The Federal Court has declared that LG Electronics Australia Pty Ltd had made false or misleading representations in several of its online mobile telephone user manuals, thus breaching the consumer protection provisions of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

The court found that LG made false or misleading representations about the existence and duration of statutory conditions and warranties implied by the Act and also about the rights and remedies that were available to mobile telephone owners/consumers.

The orders, handed down by consent, follow proceedings instituted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in December last year.

The orders require LG to:

  • refrain from making representations to similar effect in the future
  • implement an upgraded trade practices compliance program
  • arrange the publication of consumer notices on its website and in all major Australian newspapers
  • provide each of its mobile telephones retailers with a notice explaining the relevant provisions of the Act, and
  • pay the ACCC's costs.

The Trade Practices Act 1974, and relevant state-based fair trading laws, imply certain conditions and warranties into all consumer contracts. These include, for example, conditions that goods are of merchantable quality and are fit for the particular purpose(s) made known to the supplier. Such conditions and warranties cannot be excluded, restricted or modified and are in addition to any voluntary warranty that may be provided by the supplier.

"The ACCC will not hesitate to take action against businesses which mislead consumers about their statutory rights", ACCC Chairman, Mr Graeme Samuel, said. "Consumers can be tricked into thinking that they can't have a faulty item replaced, or get a refund, because the manufacturer's express warranty period has expired, when that may not be so".