HP Australia has been ordered to fork over AU$3 million for misleading consumers and retailers about their rights when it comes to what the vendor's product warranties are obliged to cover.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took HP to the Federal Court in late 2012, alleging that the company had violated the Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012 by making false claims about what customers can do when they buy a faulty HP product.
According to the ACCC, HP customer service representatives made a number of misleading claims, including telling consumers that products could only be replaced after being repaired multiple times by the vendor. Retailers were also led to believe that they would not be compensated if they replaced or refunded an HP product without authorisation from the vendor, the ACCC said.
Last month, HP accepted that it had indeed broken Australian Consumer Law with misleading claims, but the vendor questioned the extent of the damage done to consumers.
The court also made orders including declarations, injunctions, and orders for HP to pay the ACCC AU$200,000 in court costs.
HP now has to set up a customer redress process. Consumers who feel they have been misled by HP can contact the vendor directly.