Daily deal site 1-day.co.nz got it wrong when it told a customer they couldn’t send back a faulty tablet computer because it was out of warranty.

Consumer member Julie bought the tablet from 1-Day in January 2013. Just over a year later, the charger for the tablet started smoking when it was plugged in. Julie says the tablet still turned on but only briefly: “I was afraid to try to charge it again as I expected there would be more smoke and damage as a result.”

Julie contacted 1-Day and told the company what had happened. A customer service rep thanked Julie for the information but told her the 12-month warranty had expired and therefore “we will not be able to get the item back to assess”.

The customer services rep suggested Julie “take the item to your local electronics repairer for repair”.

Our consumer adviser Maggie Edwards says the information Julie was given by 1-Day was unhelpful at best and misleading at worst.

Maggie recommended Julie notify Energy Safety of the fault. She also advised her to write to 1-Day pointing out its responsibilities under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA).

“The CGA requires goods to be of acceptable quality. This includes being durable and safe. If your 13-month-old tablet is faulty, and you haven’t caused the fault, the retailer has an obligation to put things right,” Maggie says.

1-Day’s response to Julie this time was very different. The company apologised for the problems she had experienced and took back the tablet for assessment. Julie was later provided with a full refund. 1-Day told us a temporary staff member who doesn't usually handle warranty inquiries had given Julie incorrect advice when she initially got in touch. It said it was an "isolated" incident but is now “reviewing how we utilise our temporary staff resource to ensure their skills and knowledge are appropriate to the task required”.

Legal points

  • Companies risk breaching the Fair Trading Act if they mislead consumers about their legal rights.
  • Consumers’ rights don’t end when the manufacturer’s warranty does. If a company tries to tell you this, they’re wrong.
  • When a product has a minor fault, the CGA gives the company the option of repairing or replacing the item or providing a refund. But if the fault is substantial or can’t be fixed, you have the right to reject the product and choose either a replacement of the same type and similar value or a refund of the purchase price.