CHOICE membership

Have you been offered an extended warranty?

I was recently told a concerning story about Harvey Norman’s extended warranty sales practices.

A person received an email from Harvey Norman, offering a discounted Dyson cordless vacuum cleaner at a great price: $299. They called the store and ordered the product over the phone. When they went in to the store to pick it up, the salesperson rang it up on the till for $336. When they questioned the price disparity, the salesperson said they’d added an extended warranty - the customer had to ask for it to be removed, and eventually paid the advertised price of $299.

While in the store, they noticed a number of products with price tags displaying in large, bold font a low price, and in smaller font beneath, a higher price. They thought the price tags were showing a discount from an original price, but on a closer look the higher price was actually the price plus an extended warranty.

Adding extended warranties to a customer’s purchase without telling them, or using them to make products appear discounted when they aren’t, looks dodgy to me.

I’m interested in whether this conduct is widespread - have any Community members had Harvey Norman try to sell them an extended warranty? Or have you noticed these potentially misleading ‘discounted’ price signs in your local Harveys?

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Often. It used to be ‘usual’ and probably still is, since it is more of your money in their bank. As most readers are aware, Australian consumer law is sufficient protection.

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Anyone from our @CHOICE-Member group able to help out Sarah from our campaigns team with extended warranty stories?

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That should be the case, but reality is less clear. Because of the imprecision in the ACL (eg. what is a reasonable product life and so on) it can take an inordinate amount of time, effort, and potentially ‘customer down’ for resolution. In the end game of the ACL when a company refuses to honour their obligations it concludes with the customer having to go to xCAT for resolution.

Extended warranties can provide surety on getting resolution and depending on the cost some consumers will prefer that certainty with clear boundaries.

I have had excellent outcomes using the ACL, but sometimes because of how those experiences went prior to resolution I still find an extended warranty attractive for certain products at certain price points.

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These labels were on a lot of products all around my local store this morning. Label size is approximately A4 - I could read all but the fine print at the very bottom without my glasses - fine print seems to relate to the payment options terms …

Now I’m no fan of Harvey Norman as anyone who has read some of my posts will know, and I certainly have no connection with them other than being a past customer (and hopefully not a future customer), but the only really misleading thing I felt was no indication of how good the sale price was. ‘SALE’ to me implies I am getting a better deal than normal.

I feel the product care price and the payment options prices down the bottom are reasonable and fairly obvious.

In the case of the first product, the LG687L - a 10 year parts warranty might well offset a decision to take up product care, but you’d need to understand the conditions fairly well, especially in remote areas …

Sorry the photos are a little fuzzy - phone camera has been customised by a set of keys. Blanking out at the bottom is of the store and docket code, by me.

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Thanks for sharing these!

’SALE’ to me implies I am getting a better deal than normal.

I agree, and I think that’s where these signs may be getting close to overstepping the line - using the very large, prominent ‘SALE’ text with one higher price and one lower price makes it look at a glance like the higher price is the original, non-sale price. Instead, in these cases, the higher price is the ‘sale’ price plus an extended warranty.

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After well over a month, our U-Beaut top-of-the-range Bosch washing machine is finally back in action after failing on Sunday 14.07.2019.

It is 4.5 years old and we took the Dodgy Bros extended warranty when we bought it from The Good Guys so I called the number on Monday which to my surprise was answered as The Goog Guys, and I was provided with a reference number for the local repairer who I was told would contact me within 48 hours.

When I had heard nothing by Wednesday, 17.07.2019, I tried calling the repairer only to get a recorded message saying that they were either away from the phone or busy, and when I rang for the fourth time, I happened to notice that they had 11 Google Reviews on the right hand panel from when I did a Google search for their phone number.

After ignoring the four 5 star reviews, 3 of which had only ever provided a review for this business, and the other who had only provided 1 star reviews for any other businesses, I concentrated on the six 1 star and the one 2 star reviews.

“Took 5 weeks to fix a simple seal. Had very very poor communication and tried to charge me for warranty when they should not.”

“Do not do business with XXXX XXXXXXXXXX. They have now moved to Woree. The receptionist XXXXX is extremely rude from the moment she picked up the phone. They charged me $132 to book a technician to come have a look at a water leak in my fridge.
He walked in and then turned around and walked out saying they can’t fix it cause it’s too old and I lost the money and no effort was put into fixing the fridge. I complain but they have taken the payment and don’t want anything to do with me.
Maybe I should open a business to compete with them. I’ll go to people’s places, say I can’t fix it and get $132 dollars. I’ll do that 5 times a day Mon-Fri and I’m set.
Very un-Australian!”

“DONT USE THEM! I had someone come out to check a dishwasher. Be warned, they take your credit card details before they come out. i know i expected the call out charge ($132) but what i wasnt expecting was an invoice that included a charge of $97.90 for a motor capacitor when i know for a fact a 3uF capacitor would top $20 at the most. When i phoned to ask exactly what was put in by the technician i was given the run around that no one was available to answer that technical question and that was the price take it or leave it. She even suggested that they come back and remove the part if i didnt like it and insinuated it was my fault for not getting a quote first, even by her own admission the technician that attended would not have known the price either. Maybe i should have, but im no stranger to motors and when he brought a new capacitor back from his van i just presumed, oh! Well! just another $10 or $15 buck ontop, no problem. Their customer service is a joke.”

“These people are the worst, could not even get past the rude receptionist when try to book in . Don’t ever use these clowns.”

“DO NOT USE”

I called the warranty company back and told them that I refused to use this repairer and I stated I wanted another repairer.

The next morning, the repairer finally rang to say they were to do the repair to which I advised that I had asked for a different repairer.

The warranty company rang later that day to claim that they had no other repairer available in the Cairns area, to which I advised that I would not accept that and I would give them some social media feedback from hell.

Unbeknown to me, they had contacted a long-established local repair company late that afternoon to authorise the work, but sent me a text message about it late the next day which was a public holiday.

They sent their best Bosch technician who found that the main PCB had failed which they ordered only to find it would still not operate to which Bosch advised the technician the main PCB must have caused the other PCB to fail.

They obtained the second PCB and now we have a working washing machine once more.

So the takeaway message is to always check customer reviews and do not take no for an answer.

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