Apple Appeals Italian Warranty Ruling

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.