Consumer electronics manufacturer Belkin has admitted to selling lifetime warranty guarantees that were only valid for up to five years on a number of products.
The vendor has accepted a court-enforceable undertaking following an investigation by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission.
Belkin sold products between 2016 and 2017 that were supplied with "lifetime warranty" or limited lifetime warranty" with products like wireless routers, switches and cables.
However, Belkin only applied these policies for repairing or replacing within five years of the purchase date.
This limited time warranty was not disclosed on the products' packaging, and was only referred to on Belkin's website.
As part of the undertaking, Belkin will honour the lifetime warranty on products sold for the next three years and has agreed to not make lifetime warranty representations unless it is truly applicable to the lifetime of the product.
ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said Belkin acknowledged it may have breached Australian Consumer Law for misleading or deceptive conduct, and cooperated with the consumer watchdog during the investigation.
“Manufacturers must ensure consumers are not misled by warranty representations. If a business makes a lifetime warranty claim, they must be very clear about what this means with their customers,” she said.
Belkin also admitted that some of its products with lifetime warranties were likely non-compliant due to not including the correct wording that is required for use in any warranty against defects. The manufacturer has since undertaken to correct its packaging and website.
According to a spokesperson for the company, "Earlier this year, Belkin was made aware of concerns regarding how some of its warranty terms were communicated in Australia. In collaboration with the local consumer regulator, Belkin has undertaken to update its website and packaging to ensure that its express warranty terms are clearly communicated and meet all applicable requirements."
Earlier this year, online reseller MSY Technology was ordered to pay $750,000 in fines to the ACCC for a litany of offences, including imposing fees to customers for remedies to faulty products that were out of warranty.
The owner of online reseller Electronic Bazaar was sentenced to imprisonment for repeatedly misleading customers over their warranty rights after an investigation by the ACCC.
Story updated 20 December 11.30am with additional comment from Belkin