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PB Tech fined $77,000 for warranty breaches

By Gavin Evans

Oct. 1 (BusinessDesk) - Computer retailer PB Technologies has been fined $77,000 for failing to inform consumers of their rights under extended warranties it sold.

During the eight months ended Nov. 30, 2017, the company sold more than 4,100 of its PB Care extended warranties without providing enough information for consumers to have an informed view of their worth.

The firm, which markets itself as the country’s biggest computer and IT retailer, pleaded guilty to 14 charges brought by the Commerce Commission.

The Auckland District Court judge sentencing PB Tech said a deterrent sentence was appropriate.

“There is a significant public interest in ensuring that warranties and policies of that nature, renowned for their exclusions and limitations, are fairly provided or that disclosure relating to those is fairly provided to customers so that they can make an informed decision in investing a significant sum of money in that product,” Judge Barney Thomas said.

The court heard PB Tech sold 4,154 of its PB Care warranties between May 11 and Nov. 30, 2017, from its 11 stores and online. It also sold AppleCare warranties on Apple products.

PB Care warranties were priced at up to 15 percent of the value of the good, depending on the length of the warranty. AppleCare warranty prices also varied depending on the product, with a two-year warranty for a $460 Apple iPad costing $129.56, the commission said.

Under the Fair Trading Act, retailers offering extended warranties should provide a comparison of the cover provided relative to that available under the Consumer Guarantees Act.

Customers should also receive written and verbal information about their right to cancel the warranty and receive a refund if they change their mind within five working days. They should also receive a written copy of the warranty at the time of purchase, the commission said.



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