Nokia to compensate for 8210 fault

Nokia Australia has admitted that its 8210 model handset has been sold with defects and is offering to repair the phones free of charge, with a new 12-month warranty.

The company has placed advertisements in all major Australian newspapers. After negotiations with the NSW Department of Fair Trading, Nokia has also agreed to strengthen its quality assurance for consumers and comply with ISO standards. The company will write to other States' fair trading agencies and the ACCC, to inform them of the agreement reached with the NSW Department.

The admission from Nokia comes after months of complaints by consumers, wholesalers and repairers about a screen defect in the 8210. Nokia refused to admit to the problem until late March, maintaining until then that the high volume of complaints was due to its dominant market position.

Nokia still claims that the defective component is limited to a batch of handsets manufactured between October 2001 and January this year. However, this claim is at odds with the Department's findings and the offer to repair all 8210s ever sold in Australia. Late last year a former Nokia employee alleged that the problem could extend back to handset models manufactured as long ago as five years. Nokia said it doesn't know if the supplier of the defective component provided parts for other handsets in its range.

The NSW Department of Fair Trading says it's done the best job it can for consumers by getting Nokia to agree to repair all handsets free of charge, and says “there's no consumer detriment because of this undertaking”.