Random rants

My Laptop & the Consumers Guarantees Act

, posted: 15-May-2007 20:26

Short version: (quick summary)

- Laptop died aprox 5 months ago
- I thought it was out of warranty (15mo old at time) so took to a local pc shop to fix
- They took 2 months and could not fix, determined the motherboard was the problem
- I then realised I had extended warranty
- Told to take laptop to Wellington pc repair company Datacom by warranty folk
- They took 2 months and still had not fixed it.
- Datacom wasted time doing work already done by other pc repair shop, and had printout of that work
- Datacom ordered and installed a new hard drive, when not the problem, wasting time
- Datacom finally ordered and installed new motherboard a month after recieving laptop
- Datacom then gave back laptop and said all fixed
- When got back, many components still did not work, and took back to Datacom
- Datacom reinstalled the OS and said all fixed
- When got back, keyboard among other things still not work, and took back to Datacom
- Datacom said new motherboard DOA, and had to get another under a different system
- Rung Datacom for update, and told they getting nowhere, cant figure out how to get replacement
- I took back laptop, and have written a letter and going to hand that with laptop back to Noel Leeming.

Long Version: (full details, in depth)

I'm at my wits end.

My laptop has been out of action for aprox 5 months now, being repaired, and is no better now than it was when it first broke down.

So I have decided to return my Toshiba M40 laptop to Noel Leeming, and demand a full refund under the Consumers Guarantees Act.

I have also decided to post the problems I'm going through and the results I get, to let you all know how I have dealt with this problem (or tried too) and the end result of such action...for those who may be in simular situations...

So heres my story:

Many months ago, my laptop died. Completely unusable.
So I looked to have it fixed.

Thinking it was out of warranty, being aprox 15 months old (12mo manufacturer warranty) I took it to a local PC repair shop to fix at my own cost...

2 months and $100 repair charge later, they could not fix....
The shop gave me a report saying they had disconnected every part, tested the ram, hard drive and cpu....
The only thing left...was the motherboard.


They quoted $1000 all up...and I said thanks..but no thanks.

So thinking I was going to tackle Toshiba head on for a replacement, I set about getting the exact date I brought it, to find out I purchased an additional 5 year warranty with it....wicked!

So I called the warranty people, and they sent me to Datacom in wellington for the repair job.

Now nearly 2 months later (yet again) they have made no, if little progress....but not because of being slow...but because of extremely poor service and workmanship.

After the first month, Datacom finally put an order in for a motherboard.
Now I gave them the report from the previous PC repair shop...stating they had tested the hard drive, and ascertained the motherboard was the source of the problem.

Yet Datacom choice to ignore this and thought it was the hard drive causing the problem, ordered in a new hard drive.....and low and behold....it did not fix the problem.

Now in my mind, Datacom were trying their best to fix the problem as cheaply as possible (the motherboard being the most expensive component) and all they did is waste a whole month.

So Datacom then finally ordered in a new motherboard. They put it in and call me to say...'All fixed'

I pick up my laptop, and find problems that very day....
Networking is not working?....hmmmm.....

So I take it back to Datacom, and after looking at the laptop and running some tests, they tell me heaps of components aren't working....after more testing, they tell me the Operating System wasn't installed properly and that was causing the faults...they have reinstalled the operating system and the laptop is all good now.


Now, a professional would have checked their work.
They obviously chucked in the new motherboard, and did no tests to make sure it was working as it should...otherwise they would have picked up something as obvious as the Ethernet card not working.

Very poor workmanship.

So I get the laptop back, all working now, operating system reinstalled etc etc....
And I notice a funny thing....
The keyboard aint working like it should.

Pressing certain keys does things they are not meant to...(eg. pressing the Z key turns on the caps lock)

Thinking this was me, I had done something, I tried everything to fix it...and in the end, reformatted and reinstalled the operating system...

But it still happens...even during the install...??????

So once again I take the laptop back to Datacom.

And after some tests, they tell me the new motherboard is DOA

Now once again, they have not checked their work.

So after telling me its DOA, they now have to get another motherboard, but because this one is DOA from Toshiba and not covered under the warranty...its a whole different process getting a replacement.

I call Datacom several times over the next week for progress reports, to be finally told:
They are making no progress at all.
They are playing phone tag, and cannot find anyone who can help them with a replacement, or help them with the procedure of dealing with DOA components.

So after almost 2 months with Datacom and still my laptop not being fixed, I've had enough.
Add the 2 months with the other repair shop at my own cost, and the repeated service failures, and I have justified grounds for demanding a refund under the Consumers Guarantees Act.

Under the Consumers Guarantees Act, it states I can demand a full refund if:
1) It is not durable - it did not last for a reasonable length of time
2) If the trader takes more than a reasonable time to fix the problem, you can return the goods and ask for your money back.

Case closed.

Other related posts:
Motorola Nexus 6 Review
Nokia N900 - Initial Review
Kiwibank 'heaps'

Comment by rscole86, on 15-May-2007 22:16

Toshiba are normally pretty good when you go and approach them directly. Call them and explain the problem, they will almost always replace the laptop if it has the same fault each time it is sent away to be repaired.

If you call Toshiba, ask them for their Wellington office and ask them if you can drop the laptop in to them, tell them your problem and ask that they replace the laptop for a new one. Or ask that they credit Harvey Norman so that you can get a new laptop from them.

Obviously if you do this you will need to arrange it with the Harvey Norman store first.

Comment by rscole86, on 16-May-2007 08:25

It was obvioualy past my bedtime when I said it was Harvey Norman :p

Depending on how their extended warranties work, they normally do a repair first (which you have done), then they have the option of replacing it with the same or a similar model or offering you your cashback (less depreciation based on its age, market value and any money they have spent on getting it repaired.)

They generally work in that order, and any replacement that they will do will have a new manufacturers warranty, and the extended warranty will be voided, as you have had to use it to "purchase" the new laptop.

Comment by alasta, on 16-May-2007 08:27

The problem in this case is that the manufacturer's warranty has expired and the buyer is now depending on a retailer's extended warranty which is probably supported by a third party insurer. Therefore, Toshiba have no obligation to come to the party here although they may be sympathetic for the purpose of maintaining good customer relations.

Author's note by TheBartender, on 16-May-2007 12:11

While the laptop is out of the manufacturer's warranty, it was only about 3 months out (about 15 months old when problems arose)
So Toshiba do have an obligation under law, stated by the CGA

But I will try the retailer first.  

Either way, I'm going to give this a try...have too...not puttin up with a broken pc and poor service that takes forever.

I will see what Noel Leeming come back with....and if thats not satisfactory I will try Toshiba.

I wont be happy with anything less than full replacement...prefer full refund.

But I will give these company's a chance to put this right.

Comment by oyajipunk, on 16-May-2007 13:16

I agree, you are better going to Noel Leemings first. If they promised to fix or replace your computer under this extended warranty, then they are in breach of contract by not doing so.

If they don't come to the ball park, go to the commerce comission. It is not fair trading to say an item has extended warranty when in fact they have no intention of fixing it.

Threatening to do this will have more influence than threatening to use the consumer guarantees act, which retailers don't take seriously at all.

Comment by hellonearthisman, on 16-May-2007 18:46

Nice post, hope you get it sorted quickly. Looking forward to seeing how this is resolved.

Comment by rscole86, on 16-May-2007 21:51


If Noel Leeming are like most other retailers the extended is sold as an add-on service. This service is provided by an external company. They are the ones required to repair/replace/refund the notebook.

In regards to the FTA and CGA, the FTA may apply to the insurer but if you wish to fly the CGA flag then the retailer and Toshiba will take more interest.

They have not "promosied" to fix the laptop and then not gone and doen it, the have tried but have failed to get it repaired.

Retailers do take the CGA seriously and are more likely to help a consumer who does not threaten them. As soon as you start threatening people they go on the defensive and it could drag out to be a very very long process.

There may be a problem with the fact that the laptop was repaired by someone who may not be an authorised repair agent, which may delay the process if the original fault was not brought to Noel Leeming's or Toshiba's attention at the time/

Author's note by TheBartender, on 16-May-2007 23:44

The laptop was repaired in both cases both an authorised toshiba repairs service....

The pc repair shop I used to start with just sent the laptop of to an authorised Toshiba repair service centre...

Then the warranty people used Datacom, which to is an authorised Toshiba repair service.

The point about who to take the laptop back to is a good one...
As I have an extended warranty, which was taken out with another company.....do I take the laptop to them, or back to the retailer?

Comment by alasta, on 17-May-2007 07:18

It's my understanding that the retailer bears all responsibility under the CGA, which means that Toshiba is off the hook here.

Author's note by TheBartender, on 17-May-2007 09:22

Thats what I figured, hence I'm trying Noel Leeming first.

But I dont think that quite lets Toshiba 'off the hook'....

While maybe not required under law to replace/refund, it can be argued they have a moral obligation...at least to maintain good customer relations.

Only 15 months old at time of first major problem...
Only 3 months out of the 1 year manufacturer's warranty...
$3200 the latop purchase price

I dont think anybody expects spending $3200 for a laptop to only last 15 months is reasonable.

Comment by rscole86, on 17-May-2007 19:24

Toshiba is anything but off the hook. As the manufacturer they provide the warranty, and actually made the goods!

They are the ones who spend hours and hours of research, lots of money, to make a reliable product. Or not as teh case may be.

However as there are not always manufacturers in the town you live in, or reps, then people always go back to the retailer they got the goods from.

Toshiba still have an obligation under the CGA/FTA to make sure their laptops last for a reasonable amount of time, being a laptop a "reasonable" amount of time will be less than a desktop, but definitly not 15 months.

Noel Leeming are still the agent for that warranty company, so taking it back to them would be your best idea. However it may help your cause if you inform the extended warranty company what you are doing, as they may solve the problem for you without having to deal with Noel Leeming.

Comment by rscole86, on 17-May-2007 21:29

Toshiba are still accountable as they are the ones who made the product in the first place. The only reason manufacturers get away with it is that they do not have regional offices, sometimes they do not even have a presence within the country.

Which is why alot of people go straight to the retailer.

If you havnt already you should also inform the extended warranty company of what you are doing as they may be alot easier to deal with. As they have technically provided you with the warranty your fight should be with them and Toshiba, and if you get no luck with them, you can then go back to Noel Leeming and see what they can do for you.

AFAIK the CGA/FTA will still apply to all of them, however it will be more on the extended warranty people and Toshiba.

Comment by rscole86, on 4-Jun-2007 17:43

Do you have an update for us?

Author's note by TheBartender, on 12-Jul-2007 21:46


Boring response, but I got the laptop working properly again, no problems, so no longer needed to go through the process.

Even though I would have loved to have got a new replacement or money back, I was struggling to take it back to them as I use it so much, so am content with the fact its now working.

Comment by Sophan, on 1-Aug-2007 17:18

I'm having similar problems with my acer laptop. Datacom is the most useless people I know and they're really rude.

Acer has said the reasonable life of their laptops is only 1 year. So don't buy acer!

Comment by Emma Bennett, on 1-Nov-2007 15:08

Hey everyone

I'm a law lecturer, and have found reading this blog fascinating! NZers seem to be under a misconception that if your warranty is out of date, you have no rights as a consumer if something goes wrong. This is rubbish! Warranties, even extended ones, aren't worth a dime. Unless they offer you extra protection above and beyond the CGA (and I have NEVER seen one that does) you are entitled to take the goods back to the store you purchased them from (as long as you bought them for personal and not commercial use). If the good is minor, you are not entitled to a refund but you are entitled to get the goods repaired. The shop just do this in a reasonable period of time. If the fault is substantial, you can either choose a full refund, or compensation for the loss in value of the item purchased.

Comment by Thomas L, on 11-Nov-2007 00:48

Hi guys,

I work in IT retail, so I'll offer my 2 cents. You can argue all you want mate, but anybody who believes that the CGA provides awesome reasurances above and beyond warranties offered by retailers is simply > the CGA in a foolishly optimistic manner.

The provisions set out in the CGA are nebulous at best and any angle you try will simply get shut down by retailers or manufacturers. For example, the 'reasonable amount of time' durability clause can be countered with the argument that out of the 12 month warranty, it is 'reasonably' likely faults are your fault.

Past that, we get dozens of smartass customers who think that they are going to get people to fork hundreds and even thousands of dollars to repair/replace their goods by mentioning the CGA and making a big fuss. We see a hundred a day and honestly care little about customer's problems.

A laptop under $1000 as of November 2007 will not be expected to last or to work like it did when it was new past about 12 months. We get customers who buy cheap goods and expect great quality/performance - despite having been told about the obvious cost/benefit trade off.

In conclusion, do yourself a favour: Don't buy a $799 laptop and expect it to go like the clappers for 3 years because it won't. Spend $1500-2000 and get a decent machine. Ask the salesman what brands are reliable, and consider their advice carefully. Odds are the $799 will be an Acer (crap), not an HP or Apple Mac. It is always worth getting an extended warranty. They are often only 10%-15% of the cost but are definitely worth it when repairs for even minor faults on laptops run up to five or six hundred dollars.

Last and not least, don't be lead to believe that CGA will help you. The liability for faulty goods lies in a tangled mess between the consumer, the retailer, the manufacturer, the distributor, the outsourcing serice agent for the manufacturer and the warranty underwriter - That's 6 separate parties. The CGA doesn't set out which one must repair/replace your goods. And you can be sure that none of them will want to fork out for expensive repairs. You will get dicked around and not get anywhere. My guess is that the CGA was developed around the scenario of cut shoe laces on a $49 pair of shoes a week after you bought them - not on a $4599 MacBook Pro, 2 years after you bought it, after showing signs of mistreatment and showing major problems.

Anyway, to the author of this blog - good luck with your laptop bro!

Author's note by TheBartender, on 11-Nov-2007 21:20

Thomas L

Your comments are always welcome, but on this occasion I do not agree with your point of view...

Regardless of your expereinces dealing with customers who have used the CGA to try to solve thier issues, it does not mean that it is a useless piece of legislation, just you have not expereinced positive results as a result of using as such... 

Furthermore, it is well documented that extended warranties offered by retailers are virtually worthless in todays environment of cheaply made goods with lifespans of less than that of the warrantys, and are nothing more than pure profit for the retailers...

The fact you make a statement that you see many cases and 'care little about customer's problems' is truly disturbing and I am amazed your still in business with that attitude.

In my case, the laptop in question was $3500 at the time, no 'cheapie', so I rightly expect to get more than 1 years use out of it.

In closing, its not to say the CGA is the be-all-end-all, its just another option to try to rectify ones problems...in my case, I did have an extended warranty, but found the service provided from that far from proffessonal, hence me looking at the option of using the CGA to rectify my laptop problems...

In the end, it mattered not, because I managed to get the laptop working in the end, so the matter ended there.

Comment by Sam Matthews, on 29-Nov-2007 21:51

In reply to Emma Bennett's paragraph, i want to say that even though she is a law lecturer, she is living in a dream world with laws of her own or somebody who told her that its possible that way. If you buy a laptop and its 6 months old and something is wrong with the motherboard (major fault) or even the LCD screen(major fault) you CANNOT ask for a refund or compensation. If you have read the CGA, it clearly states that the Retailer gets the opportunity to send the unit to get serviced by the manufacturer even if it is a major fault. Even if a laptop is outside the 12 months, you cannot take anyone to court, simply because if the optical drive has stopped working, the reason a retailer or manufacturer has to tell small court is that optical drives dont go forever. The more DVD's you burn, the more DVD'S you watch, the more SCRATCHED DVD's you watch, optical drives life will become more and more less. RETAILER wins no matter what when it comes to laptop's if it its outside the warranty.

Comment by Andy, on 16-Feb-2008 18:54

I Had a toshiba M40 who's motherboard and hard drive died after 15 months also. I found someone who used to work for apple who said when they delt with people under the consumer guarantees act they usually were awarded parts and labour on repairs for the first year and parts on years 2-3 based on that being a reasonable lifetime for a laptop. I bought a new hard drive, cos toshiba quoted me a hugely inflated price (as if their computer failing catastrophically wasn't enough of a kick they want to make a profit out of me trying to get it repaired too) and told them to do the repairs on the mother board as I was going to start proceedings at the small claims under the consumer guarantees act. They then decided to cover the cost of the mother board and I paid $200 for the repairs. I now own an apple, and will never buy toshiba again. Hope this helps someone else. Andy

Comment by MrMcdoll, on 4-Apr-2008 18:37

This may be a pointless addition, but: I had my brother buy me a $2500 apple i-book in 2005. In january this year it died but i had the Noel-Leeming super-cover. I took it back to them, they sent it off for repairs and IUG (the insurance underwriters for supercover) turned around and initially told me that there was no point fixing it so i should be given store credit. I thought that'd be really awesome being that the warranty was almost up (in one month) however... Soon after this (the laptop had been away for two weeks by now) i was informed that i'd be given a store credit of $1760 as opposed to the $2500 i'd initially payed. meaning of course, that i'd never be able to replace my mac with the modern equivelant. I told them to just fix the bloody thing and be done with it (one month into it by now)so they re submitted a repair order and were this time told it could be done. Noel Leeming actually contacted me then and the lady in the Hamilton store said that she saw no point in having it repaired so close to the end of the warranty, and that i'd be better off with a full replacement. (5 and a half weeks!!) I was told the repairs were underway, i couldn't have a replacement. DEAL WITH IT (by a chick at IUG called Victoria) i rang the repairer directly who confirmed it'd be stupid to have it fixed and that he could send back the parts not a hitch. So did the lovely girl at Noel Leeming. Victoria ended up telling both of us that it was up to her and she said she wanted it fixed. its been 6 weeks and i'm still waiting! I bought it from NL but yet they have no authority to have the repair scrapped and a replacement issued? i commend Noel Leeming on their efforts, but at the end of the day insurance companies are just out to make a buck and grasp no concept of "customer care." Hope no one else has to go thru what i am!!

Comment by Jan Watts, on 17-Apr-2008 22:55

My son's experience with Noel Leemings was quite different. He bought a laptop 18 months ago, was $2400 on special for $1800, so not an el cheapo (although was an Acer). Good games machine, his friend also bought same model same day. Anyway my son's laptop was having intermittent faults - turning off mid-game. Took it back to NL after 6 months, they sent it away to be fixed. We rang weekly to check on progress, but the repair place couldn't find the fault. After 4 weeks NL said (before I asked) that it was an unacceptable time for the machine to be away and offered my son his full money back, which he took.

Comment by Donna Seales, on 9-Jun-2009 17:32

I have just had the most unbelievable day trying to get my fridge repaired through my extended warranty or so I thought. Bought from Noel leeming I was sold an extended warranty and thought I would have no trouble in getting my repair done but no.. I was fobbed off left right and centre. I tried two weeks ago and was told someone would contact me.. no one did. Emails that were supposed sent never arrived to appropriate people and was basically fobbed off all day today. Finally got some advice from local appliance store and ended up fixing prob myself. I feel mislead and ripped off

Comment by MjD, on 9-Sep-2009 21:24

I have a HP zd8001ap and a HP zd8002ap notebook. The 3D chip of the intergrated ATI X600 graphics card has failed on both machines. They were purchased for $3500 and $4500. The zd8002 started failing 6 months outside warranty and the zd8001 failed 3.5 years outside warranty. This fault is widely noted on the internet. I have contacted Noel Leeming and they are going to have the notebooks checked by their technicians (free of charge if it's a fault that would have been covered under warranty). I thought the CGA is worth a try. I expect these expensive laptops to last longer than 3.5 years past their warranty.

Comment by MjD, on 9-Sep-2009 21:26

I have a HP zd8001ap and a HP zd8002ap notebook. The 3D chip of the intergrated ATI X600 graphics card has failed on both machines. They were purchased for $3500 and $4500. The zd8002 started failing 6 months outside warranty and the zd8001 failed 3.5 years outside warranty. This fault is widely noted on the internet. I have contacted Noel Leeming and they are going to have the notebooks checked by their technicians (free of charge if it's a fault that would have been covered under warranty). I thought the CGA is worth a try. I expect these expensive laptops to last longer than 3.5 years past their warranty.

Comment by MjD, on 30-Sep-2009 13:00

"sorry for the double post above" Well, Noel Leeming had the notebook checked, and confirmed that a motherboard replacement of $1350 was required. HP were contacted and said they no longer stock parts for that model. HP said they can't do anything. (HP also said 4-5years is a resonable age for a notebook), so that was Noel Leemings point of view as well. I suggested that instead of a replacement motherboard (which aren't available) they could offer a discount on a new notebook. They were open to that suggestion, but just how much of a discount remains to be seen. I'm not sure if Noel Leeming actually understood their obligation under the CGA, (replacement or repair) but I'll drop it for now.

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euanandrews's profile

Euan Andrews
Lower Hutt
New Zealand

I'm a 32yo male, living and working in the Wellington region.

I currently work as a manager for Interislander, having worked in the Hospitality industry for about the last decade.

I have interests in computers, gadgets and information, and love to be 'in the know', hence I read vasts amount of information online, anything from tech news, gadgets to current events and history.

Being a movie buff and having an interest in computers, I setup a wiki about Home Theatre PC's, and have recently built my own HTPC.

I was also heavily involved with the setup and design of the NZ Connections Wiki, having been invited by Cokemaster to help, as a result of my extensive and ongoing interest in ISP's. 

NZ Connections Wiki
My profile (TheBartender)

Compaq Pressirio 5000
Case: Silverstone LC16M, CPU: Intel Quad Q9400 2.5GHz, Motherboard: abit IP35 Pro, PSU: Corsair 520HX, Optical Drive: Samsung SH-S203D DVD Writer, Graphics card: Leadtek WinFast PX8500 GT TDH HDMI, Hard drive: 2 x Western Digital Caviar GP WD7500AACS Hard Disk Drive, 750GB, 5400rpm, Wireless: D-Link DWA-547 Rangebooster N 650 Desktop, TV tuner: Blackgold BGT3540, Keyboard: Microsoft Remote Keyboard for Windows Media Center
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