Consumer Law Ignored

I keep hearing and give others advice that you don’t need extended warranties as under Australian consumer law the goods must be serviced for the reasonable life of thew product, not just the nominated period of the warranty. However when my Smeg Dishwasher failed and I rang for service I was told bluntly that I would have to pay as it was out of the two year warranty period. I mentioned the consumer law and was told “well it depends on what you consider the reasonable life of the product”. Clearly to Smeg 2 years is all a $1,300 dishwasher is good for. When I asked for this to be taken higher I was told that they would pay for parts but I would have to pay for the service. So Australian consumer law applies to parts not service here! Since the only remedy I have in law would be costly I am starting to wonder if the extended waranty is needed after all!!!


Determining a ‘reasonable life’ of a particular product has been one of the problems with the Australian Consumer Law that CHOICE has campaigned against. Have you spoken to your local fair trading or the ACCC? If you are a CHOICE member, we may also be able to assist through our CHOICE Help service.

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Thanks - As far as I know the ACCC doesn’t handle individual complaints so my only legal option would be VCAT but I’m guessing there would be application fees etc to do that. I have approached CHOICE HELP who have assisted me in the past am am just wiating to hear back.

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I have found that merely complaining is not as effective as following the letter, chapter, and verse of the ACL, including your evidence, advertising claims, and sending a receipted formal letter of demand.

Another oven manufacturer fobbed me off as out of warranty. After formalising the complaint, citing their advertising claims, and making a demand they replaced almost every internal component in my oven.

You should have a go. Start with SMEGs advertising claims about quality and dissect their response from there.


True in a sense. ACCC will take individual reports and you might get some action out of the report.

Here’s what they say they will and wont do:

You mentioned VCAT so guessing you are in Victoria - Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) are another option:

Under “Contact” on the above link you can file enquiries and complaints online or via word document/hard-copy.

I have had good experience with ACCC, CAV and VCAT. With ACCC I alerted them to a dashmat I had bought and was refused a refund - claimed it was airbag compatible but had no cutout/weakened patch. ACCC forced the distributor to do a recall Australia wide and mine was thus recalled so I got my refund. I’ve taken two removalists to CAV and they paid up for negligent damages - to suggest I needed separate insurance to cover me against them not doing their job properly was a red rag to a bull. VCAT were very helpful in another instance of a tenant damaging my house - to the tune of a few thousand dollars. You will sometimes be referred from one to another, and in the case of an ombudsman some strange rules apply at times.

Two years lifetime for a Smeg they reckon? :slight_smile: As an aside, I bought a 450$ Dishlex, essentially bottom of the range with a rotary dial, because based on the Choice review and the fact it was cheap it suited my expectations - namely that it probably would only last 2-3 years because I live in an area where the Calcium and Magnesium levels are huge and anything that uses water disappears under a layer of SCALE in no time (makes Adelaide water seem soft). My view on that is very location specific though - down south this is a very different story and during my time in Victoria I thought the water quality was excellent and never noticed any significant scale or debris buildup in the dishwasher or washing machine. There my hope would be for 10 years and I feel you could reasonably expect 5 to 8 years from an appliance like that - just my opinion though.

Keen to watch how this unfolds …


Thanks for your comments and help on this. I’ll wait until I talk to Choice as I’m prety sure a phone call form them might motivate SMEG. If not I’l take it further. What amazes me is that in the past I’ve only had to mention the three magic words Australian Consumer Law and companies Immediately forget about the out of warranty scam and apologize. This is the first time I’ve met with outright rejection except aht theirt offer to pay for parts is an attempt to recognize the law but buy me off with a token acceptance of it.

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Are there any clear statements/links to the “lifetime” warranty on Australian purchased products?

I’m curious not only as a consumer but as an employee of a company that sell products with an understandably finite warranty period.

I personally understand expecting a washing machine or oven worth thousands of dollars to last at least 5-10 years before any gremlins appear, but by the same token if I buy a second hand car (even for many thousands) I wouldn’t reasonably expect smooth sailing with it for the next several years.

Our company sells (along other things) rubber exercise balls, and while these balls have a 1-2 year warranty we regularly have people trying to return balls they’ve successfully used for 5-10 years

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