Nespresso’s high-profile ad campaign starring Hollywood leading man George Clooney has made the coffee machine brand a household name. According to owner Nestle, sales continue to grow, contributing to a 19 percent increase in operating profit last year.

Hyped as “the ultimate coffee experience”, Nespresso machines come with a standard warranty that provides free repairs during the warranty period. But it’s the company’s $125 fee to fix faults after this warranty has expired that’s annoyed some customers.

Consumer member John McCormick contacted Nespresso when his machine stopped working earlier this year. He asked for the machine, which was about two and a half years old, to be repaired under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA). But a Nespresso rep told him the 24-month warranty had ended and he’d have to pay $125 if he wanted the company to fix the machine. The rep also told him if repairs weren’t possible, it would refund the fee as “a goodwill gesture and arrange for your machine to be recycled or returned to you, depending on your instructions”.

After contacting our consumer advisory service to check his rights, John went back to Nespresso and successfully argued for the machine to be repaired free of charge.

Other members have also complained after being told they’d have to pay a repair fee if their machine was out of warranty. Consumer adviser Maggie Edwards believes the information given by Nespresso’s reps risks misleading customers about their CGA rights.

“The Act requires goods to be durable. Based on our appliance reliability reports, we’d expect an espresso machine to last about five years. If it fails after 24 months, and you haven’t caused the fault, then you’d have the basis for a CGA claim,” she says.

If you buy a machine direct from Nespresso, it has obligations as a retailer to repair the product, replace it or provide a refund, Maggie says. The manufacturer also has obligations under the Act to provide compensation when goods aren’t of acceptable quality.

Nespresso told us the life expectancy of its coffee machines is subject to a “variety of factors” including usage, care and maintenance. If a claim is made under the CGA, the company said “we evaluate the machine and the nature of the repair on a case-by-case basis”.

Legal points

Your CGA rights are in addition to any manufacturer’s warranty and don’t end just because the warranty does.

When a product isn’t of acceptable quality, you’re entitled to ask the retailer to put things right. If a problem is minor, the retailer can repair the product, replace it or give you a refund. If the problem is major, it’s up to you whether you opt for a refund or replacement.

You also have the right to take your claim against the manufacturer. You can claim compensation for the loss in value of a product resulting from its failure.