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An Australian online retailer of computers, software and electronic goods has had its knuckles rapped by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission over breaches of the Trade Practices Act relating to warranties.

The trader is Esel Pty Ltd, which has been trading as Mwave. The ACCC said it had breached the Act by giving misleading and false information about consumers’ rights in its warranty and returns policy.

The ACCC said it was concerned about statements to the effect that:

 Mwave does not provide any warranty and consumers must deal directly with the manufacturer;

 Warranties arising from statute do not apply; and

 The consumer is required to pay any shipping costs incurred in returning faulty good to Mwave.

According to the ACCC, if it is necessary to return faulty goods to the place of purchase, the seller should pay the freight costs.

Mwave admitted its warranties and returns policy contained false and misleading statements about consumers’ statutory warranty rights. It has amended its warranties and returns policy and will place notices on its Web site explaining its conduct, ACCC says.

Said ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel: “Online traders should be aware that the ACCC reviews sites regularly and will consider action where remedial work is not quickly undertaken. Consumers have the same rights online as if they were to walk into a store. Basically, they can expect that a product would have a level of quality and performance that would be reasonable to expect, do what it is meant to do and match its description.”

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