CHOICE membership

Consumer Rights, Compensation, Refunds & the Australian Consumer Law

I purchased a freestanding oven from a well known retailers clearance centre and on installation 26/04 they couldn’t get the oven to work. The installers were organised by the retailer and they contacted the retailer immediately after installation to report the problem, they were told to tell me I now have to wait for the manufacturer to contact me to organise a repairman to assess the problem and hopefully fix it.

The manufacturers repairer contacted me five days later with the earliest booking available in another 5 days, 10 days all up, to asses the problem with no guarantee it can be fix immediately, they may need more time to order parts.

Im not sure of my consumer rights. it’s confusing to say the least. Via the ACCC:-
You can ask for a replacement or refund if the problem with the product is major.
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 :white_check_mark:
it is unsafe
it is significantly different from the sample or description
it doesn’t do what the business said it would, or what you asked for and can’t easily be fixed.

The retailer said to me, I cannot request a refund nor a replacement and I have to wait to see if it can be fixed by the manufacturer and considered the time to wait is reasonable.

I personally do not want to keep a faulty product and would like a refund. Am I being unreasonable? And is the retailer lying to me?

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My son bought a Hoover washer from The Good Guys. The first time he used it (a week later) the touch panel pushed back into the cabinet. TGG asked for a photo and the next day he had a new washer delivered no hassles, which was his preferred outcome. That is how it should be working for you.

See the section on acceptable quality in this ACCC document.

Who is your retailer so we can be warned ?

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Thanks for your response, I’m writing a letter to the head of Harvey Norman Clearance Centre Bundall GC today outlining my Consumer Rights and request in writing a full refund or full replacement ( I haven’t decided yet) it’s a Bosch freestanding oven that received 77% on the choice buyers guide. I’ll be rethinking my manufacturer and retailer on the next purchase.

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Google “Harvey Norman Australian consumer law violations” for some history. The hits are a year or more old but HN do not seem to learn easily.

HN is a franchise business and the problem re the ACL seems to lie with particular franchisees. If I were having your problem I would address my letter of demand to the Bundall franchisee and cc HN corporate.

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Hi @agdv,

Sorry to hear about the trouble with the new oven. @TheBBG has already given you some good advice, so please let us know how you go.

In addition, I’d recommend letting Harvey Norman know that unless they can solve the issue for you, then you’ll be making a complaint to Fair Trading QLD. Sometimes this is enough to get a better outcome. Firm negotiation can often do wonders in these situations - good luck!

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Thank you, I’ve used the template complaint letter from the ACCC website, hopefully I will get a response soon, I’ll post the outcome.

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I have an LG front loading machine that developed a leak after only 3 weeks use. Despite the serviceman determining that it was a cracked outer bowl and covered by warranty, LG’s “Experts” have decided that no it was caused by a foreign object, which does not have to be found to void the warranty. The LG customer care department are a joke, they just read off a script and fob you off. How can 3 weeks be determined as the expected life of a $1500 machine.
They can also not explain how a bright and shiny inner drum was not damaged but somehow the foreign object travelled from inside the inner drum to between the inner and outer drums. We have now contacted the ACCC. But don’t buy LG.

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Welcome to the .community @Gabbymac

You may wait quite a while for the ACCC. They generally do not take up individual cases, and regardless your state fair trading agency is another appropriate place to lodge a complaint.

We on the forum have linked many references to related ACCC pages, and Choice has a guide of its own. You may be best served by reading the relevant links about your rights and sending LG a formal letter of complaint per the ACCC guidance and templates. Even if the ACCC responds to you that is what they will advise you to start with. If you need any pointers or guidance please post, but for now I will avoid reposting the advice - largely covered in the following:

Please let us know how you go.

PS, I moved your topic to this one as it seems germane. There are a number of others equally applicable if you use the forum search tool for ACCC, consumer rights, complaint template, and so on.

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Thanks this is the first time it has happened to me and I was unsure of where to go for the best result.

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Hi @Gabbymac the @TheBBG is correct. The ACCC will only refer you to your state consumer affairs authority. Before you contact them though, you will generally need to prove that mediation between yourself and the company has broken down. i.e you need to show you have written to LG and they have formally rejected your arguments in writing.

We have an LG front loading washing machine and it has been great. No issues at all so I’ll definitely look purchasing another LG product. That said this is not an unusual circumstance. The more unusual is when the manufacturer actually believes you. Below is an email I sent to Dyson recently:

Subject: [EXTERNAL EMAIL] Thank you

“Hi, I would like to thank you for your excellent customer service. Our Dyson battery on our cordless vacuum cleaner died recently within the warranty period. After describing the problem and answering a few troubleshooting questions, your representative immediately agreed the battery required replacement, with an additional 2 year warranty on the replacement battery. Within less than a week, the replacement battery arrived and we are now Dysoning away with no problems at all. It was fantastic to receive such a positive result. Normally I would expect to be on the phone arguing my case the battery was faulty for a least 1/2 hour with a 50% probability of getting a replacement without needing to escalate the issue. Well done and thank you for believing me! I’ll post this email on the Choice Community public forum as my thank you to you!”

@TheBBG with regard to your other unrelated post re the the number of posts in incorrectly categorised etc. etc. I alerted @BrendanMays to this issue very early in on when this forum was in it’s infancy to no avail. Good luck.

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This is #LG 's latest response. Even though as stated before the technician said we were not at fault. Lg have said even though there is not foreign object that is the cause. We are back at Harvey Norman again today.

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Sorry to hear LG is behaving as they have considering the tech report.

First advice for going to HN, write the letter per above ACL/ACCC guidelines and hand deliver it to the store manager. Let him read and respond but if he tries to fob you off remind him numerous HN franchises have been fined for misrepresenting consumer rights in a friendly manner. In the written page, clearly state the problem, reference LG claims on quality, the tech report, and exactly what you want and when you require a response by. The ACCC or Choice provided templates are similar and not too hard to use. Unless HN responds favourably make sure you get things in writing or take notes and ask the manager to initial he agrees with their content as you would need this as part of a formal complaint to fair trading.

Good luck, and we hope your next check-in will be good news.

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Is there a missing piece in this story?

It seems odd that the service technician did not locate any foreign object in the machine. Has he/she done the job thoroughly and fully observed all during disassembly?

For a very new purchase, the possibility of there being something left loose in the machine at the factory or since broken loose is a real possibility.

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Not having the foggiest idea of how an outer basket is attached to the frame I could also imagine a washer being omitted or something torqued incorrectly causing strain on the plastic causing failure under vibration during use. Not knowing anything about aspects of the break, that is an open issue, but a very rare event is a casting problem, usually evident on inspection.

A single extra washer in an engine pylon took down a DC-10 a few decades ago, not that a washing machine could ever be expected to need design or assembly to the same criteria, but.

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It is possible that objects can get in from the gap between the inner and outer drums. It could have been a long narrow object that fitted through and jammed between the inner and outer drum during a cycle resulting in the object being pushed through the outer drum.

The outer bowl is also likely to be plastic and not as strong as the inner bowl … the outer bowl is there to mainly hold water and not a wearing part per say. If it is plastic (like most washer of most brands), a object between the drums can easily penetrate the outer drum without showing any damage to the much stronger and often metal inner drum.

Also, the gap between the drums can be very small…to improve the water efficiency of the washer. The smaller the gap the less water needed for each cycle. The drive for water efficiency may have resulted in a very small gap meaning a very small object could cause the damage, and the same object may pass through the pump impellers to the sewer…without knowledge that it even existed.

What is interesting is they are relying on the expert opinion of the service technician that a foreign object which was inadvertently placed in the washer during normal use cased the damage. It appears that such may fall outside the Australian consumer Law especially of the user manual warns that small object need to be removed before loading.

An avenue to take may be would a reasonable person expect that a washer could handle minor objects left in pockets (coins etc) or being dislodged from garments (such as a bra under wire) would cause damage to the outer drum if the object ended up between the inner and outer drum. It could be argued that a reasonable person would expect such objects to occur in a wash from time to time and a washing machine should be designed with sufficient strength to handle such objects.

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Indeed. And if there was an object capable of damaging the outer basket would it be reasonable to expect the object at fault went through the crack never to be seen again? It depends on the crack being a hole, but the odds? It is pretty special when an on-site inspection by the serviceman is over-ridden by a remote ‘expert’ relying on what evidence we do not know.

But we are at arms length and the number of what ifs are many but at the end of the day a washing machine capable any object being able to exit the inner basket and break the outer basket and never to be found? It would reasonably be found under the machine per the leak, or in the ‘filter’, or assuming it is drained into a normal drain, in the respective trap, not go missing? It could happen, but.

It would be interesting for @Gabbymac to see the report the LG ‘expert’ based determination on.

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Update… still not joy from #LG however Harvey Norman Balgowlah have agreed to refund the machine and I look forward to getting my new Miele (metal inner and outer drum) machine today or tomorrow.
Thanks so much for all the advice I got her. kept me fighting!!! Cheers
Gabby

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Great news @Gabbymac. For our curiosity, did HN Balgowlah respond ‘customer friendly’ or did you have to go ‘all formal’ on them?

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Great news and upholding up your rights. Well done to Harvey Norman Balgowlah as well for meeting their ACL obligations.

Hopefully it also sends a message to LG to improve the quality/strength of future models they release to the market.

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I have a case of a cooktop that failed during the warranty period. It has been declared unrepairable and the model is no longer produced so it isn’t replaceable. I have been offered a “store credit” for its cost price. I have some questions.

  1. I thought I was entitled to a refund under these circumstances, my understanding is a store credit is only useable at that store and is not a refund.

  2. The whole process took six weeks after I claimed, half of which I could not use the cooktop at all and had to make do with other appliances as take away food is not possible.

  3. To avoid the cost of a new kitchen bench I am looking for a physical drop in replacement that requires minimal or no adjustment of the bench. Also I would like one that was as powerful as the failed model - hopefully longer lived. In addition the replacement needs to work with the previous wiring or it will be another $500 or more to rewire. Consequently the choice of replacement candidates are rather limited and so far look to be much more expensive, approximately double the price ie $3,000 instead of $1,500. Plus there is the cost of the electrician to do the swap over even if the current wiring is OK.

Am I entitled to any relief or compensation due to items 2) or any part of 3) in addition to the refund? How would I go about obtaining such?

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