$200k fines for misleading whitegoods warranty letters

TWO major whitegoods manufacturers will pay $200,000 in fines for sending customers misleading letters about warranties.

The Federal Court ordered Fisher & Paykel and Domestic & General pay the fines for claiming warranties expired before they actually did.

Letters were sent by both companies between January 2011 and December 2012, asking customers to buy extended warranties, despite consumer law protecting the customers without the need for the extended warranties.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims said the conduct involved "serious and significant" breaches of consumer law.

"Under the Australian consumer law, consumers may have a right to a repair, replacement or refund regardless of any extended warranty or express manufacturers' warranty," he said.

The ACCC took both firms to the court, which has ordered both companies to pay the fines, update their compliance programs and pay the commission's court costs.