Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman: 2013 - 2014 Annual Report
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James' complaint

James for case study

James called us about a problem with a faulty handset.

What the consumer told us

James had taken out a contract that came with a brand new phone. The first time he used it he realised people on the other end of the line could not hear him because the phone’s microphone did not work.

He went to the provider’s store to show the fault and request a replacement. The store attendants acknowledged that the handset was faulty but told him they could only replace it with a refurbished handset. James wanted the handset to be replaced with another new one.

What the provider told us

The provider told us that the manufacturer’s policy was to give refurbished handsets as replacements. It argued that a refurbished handset was an appropriate replacement according to Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

What we did

We noted that under ACL, when a product is not of acceptable quality, a consumer can choose a replacement. The product must be of the same type and value as the returned one.

We pointed out to the provider that it would not be able to sell a refurbished handset for the same price as a brand new one. James was entitled to a new handset.

How the complaint was resolved

The provider replaced James’ faulty handset for a brand new one.