BYOD and Consumer Law

This is my fifth post on Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). In other posts I’ve considered support and managing employee expenses. Here, I want to change tack a bit, and ask: What are the ramifications of consumer law for BYOD? While this may seem like a strange question, it is something that you will need to consider for some types of BYOD. In New Zealand – as is also true in other jurisdictions in all likelihood – what is true for consumers is not necessarily true for organisations. In particular the laws that cover the purchase of goods and services by consumers are different from the laws that apply to the purchase of the same goods and services by organisations. For instance, there are several pieces of consumer protection law that only protect consumers. Companies and other organisations are not protected by this legislation, and instead must contract their protection with suppliers. In general this leaves organisations with less protection than consumers have for faulty goods in particular. In addition, certain offers, prices, deals and warranties only apply to consumers, or purchases that are not made for business purposes.

The important thing is to understand what impact – if any – does consumer law have on your BYOD approach.  For most BYOD approaches there is likely to be no impact, but your legal team should look into this matter when you are considering a BYOD approach. Some factors that you will need to consider are:

  • Does using a personal device for business purposes remove your protections under consumer law? The answer may be yes!
  • Does using a personal device for work purposes void your consumer warranty?
  • Does purchasing a consumer device for an organisation (e.g. type 4) void the warranty?
  • Are particular offers available only for devices that are for personal use only?

Your legal team will need to advise you of the issues around the consumer law in your jurisdiction, and the legal framework of typical consumer warranties and contracts so that you can understand all of the ramifications on the type of BYOD approach that you are going to take. What you don’t want to have happen is for your staff to try to get their devices fixed under warranty only to find that they can’t because their use under your BYOD policy means that they are not eligible for repair!


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