I’m more an IP person than a contract person, but in teaching IT law, you do often come up against that question – just how far can warranties go in excluding corporate liability?

The SMH reports that the ACCC has taken legal action in the Federal Court against LG Electronics for telling customers who bought its mobile phones that it offered only a limited and voluntary one-year warranty. The commission alleges that LG has breached the Trade Practices Act by making false statements in its online mobile phone manuals.

Apparently, the manual tells consumers that the limited warranty “is in lieu of all other warranties, expressed or implied in terms of marketability or fitness for a particular use”, contrary to the statutory warranties in the Trade Practices Act. Under s 71 of the Act, goods supplied have to be of ‘merchantable quality’, and under s 68, Any term of a contract (including a term that is not set out in the contract but is incorporated in the contract by another term of the contract) that purports to exclude, restrict or modify or has the effect of excluding, restricting or modifying s 71 (or its sister provisions) is void. So, by saying that the warranty is more limited than that, LG would be engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct. If they’ve done that.

LG are apparently doing an internal investigation.

The ACCC press release is here.