27th July, 2015 · Policy Viewpoint

ACCC Cautions On Parallel Imports

2 minutes to read

The view of the AADA on the issue of parallel imports is well-documented and now the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has weighed in on the discussion, highlighting the significant risk for consumers surrounding this matter.
On the ACCC website on the page titled Buying Parallel Imports, it states that while parallel imports may be of benefit in the way of ‘lower prices and providing access to items which otherwise may not be available in Australia’ shoppers need to be aware of the complexities of such a process. Specifically, the ACCC says ‘you need to be able to identify when you are buying parallel imports and be aware of your rights when purchasing these products.’

As already highlighted by the AADA, along with other associations like the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), ACCC uncovers the lack of support and assistance consumers with faulty imported products may experience:
‘It may be more difficult to obtain a remedy if something goes wrong with a parallel import’, the website states.

Further to this, the ACCC reveals many potential warranty pitfalls that consumers should take heed of. For example, ‘if the product comes with a manufacturer’s warranty – that warranty may not apply in Australia.’

The ACCC also states that ‘although your products may carry a particular or popular brand name – if it is sold to you as a parallel import, the local manufacturer is not required to help you if the product develops a fault.’

And even more worrying for consumers: ‘You may not be able to get assistance such as product/technical support or repair/spare part facilities from the local manufacturer or their representative. For example, the software of your product may not be suited for the Australian market.’

The Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, the Hon Jamie Briggs MP has been a major player behind the drive to allow parallel importing for motor vehicles.

But even Mr Briggs himself has warned about things going wrong.

‘Clearly it’s a big purchase, it’s a big risk for you to take,’ Briggs said.

A risk worth taking?

AADA, along with an increasing number of voices from the auto industry, believe not.