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Wednesday 23 November 2022

Big-spending stores accused of misleading customers

Who would have thought that nice, cuddly Gerry Harvey would mislead his customers?

Amazing, but true.

An investigation from from consumer advocate CHOICE ahead of this year’s Black Friday (ho hum) sales has found Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi and The Good Guys stores are misleading customers about their rights to a refund, replacement or repair.

CHOICE conducted a mystery shop of 80 Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi and The Good Guys stores across the country and found:

# 71% of stores provided misleading information on a consumer’s rights if their product broke beyond the warranty period.
# 91% tried to sell poor-value extended warranties that often don’t provide much more cover than you already have under the Australian Consumer Law.
# Stores argued "if it's over two years, you have to pay for the repairs yourself”, “After the manufacturer's warranty there's nothing we can do, it's out of our hands” and “If something happened after one year unfortunately it's at your own cost.”

Read the full story here:

All three brands are known for their big spending on advertising, so don't expect to read too much about this in the mainstream media.

“We were shocked by the results of our mystery shop of Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi and The Good Guys," says CHOICE editorial director Marg Rafferty.

"Consumer guarantees mean retailers must help customers if a product breaks within a reasonable period of time - even if the manufacturer’s warranty has expired.

“When we asked about consumer rights outside the manufacturer’s warranty period, stores tried to sell us extended warranties, which are not much more than a sneaky sales tactic designed to squeeze more money from concerned customers.

“Existing consumer rights provide all the protection you need against faulty products, so it’s incredibly disappointing to see these big retailers pushing poor-value extended warranties onto consumers during a cost of living crisis.”

While it is illegal for retailers to breach consumer guarantees, currently there are no fines for breaking this law.

“Without fines for doing the wrong thing, too many businesses are getting away with telling consumers they’ll be denied their right to a repair, replacement or refund when something goes wrong with a product or service,” says Rafferty.

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