Category Archives: Member Updates

Angus Marshall Appointed to AMA Board

9th April 2024

Last month Mark Amory left the AMA board after a long period of service to the association. According to the AMA’s constitution, board members hold their positon as a representative of a member company and therefore vacate that position when they leave that employer.

Angus Marshall, recently appointed as Interim General Manager, Fender Music Australia, accepted a nomination to fill the casual vacancy and was elected by a vote of the board on Friday 5th April. Continue reading

Tariffs on Instruments Over 10 Years

28th March 2024

Prompted by the Australian Government’s Nuisance Tariffs announcement, which proposes to remove tariffs on almost 500 import codes including percussion instrument, the AMA has taken a closer look at the customs data to see how much duty is being collected, for what products, and from which places.

This article tells part of the story of tariffs on musical instruments, and exports, through the data we have available. Continue reading

2023 Snapshot Published

22nd January 2024

The 2-page Market Snapshot has been published, based on Market Report data, as the AMA has traditionally published in advance of the NAMM Show.

Members can download the Snapshot here2024 Market Snapshot (year to Sept 23 data).

The most recent data is available in more detail in the Quarterly Report (year to September 2023). Some members have asked about the full calendar year data for 2023, unfortunately we do not yet have the data.

Let’s meet at the NAMM Show

The NAMM Show is a great time to catch up with AMA members, with so many in the same place at the same time. If you would like to make time to meet with Alex to discuss the AMA and any of its work (Market Report, Make Music Day, Melbourne Guitar Show, member benefits, advocacy, upcoming projects such as the Industry Summit, State of the Industry Survey, or anything else), please select a time. Continue reading

Consumer Guarantee in the News: JB Hi Fi

20th December 2023

Law firm Maurice Blackman has recently commenced a class action against JB Hi Fi, claiming that extended warranties sold to consumers provide no more than the rights available to them under the consumer guarantee.

“What we’re alleging in the class action is that JB Hi-Fi has been selling extended warranties that essentially offer Australian consumers the same thing as what they already get for free under the Australian Consumer Law,” Miranda Nagy, principal lawyer for Maurice Blackburn said.

One point missed in the reporting on this is JB Hi Fi’s detailed Minimum Voluntary Warranty Policy outlining, for example, a matrix of duration (since purchase) and value with corresponding remedies. It serves as a kind of interpretation of the consumer guarantee (JB Hi Fi’s own interpretation), outlining when and under what circumstances a consumer can expect to receive an exchange, refund, or repair.

This is a brief comparison of JB Hi Fi’s ‘Minimum Voluntary Warranty‘ and ‘Extra Care‘ extended warranty, but obviously not a legal opinion:

  • Extra Care (warranties sold) includes ‘Replace’ cover for products purchased for less than $1000, during the period commencing 12 months after purchase/delivery, and ending 3 years after purchase/delivery.
  • Under the Minimum Voluntary Warranty Policy, these same products fall into the Green, Orange and Blue categories depending on Price & Period of Cover. In summary they offer, using excerpts from the policy:
    • Green: the customer can request an exchange or refund of the original purchase price. Alternatively, customers can request repair free of charge in accordance with the manufacturers warranty.
    • Orange: the customer can request repair free of charge by an approved manufacturer’s repairer
    • Blue:  you can discuss your concerns with a JB Hi-Fi Store Manager who is authorised to provide an alternative remedy where appropriate
  • Products purchased for less than $1000, but more than 3 months ago, are coded Orange or Blue and therefore do not include the exchange or refund remedy (where an extended warranty was not purchased).
  • For the sake of illustration
    • A pair of Noise Cancelling Headphones*, RRP $500-600, with a one year warranty, purchased 18 months ago, appears to be coded orange (no exchange).
    • After two years they would be coded blue.
    • The first 12 months is covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.
    • The extended warranty on this (Extra Care) would cost $117.80, and cover the second and third years after purchase, but the second year is covered by the Minimum Voluntary Warranty.
    • So you pay for cover in the third year, and a guarantee to what the company already states it will offer in the second year, and the remedy would presumably be considered ‘green’ rather than ‘orange’.
    • If you brought those headphones in 6 months after purchase, and they were faulty, they would be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. If you brought them in 18 months after purchase, the Minimum Voluntary Warranty policy would point to ‘repair’ while Extra Care would point to ‘replace’. If you brought them in after 30 months, MVW would point to ‘you may speak to the Manager’ while Extra Care would still point to ‘replace’.
  • Extra Care does offer ‘replacement’ cover for those products under those circumstances, therefore something additional to the published Minimum Voluntary Warranty.

We will see whether this matters at all, the company’s policy may not be the only interpretation of what the consumer guarantee offers. It may be an interesting test case for the merits of selling extended warranties, and JB Hi Fi’s interpretation of the consumer guarantee as presented in its Minimum Voluntary Warranty policy.

Read more: ABC News | Fairfax | Maurice Blackburn

*This example is based on a real product found on JB Hi Fi’s website, where the length of manufacturer’s warranty and the cost of the extended warranty could be easily found. It is not necessary to name it. 

Specialty Timber Update (Victoria)

20th December 2023

The Victorian Government recently announced more detail about its Community Forestry Support Package, as it transitions away from native timber harvesting in the state. The package includes compensation for redundant plant equipment, and worker redundancies.

As part of this announcement, the Allan Government indicated its support for very small amounts of specialty timber supply.

Minister for the Environment, Steve Dimopoulos, said in a statement “Since the Victorian Forestry Plan was first announced in 2019, we have made sure small amounts of supply is available for niche products such as instrument-making.”

The implementation of licenses for “limited and very small-scale felling” will be considered over the next six months.

Read the announcement

WRC-23 update: Spectrum saved for broadcasting & wireless devices

19th December 2023

The World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-23) was held in Dubai from 20th November-15th December, 2023. The issue that could potentially affect our industry was Agenda item 1.5: to review the spectrum use and spectrum needs of existing services in the frequency band 470-960 MHz in Region 1 and consider possible regulatory actions in the frequency band 470‑694 MHz in Region 1 on the basis of the review in accordance with Resolution 235 (WRC‑15).
This is the frequency band used for wireles audio devices.
Continue reading