Apple Appeals Italian Warranty Ruling

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AppleCare in ItalyApple has appealed a Monday ruling from an Italian regulatory body that said the iPhone, iPad, and Mac maker still did not comply with the country’s warranty requirements. Apple said that Italy’s competition and market authority, Autoritá Garante della Concerrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) was not interpreting the law correctly, and that it was meeting the requirements of that law.

At issue is Apple’s AppleCare program that covers the company’s devices out of the box. In most of the world, that coverage is for one year out of the box, with optional coverage extending that coverage to two or three years (depending on the device) available for an additional fee.

Italy’s consumer protection laws require that companies warranty their products for two years, and the AGCM has already fined Apple €900,000 (US$1,132,559) for not making that clear to Italian customers. The agency said that Apple was violating the law by selling AppleCare extended warranties for a second year of coverage that should already be covered.

That fine was levied by December of 2011, and Apple appealed, and lost, in March. On Monday, the AGCM said that Apple still had not satisfied the law, and threatened the company with another €300,000 ($377,519) fine and the possible closure of Apple’s Italian operations.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that Apple had appealed the new ruling, arguing that the AGCM was interpreting the law incorrectly.

“We have appealed the recent decision of the (Italian) court as it was, in our view, based upon an incorrect interpretation of the law,” Apple said in a statement to Reuters. “We have introduced a number of measures to address the Italian competition authority concerns and we disagree with their latest complaint.”

Apple’s Italian website specifies that defects out of the box are covered for two years, and that customers are protected for one year for defects that occur after the time of purchase. So, according to Apple’s site, additional AppleCare coverage must be purchased for defects that occur after the first year from the time of purchase.

It’s that portion of Apple’s marketing that the AGCM appears to be tense about, with each side arguing for its interpretation of the law.

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I wonder what these people think about Dell’s website. Here is what Dell tells you when you order a laptop, for example:

I costi di riparazione possono rivelarsi una spiacevole sorpresa. Fai la scelta giusta e passa a una copertura che comprenda il supporto del software e un tempo di risposta pi? veloce. (Systran translation: The repair costs can reveal an disagreeable surprise. You make the just choice and passes to a cover that comprises the support of the software and a time of faster answer.).

Then they other you a choice of “standard” (one year), “better” (also one year) and “best” (3 year) warranty, with 3 year costing ?240 for a ?999 laptop.

There seems to be no mention at all of the rights that the seller is supposed to provide, and in Dell’s case, they only sell directly, so Dell will _always_ be the seller.


Well, two wrongs do not make a right, so Dell’s messing about does not make the way that Apple sells its guarantee in the EU correct. The Apple guarantee is unclear to everyone I know in the EU who has looked at it and this includes sellers. There are huge discussions on European forums about whether someone has a right to one or two years of guarantee, with legal tracts quoted and personal experiences (often contradictory) freely related. Certainly, some sellers attempt to persuade the private buyer to take out AppleCare cover, based on the guarantee conditions stated by Apple in its site and documentation, as that seems to indicated just one year of guarantee. This is clearly misleading.


Excuse me, but the difference is that Apple actually does quite clearly state on their website where they sell AppleCare what you get through Apple’s manufacturer’s warranty, what you get as your statutory rights from the retailer, and what AppleCare gives you. Dell does no such thing. And Apple has a link “Statutory Warranty” at the bottom of every page on the Apple Store, unlike Dell.

You say “Apple guarantee is unclear to everyone ... and this includes sellers”. Well, that is [deleted - Bryan]. The EU law applies to sellers, and to sellers only. So the seller should bloody well know what rights their customers have and what they have to do if a customer comes back with a product that isn’t working. Apple doesn’t have to educate a seller who sells products from dozens or hundreds or thousands of companies. Apple’s warranty has nothing to do with the seller at all.

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