Commerce Commission warns Apple for 'likely' misleading consumers

An Apple logo hangs above the entrance to the Apple store on 5th Avenue in the Manhattan borough of New York City, July 21, 2015. Apple Inc said it is experiencing some issues with its App Store, Apple Music, iTunes Store and some other services. The company did not provide details but said only some users were affected. Checks by Reuters on several Apple sites in Asia, Europe and North and South America all showed issues with the services. REUTERS/Mike Segar - RTX1L8LJ
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The Commerce Commission has given Apple a warning for "likely" misleading consumers about their rights, and telling them replacement products were new when they were not.

An investigation found Apple has made a number of likely breaches of the Fair Trading Act (FTA) in a number of ways, and the Commission has sent a warning letter to the tech giant.

During the investigation the Commission found "concerning instances" where Apple was telling consumers that products were only covered under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) for a period of two years.

The Commission said this is "misleading" as the CGA does not have a legally limited time frame, and this could deter customers who had legitimate claims about the quality of a product.

It also took issue with Apple telling customers it was not liable for third-party products sold on its website, telling customers to approach those manufacturers directly.  

The Commission said Apple is liable as a supplier to seek remedies for defective products and can't avoid this responsibility by deferring customers to manufacturers, and this is a likely breach of the FTA.

It identified conflicting information on Apple's website about the availability of repair facilities and replacement parts, and was not clear about whether these were available to customers.

The Commission found instances where Apple been advising customers that their replacement products were new, when they were in fact remanufactured products.

Apple has been advised to take immediate action if any of these practices are continuing and to seek legal advice about its obligations under the FTA.

The Commerce Commission says it won't be taking further action at this time, but said the warning letter could be used in court in any subsequent proceedings against Apple.

Only courts have the power to decide if a company has actually breached the FTA.

Newshub has contacted Apple for comment.

Newshub.