CHOICE membership

Dick Smith (Kogan) advertising

We noticed the below advertisement on the Sydney Morning Herald website for Anki Vector, the tiny companion robots that are a toy for the the house. If you click through to the ad, it highlights that it comes with ‘an additional manufacturer’s warranty’.

The only problem is that Anki has indicated that it is set to shut down, which means ongoing service and support might be in jeopardy, and there’s no mention of this at the point of sale. Do you think it is ethical to promote a product in this way? Share your thoughts below.

image

7 Likes

No, it’s not ethical. It’s arguably not legal - the link goes back to April 29 (nearly three months ago), this shouldn’t be ‘news’ to Dick/Kogan, and terms, conditions, warranties are critical information. If it were a stallholder at a local market, I could understand, but not a big player - they should know better and be on top of this kind of thing.

False advertising would be my view.

9 Likes

Is it additional or a standard manufacturer warranty. The Dick Smith (Kogan) webpage for Anki Vector indicates.

image

I would say not unethical, as the retailer has to honour the warranty (either manufacturer or implied under the Australian Consumer Law/ACL) in relation to products it sells. If the product fails, Dick Smith (Kogan) needs to provide a resolution to the customer…what a minute…maybe they won’t if history is a guide…

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Website

If Kogan does not plan to honour the warranty, their actions would be illegal under the ACL.

9 Likes

Is it ethical? No. Is it legal? Probably, and they would likely plead that they can’t keep up with all variations to the products they sell. The reality is that if they aren’t aware, then they are not running their business properly.

Given that the manufacturer is going out of business and there will NOT be a manufacturer to provide warranty, I would have expected that the product would be sold with this information clearly stated, and the price discounted significantly to compensate for this.

To me, this is a bit like a business continuing to trade when they know they are insolvent.

7 Likes

Good question, seems a little ambiguous, but if there is no longer a manufacturer in existence, then surely implying the manufacturer could/would/should honour anything is Kogan being ‘economical with the truth’ ?

5 Likes

Warranties are sometimes routinely honoured by a full refund of purchase price whether or not the manufacturer is in/out of business. That is the ‘repair’. If that is the case, and I don’t know if it is, is that shonky?

6 Likes

Very true @TheBBG.

As long as it meets 1 of the three for a minor fault ie repair, replacement or refund at the business’s choice it meets the ACL requirements…not shonky if the purchaser gets a refund or a repair but not a replacement. If a major fault then the consumer gets the choice of the three options, so if a manufacturer is out of business replacement could be very hard, repair might be possible, refund should be doable (from the retailer). With a major fault you could say the issue was shonky if the consumer doesn’t get a choice and only gets a refund. I think most consumers in a major fault scenario would be happy with a refund but not all would be.

6 Likes

Thanks for the comments everyone, very useful discussion so far. No doubt more to come on this.

3 Likes

I suppose it in some respects is no different to someone (a retailer) importing a container of a product (could be carpet, electronics, furnishing etc) and the retailer having no relationship with the manufacturer, other than ordering and paying for the shipment. In such cases, the retailer would take on the full responsibility for any defects under the ACL. The consumer wouldn’t have any option but to seek redress with the retailer as the manufacturer would be unknown (especially if the retailer rebadges their products with their own branding).

A few years ago I read about the shopping agents for Aldi in Asia. These shopping agents often went to liquidation sales to buy up all remaining stock from an manufacturer which couldn’t shift product and under financial pressure or was about to or had ceased trading. Aldi agents would get the products very cheaply and use them as some of their special buys (why often one special buy was quite different to another future one). I am not sure if this practice is still used by Aldi but assume that it is.

As this was a practice of one of the world’s larger retailers, any retailer selling products from a manufacturer which may have closed/become insolvent should not be an issue as there is a accepted precedence of a another major retailer. As long as any retailer honour any defect claims made by customer (under the ACL) because of a product fault, then there should be no issue.

It is also worth noting that a large number of other retailers in Australia also currently sell the Anki Vector, such as …

https://www.jbhifi.com.au/drones-robotics/anki/vector-robot-by-anki/329719/
https://www.harveynorman.com.au/anki-vector-robot.html

there are also more if one searches. It is worth noting that none of these retailers have indicated that the manufacturer may be ceasing production.

Has the manufacturer ceased production or going to cease production? I also question whether the product as ceased production or Anki has closed it operations, as they are still open for trade and selling the Anki Vector on their website…

I can’t see anything on the Anki website that indicates that they will be shutting down (either in company information or press/news releases).

Maybe the article in the original post was a marketing exercise to promote the product and increase sales? I recall what a few years ago SPC Ardrmona (before CCA’s purchase) also indicated that they were likely to close its operations due to cheap foreign imports resulting low sales. The media associated with this created a spike in sales for SPC Ardmona.

I wonder if the news article is ‘false news’ (which is interesting as it is on a website that suggests it was set up to combat fake news)?

5 Likes

Regardless of whether or not there is warranty you are taking a risk with Kogan. We had a problem with a TV and their “ help desk” should be re named “ desk of despair”. They specialise in passive resistance, I’m sure it’s all part of a master plan, can’t speak to anyone, no live chat only email. I will never buy from them again. Thank goodness I paid by Paypal or I don’t think I would have seen a refund.

8 Likes

That they do. A family member had a dodgy notebook PC from them and after 2 iterations of ‘repair’ that wasn’t repaired he listened to advice and went forth with very formal communications including citing the ACL, the details of the ‘repairs’ that were a runaround, and giving them 2 weeks to refund his money and provide him with a postpaid return label.

He got the refund and the return label. Those who do poorly dealing with Kogan and similar do poorly because they unwittingly allow themselves to be ‘in the game’ rather than ‘in charge’. Going formal, keeping records, and using the ACL should not be necessary but it often is. Sometimes the business could train their ‘customer service’ staff how to prolong resolutions until a credit card chargeback period expires as but one example, and the fewer tools the customer has left, the more likely the sale will remain in Kogan’s till.

6 Likes

Some consumer advice for anyone who is thinking about or has purchased an Anki Vector:

5 Likes

Yes, our money almost stayed in Kogans bank. The hoops that they made us jump through for six months was depressing for us. Part of the game for them I suspect. Kogan had us running around trying to fix it ourselves, sending us update links for firmware which required special USB stick. We tried but ultimately didn’t work. The question as to why they would sell a product that required an update to work was never answered by any of the dozen or so different email responders.
I could tell they were hoping I would drop it, but you have to be like a dog with a bone to that company.

6 Likes

I had an experience like this. I had downloaded a free Android game, with in-app purchases. It involved cards and other stuff. I would occasionally pay for credits in-game to get extra cards. Eventually, they switched to a premium app model, and turned off the servers for the free game - just stopped working suddenly. After some to-and-fro with their support, I gave up.

I successfully argued for a full refund of all my purchases over the previous six months, as there is a consumer expectation that the servers would continue to run. Google agreed, and gave me back a ton of in-app purchases.

Just saying, the consumer’s expectation of a product continuing to operate for a reasonable time, means that if they turn off servers, and the servers are essential to the product, you’re entitled to a full refund.

5 Likes

And now Kogan is getting into car sales.

What could possibly go wrong.

image

4 Likes

Comes complete with a money back …?
Well a Kogan credit, no cash, but you get K100 (Kogans).

Provide us with a genuine, written offer for your new car purchase or used car trade-in from a competitor or dealership, we’ll match it or give you a $100 Kogan.com credit.**

Given Kogans variable reputation for warranty and returns, and the oft commented on dodgy practices of some car dealerships, does it come in matching lemon yellow?

5 Likes