ACCC Gives Mobile Reseller Rocket

M2 Telecommunications has been chastised by the ACCC over its warranties/refunds policy

M2 Telecommunications Pty Ltd, trading as Simply Mobiles, has been given a rocket by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for telling customers that any warranty claims they have are the responsibility of the manufacturers, not the reseller.

“The ACCC was concerned consumers may have been misled or deceived about their statutory warranty rights or the performance of their mobile phones by M2 Telecommunications,” says ACCC Chairman, Graeme Samuel. 

From June 2007 to February 2009 M2 Telecommunications said that it was not required to provide refunds and that mobile phone manufacturers were responsible for all warranty claims on mobile phones sold through the company’s Simply Mobiles website. 

“The ACCC was concerned that consumers may have been misled as express warranties offered by mobile phone manufacturers are in addition to, and not in the place of, the statutory rights available to consumers under the Trade Practices Act,” says Samuels. “Statutory rights entitle consumers to a refund from a retailer in particular situations and cannot be excluded.”

M2 Telecommunications also represented that:

  • The preconfigured software of a particular carrier on a mobile phone will not impact on a customer’s ability to use the phone on any other compatible Australian mobile network. The ACCC was concerned that the existence of preconfigured software does, or could have such, an impact in certain circumstances.

  • Particular phones sold through the Simply Mobiles website were compatible with all Australian 3G networks, whereas those mobile phones were not compatible with Telstra’s NextG network.

M2 Telecommunications has given the ACCC court enforceable undertakings that it will:  

  • Not make similar representations in the future .

  • Publish a corrective notice on its website and an information notice in a telecommunications industry journal that will inform the industry of its conduct and the ACCC’s concerns .

  • Offer a mobile phone or refund of the purchase price to consumers who are experiencing difficulties with preconfigured software or the performance or use of their mobile phone on Telstra’s NextG network (other than coverage issues caused by the network), where M2 Telecommunications is unable to satisfactorily resolve the consumer’s concerns, and
    maintain its existing trade practices law compliance program.

“The telecommunications industry is a major source of warranties and refunds complaints received by the ACCC each year,” says Samuel. “The ACCC has increasing concerns that many businesses are not aware of their obligations and are quick to equate a consumer’s rights with those provided in express or voluntary warranties offered by manufacturers rather than the statutory protections afforded by the Act.”

The ACCC says it was pleased with M2 Telecommunications’ offer to provide redress to those consumers who may have been misled by its conduct.

M2 Telecommunications can be contacted by email at [email protected]