Italy Fines Apple $1.2M for Misleading Warranties

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Italy’s antitrust authority, Autoritá Garante della Concerrenza e del Mercato, has hit Apple with a €900,000 fine, or about US$1.2 million, for giving customers misleading warranty information. According to the agency, Apple “was found responsible for bad commercial practices that harmed customers.”

The AGCM said (in Italian) that Apple pressured customers into buying AppleCare for their devices even though the EU requires companies to offer two-year warranties on electronic devices. Apple’s standard warranty, at least outside the EU, is one year.

Italy to Apple: Honor EU warranty lawsItaly to Apple: Honor EU warranty laws

Depending on the device, AppleCare extends Apple’s warranty an extra year or two, which means it overlaps with the required EU coverage window.

Along with pushing extended AppleCare warranties, the agency claimed Apple failed to tell consumers their purchases included two years of coverage under EU law.

Apple is also required to post part of the ruling on its website and add clarification to AppleCare that makes it clear electronic devices include two year warranties. The changes must be made within 90 days.

Apple has not commented on the ruling.

[Thanks to the BBC for the heads up.]

Comments

mhikl

Very interesting. It is difficult to imagine Steve secretly embracing a disposable culture as his products, for the most part, seem to connote quality and durability. It is often written that a good percentage of an Apple product line is tossed for not meeting standards, but is this truth or Apple myth?

Maybe it is time the whole Apple warranty programme is tossed and two and three years just becomes the norm for all Apple guarantees. Now that would be a great advertising and selling point for Apple; and might that be a guarantee other companies could find difficult to match to their competitive pricing structures?

furbies

In Australia, Apple’s standard warranty is for 12 months, though AppleCare for computers does extend the free phone support from 90 days to 3 years.

PSMacintosh

Isn’t Italy having economic problems (or is that just Greece)?
This seems more like a way for Italy to make money, than correct a problem.
Wouldn’t it have been sufficient to simply require Apple to send a Disclosure Notice to all the AppleCare purchasers with their option to either (1) be reimbursed the AC price or (2) continue the AC coverage for its feature of free phone Tech Support beyond the first 90 days.  And maybe something extra ($10 worth) to each for their troubles.
Why should Italy be so highly profiting from this “international law” mistake?
On the other hand, it is nice that the EU requires a 2 year warranty as standard.
I think Apple should be standing behind its products for longer than it does.  Especially it’s built-in batteries!!!!!

graxspoo

Apple does tend towards end-of-lifing products fairly aggressively, though I believe its more through neglect than by design. Apple’s products are high quality, and can last for years, but often changes in the Apple ecosystem make it difficult to actually continue to use older products.
Examples:
*My old perfectly good iMac didn’t have a USB2 port. Apple dropped FireWire from iPods, so if I wanted to buy a new iPod I’d have to buy a new iMac. (Exactly what I wound up doing.)
*My mom’s 3G iPhone still works fine for her, but I warned her against upgrading to iOS 4 because there have been so many complaints about sluggish performance on older iPhones, and there’s no way to selectively upgrade to 3.2. So, there are many apps she’d like to use that she can’t because she can not upgrade to iOS 3.2. 
*Leopard was the last Mac OS version to support PPC. Apple stopped selling PPC Macs in 2006. Leopard was released in 2007. One major update, and hasta-la-vista-baby.

Laurie Fleming

This seems more like a way for Italy to make money, than correct a problem.

Bzzt. No. It’s sticking up for its citizens.

Corporations aren’t people. People are more important.

Remember when iPods first came out and had a one-year warranty, except for batteries which only had three months? My first battery died after about ten weeks. I went into the shop where I bought it and they tried that on, saying that Apple only supported batteries for the shorter time. I laughed at them, and insisted that it be fixed. For free. And it was.

#consumerpower

DamenS

Why should Italy be so highly profiting from this ?international law? mistake?

I seriously hope this joke was deliberate on your part. 

Do you truly believe that Apple was unaware of what its warranty obligations were throughout essentially all of Europe (which as a conglomeration is one of the largest markets in the world) ? 

If it was unaware of one of it’s most basic obligations in one of its largest markets, this “international law” mistake was evidence of great stupidity. 

You can pick your poison:  Apple were unaware and therefore incompetent, or they were trying to screw people over. 

You make no mention as to why a company (or individual) performing those actions should go “unpunished”.  Punishments are given when illegal actions are found to have taken place (or even morally wrong actions in the case of parents punishing children etc).  This acts as a deterrent.  This is something most 5 year olds have no difficulty understanding, so I have tried to explain it to you in as simplistic a form as possible.

DamenS

Why should Italy be so highly profiting from this ?international law? mistake?

I seriously hope this joke was deliberate on your part. 

Do you truly believe that Apple was unaware of what its warranty obligations were throughout essentially all of Europe (which as a conglomeration is one of the largest markets in the world) ? 

If it was unaware of one of it’s most basic obligations in one of its largest markets, this “international law” mistake was evidence of great stupidity. 

You can pick your poison:  Apple were unaware and therefore incompetent, or they were trying to screw people over. 

You make no mention as to why a company (or individual) performing those actions should go “unpunished”.  Punishments are given when illegal actions are found to have taken place (or even morally wrong actions in the case of parents punishing children etc).  This acts as a deterrent.  This is something most 5 year olds have no difficulty understanding, so I have tried to explain it to you in as simplistic a form as possible.

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