||The FTC announced today a settlement has been reached with Apple Computer regarding a tech support issue. Apple promised free, live tech support for Apple customers for as long as they owned their products (meaning that once the unit was sold or given to another party the free, live tech support was no longer valid). Many will remember when Apple announced that it would start charging a US$35 fee to customers wishing to receive tech support starting in October of 1997. The FTC charged this violated their marketing promises for those customers who had purchased Apple products during the time frame listed above. According to Jodie Bernstein, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection:
"For prospective purchasers of computer products, free access to live technical support is especially enticing. Companies that make such offers have to live up to their promises."
Apple representatives had not returned our phone calls at press time.
The Mac Observer Spin: This is not much of a surprise announcement in that Apple had clearly violated its marketing promises when the new policy went into effect. It is important to note however that Apple reached this settlement with the FTC outside of court (suggesting it was a voluntary effort though we have not been able to confirm this). Apple is certainly doing the right thing, even though the FTC had to force the issue.
Apple - FTC