This is despite repeated promises to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).Thinking of buying an iPhone in 2011? Well maybe think twice if you want to buy it from the likes of Vodafone, or Telstra for that matter.
The telco’s are still refusing to follow the Optus lead and give 24 month warranties on Apple handsets sold despite undertakings to change policies.
In 2010, both Vodafone and Telstra were investigated by the competition authority, the ACCC, and pledged to give extended warranties for all phone’s sold but excluded Apple handsets, according to a report on current.com.
Many of the phones sold by these carriers are subject to a 24 month line rental contract, which means that if an iPhone breaks during the contract lifetime, the consumer could be left without a handset, whilst still being obliged to pay contractual charges.
However, Vodafone maintain that “most customers who visit our Service Centres will walk away with either a repaired or refurbished handset of the same model within an hour.”
“We’re raising the standard of handset service that our customers can expect,” they said in a statement.
However, these ‘Service Centres’ are confined to the main cities of Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane, meaning iPhone owners in trouble in regional locations are left out in the cold.
Telstra were unavailable for comment when contacted by Smarthouse.
Vodafone are also appear sketchy about honouring other warranties on other products. One Vodafone customer I spoke to, who bought a USB modem for $49 and which broke five months later, was refused a free replacement and forced to fork out for a new one.
This was in spite of the fact the product was under warranty.
“Just because the manufacturer’s warranty period is up, it does not mean that consumers can be hung out to dry if they are left with a faulty product and ongoing service contract,” said Chairman of the ACCC, Graham Samuel in October.
“In November 2010, Optus extended its handset warranty program to 24 months covering all current Optus Post-Paid Mobile handsets, including the Apple iPhone 4,” said a spokesman.
“Optus always strives to provide customers with the best products and services, and we will continue to improve our customer processes to provide the best experience possible.”
The Australian Consumer Law which came into effect 1 January this year strengthens consumer rights in the grey area of contract terms and now allows the ACCC’s powers. prohibition terms the watchdog deem unfair.
“Retailers take note – you cannot wipe your hands clean of a faulty product just because the manufacturer’s warranty period has ended, particularly when your product is supplied in conjunction with a lock-in contract that is longer than the manufacturer’s warranty period,” Samuel said.
Vodafone are also under
investigation by the Privacy Commissioner for alleged privacy breaches of customers details meaning the mobile giant could face
a litigation bill to the tune of $4m bill.