridge etc, you will need to adjust it to reflect your problem.

https://www.choice.com.au/-/media/36cc0773f90e4deca10b556312bcf7c2.ashx?la=en

ACCC Template

3 Likes