The class action - lodged with the Victorian Supreme Court last Friday - is the first of its kind and alleges JB Hi-Fi’s extended warranties were of little or no value because customers already had the same rights for free under the Australian Consumer Law.
Consumer advocate Choice has long warned that extended warranties are worthless, but in a 2023 survey found 32 per cent of consumers had bought them at one time or another, often after being pressured by aggressive sales techniques.
The JB Hi-Fi Class Action relates to extended warranties JB Hi-Fi offers customers when they buy goods including consumer electronics, home appliances and home entertainment products. The extended warranties have been called Extended Care Plans or Extra Care Plans at different times.
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers Principal Miranda Nagy said the class action would seek refunds for consumers who bought the expensive policies.
“These warranties are in most cases little more than a junk add-on to consumers’ purchase of the household goods they actually want,” Ms Nagy said.
“JB’s extended warranties expire just 3-6 years after purchase, but they add substantially to the cost. Our case alleges they added nothing meaningful to the strong rights for repair, replacement or refund under the Australian Consumer Law rights that consumers already enjoy.”
The class action alleges that JB Hi-Fi used misleading or deceptive conduct or unconscionable conduct in selling the extended warranties, including by telling customers either directly or by implying, that the extended warranties:
JB Hi-Fi also failed to give customers important information about their rights under the Australian Consumer Law, which they needed to make a properly informed decision about whether to buy an extended warranty.
The class action also alleges that JB Hi-Fi’s customers bought the extended warranties on the basis of a mistake about their value.
Compensation is claimed for everyone who bought an extended warranty from JB Hi-Fi between 1 January 2011 and 8 December 2023.
Consumers do not need to sign up to the class action as they are automatically part of the group if they purchased an extended warranty in that time.
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