ACCC demands longer handset warranties

The consumer watchdog has demanded mobile phone firms offer free unlimited repairs to customers whose handsets break during fixed-term contracts.

The consumer watchdog has demanded mobile phone firms offer free unlimited repairs to customers whose handsets break during fixed-term contracts.

Some companies have tried to wriggle out of their duty to carry out free handset repairs, forcing customers to foot the bill, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said.

Chairman Graeme Samuel said mobile phone customers have every right to expect handsets to last the duration of their contracts.

He pointed to a recent agreement with Vodafone under which the telco offered a free retail handset warranty for the duration of its contracts.

The warranties only apply for 12 months for Apple phones on the Vodafone network regardless of contract length.

"The ACCC is currently in discussions with Telstra and Optus to bring these companies, their resellers and agents up to the line," Samuel said in a statement on Thursday.

"I am confident that these major suppliers will put their customers' interest first and step up.

"Consumers are increasingly reliant on their mobile phones to conduct their day to day lives.

"Companies must honour their agreements with consumers to the full and not attempt to dodge or whittle away their obligations."

There has been a lot of pressure recently on the telecommuncations industry to have better relations with its customers. The Australian Communications and Media Authority this week also announced an inquiry into the sector after large numbers of complaints were received by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.