Fanatec potentially breaching consumer laws

edited February 7 in Off Topic

OK, so I have lodged a formal complaint against Fanatec with Fair Trading regarding a breach of Australian Consumer Laws. I was advised by Fair Trading by phone that Fanatec could be breaching consumer laws by not offering a replacement or refund for my DD1 wheelbase, which is no longer responding to wheels that are attached. This could be a firmware/drivers issue, but as most of the firmware and drivers are still in Beta stage, they may also be in breach. It has been 2 weeks now and no resolution - no racing for me at all.

I was also advised that if Fanatec remove this post they could be breaching laws and could potentially be fined.

Has anyone else had these issues, as having worked in Law firms, I may be able to point you in the right direction as to your rights under consumer laws in your country.

I'm hoping Fanatec clean up their act, provide a better level of support and respect consumer rights. It's a great product, but great products need to be fully developed and tested prior to going to market. A full support centre function needs to include chat-lines to allow walk through installations and trouble-shooting. A good example of the type of service excellence is Nvidia and Microsoft.

Comments

  • I've nudged Support to have a look at this, not sure what the history and status of your issue is but a solution for non-working hardware is of course needed.

    And just to defuse to suggestive title: no, Fanatec is not breaching consumer laws, not even potentially. You probably gave the Fair Trading person a very biased story that made them draw their conclusions, so that's not worth much. Especially the 'most drivers and firmware are still in beta stage' is a nonsense argument - there are official drivers, and there are beta drivers that customers can use if they want but are not forced to use.

    I've seen the occasional forum posting like this one in the past by disgruntled customers. Something wasn't going according to expectation or liking, and immediately Consumer Rights were supposedly violated. Which of course was never the case.

  • Hi Hans,

    I have discussed this case with the support department.

    It is a slight exaggeration to say that it has been two weeks without resolution. The issue was reported on Jan 30th, you then received several messages from support discussing troubleshooting steps, and the RMA was initiated a few days later. You should be receiving the return instructions very soon.

    You are of course within your rights to report anything that you believe to be a breach of Australian Consumer Laws. The ACCC will reach out to us if they have any questions, but that is unlikely to happen in this case, as it appears to be a standard RMA procedure.

  • Thanks for the feedback guys, but unfortunately it is a little more complicated then that. Firstly, do you both work for fanatec? if so, then there is obviously a bias. Secondly, do you understand Australian Consumer Law? Are you both from Australia and have you worked in law and understand consumer guarantees here? If you don't work for Fanatec then there is no need for you to be involved. The matter is not just related to the one recent discussion a problems with the DD1. Many more linked inaccuracies and lack of support is at play.

  • I should also draw attention to your comment Remco about "there are official drivers, and there are beta drivers that customers can use if they want but are not forced to use". Fanalab for a start, is in fact a Beta and users are advised that this is a requirement to gain full use of the new functionality of the Podium Wheelbase, along side latest beta firmware. Otherwise this improved functionality is not achieved. I just find the whole attitude so Arrogant!

  • Hi Hans,

    I am community manager at Fanatec. I checked with the sales team and they confirmed that you were provided the full return information today.

    FanaLab was never designed as a requirement. The Podium bases launched without it, using an improved Tuning Menu based on the Tuning Menus of the CSL and ClubSport bases. This because we also support consoles, and therefore the tuning functionality cannot rely on PC-only software (this is different to all other direct drive solutions available).

    When we recently introduced a major 'performance update' to the Podium bases, this could have been implemented via FanaLab, but instead we decided to rework the firmware, again so that FanaLab was NOT a requirement, and so that console users could benefit from the improved features too.

    That said, we do have a long roadmap ahead for FanaLab, and there will be an increased number of optional features that will only be accessible via this software. But to launch this type of optional software as a beta is not unusual, and certainly does not violate consumer laws.

    If you wish to discuss any different concerns regarding Fanatec products, please send me a private message.

  • Hans is mostly right, i have had issues with my fanatec systems from launch and have had some nasty interactions with fanatec which could be easily resolved and or prevented.

    Fanatec often deflects responsibility to developers and with evidence refuses to remedy situations properly.

    I cant do anything but tell the truth here.

  • I love my fanatec gear and luckily so far have had no issues. I do dread if I do because there seems to be so many inconsistencies with their support. The best businesses have a very strong support function and from all the horror stories I have read about fanatec support issues I believe this is really the only downfall of buying fanatec gear. I guess I would not know for sure until I have an issue.

    I have also foind fanatec to be very generous, my DD1 release was delayed and they gave me a voucher worth around $500 AUD.

  • I too am having so many issues with my equipment. I really hope that there is a team working hard into getting the dd working correctly with all "compatible hardware". I have had my equipment 2 weeks now and got to enjoy it for only 4 hrs. Im using older firmware just so i can use my dd1 and phub but the quality of feedback and smootheness of v356 was incredible. being stuck on 346 or 347 is horrible compared to 356.

  • When you reply this happens

  • edited February 10

    Yes, this is the problem. Customer service is terrible at this point. And, this is what I mean by unstable software/firmware, which basically means the product is not yet fit for purpose. There needs to be an improvement in customer service, including help desk support, via phone etc. I'm looking into this at the moment with the ACCC in Australia, but if I were you I would check your rights in the USA, if I'm correct, that's where you reside?

    Fanatec have a distribution centre in Australia, but there is no phone number - purely for distributing products. As far as servicing I have to send faulty items to a place almost 700kms away near Queensland! This will be my second time sending products back, including one of the same items.

    I've been without a wheel/base now for over 2 weeks since I started having the problems.

  • Yes, i live in Atlanta Georgia USA. I am going to try to be patient for a couple weeks in the hope their team releases firmware to make the dd1 functional again with all the Hardware. They sent me an email telling me they are hard at work addressing our issues but have no release date yet but they are happy to offer me a full refund. I will update my thread and this one as things develop. thanks!

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