The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has accepted a court enforceable undertaking from Virginia Surety Company, Inc (VSC) after engaging with participants in the extended warranty industry following a review of extended warranty selling practices.
“The ACCC has engaged with industry over concerns that certain marketing practices for extended warranties had the potential to mislead consumers about their true value beyond those rights and remedies already available to consumers under the Australian Consumer Law,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.
“VSC voluntarily negotiated this outcome with the ACCC as part of our industry wide engagement.”
VSC has undertaken to:
- engage with retailers to revise extended warranty brochures to include additional information to assist consumers in comparing the features of the extended warranty being sold with the existing remedies available under the ACL
- provide consumer law compliance training to VSC’s representatives and retailer staff
- develop and work with retailers, to implement a program for monitoring retailers’ extended warranty selling practices, including by mystery shopping, and if necessary take remedial action to improve those practices.
“VSC is the second underwriter in the industry to commit to these steps, following similar measures agreed with Lumley last December. These measures will improve extended warranty selling practices and allow consumers to make a more informed purchasing decision when offered an extended warranty.”
“The ACCC welcomes the approach of VSC and will continue to urge other industry participants to adopt similar measures to improve extended warranty selling practices. Misleading representations made by large retailers about extended warranties are a priority enforcement area for the ACCC. Where appropriate, the ACCC will take enforcement action to address concerns,” Ms Court said.
VSC is incorporated in the United States and registered in Australia as a foreign registered company. It underwrites and procures marketing and administration services for a range of extended warranty plans (some known as Product Protection Plans) sold to consumers by retailers of consumer electronics, domestic appliances and white goods.
More information about consumer rights and guarantees can be found at: Repair, replace, refund.
The undertaking is available on the public register: Virginia Surety Company, Inc
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