I found the ruling from the tribunal. Here's the guts of it (I don't have a scanner):
The Tribunal hereby orders
Sony Computer Entertainment New Zealand Ltd and Electronics Boutique Australia Pty Ltd are jointly and severally liable to pay $375 to Mr Stevens within ten days of the date of this order.
It was proved that the Mr Stevens' playstation was not of acceptable quality:
- An article from the Consumer magazine (a respected organisation) in July 2006 was reliable evidence (based on surveys, information from manufacturers and retailers and their own experience) that a reasonable life expectancy for appliances was five years for computers and 8+ years for DVD players (both playstation functions).
- No appliance had a life expectancy of less than two years and there was no reason to suppose that playstations were less durable than other appliances, in particular when playstations were used for games and received hard treatment from children.
- Mr Stevens' playstation, by failing within two years, was therefore not fit for all of its purposes, not free of minor defects and not durable.
- It was not an answer that (as stated in the article) the life expectancy of appliances was getting shorter... because this did not account for difference between the stated life expectancy (eg computers, five years) and the failure in Mr Stevens' case (under two years).
- It was not an answer that the technological complexity of playstations meant that failure of a small percentage of units was "inevitable" (letter to Mr Stevens) if there was nonetheless a failure of the guarantee of acceptable quality.
- It was also not an answer that Mr Stevens' warranty was limited to one year as it was not possible to contract out of the Consumer Guarantees Act in non-business transactions (section 43).
There were five arguments I raised, but only two were accepted. I can post them if anyone's interested.