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Groups urge EU countries to crackdown on Apple warranties

updated 01:40 pm EDT, Mon March 19, 2012

Italian case could be first of many

European consumer groups in 11 countries -- including Italy and Germany -- have issued letters to national regulators, asking them to put a stop to the way Apple currently markets its warranties, Bloomberg reports. Apple typically markets its products as having one-year warranties unless a person buys into an AppleCare plan. Under European Union regulations, though, manufacturers are obligated to cover a product for at least two years, making Apple's marketing potentially misleading.

"Consumers should not be misled and confused as to fundamental EU consumer rights because a company wants to sell their commercial warranty services," says Monique Goyens, the director general of one of the consumer groups, the European Consumer Organization. In Italy Apple has already been hit with a 900,000 fine in the matter. The letters could potentially trigger more fines, but no other actions have been announced so far.

Apple is planning to appeal the Italian fine in a court hearing on March 21st. The company has mostly kept quiet on the matter, although it did post a link on its Italian online store acknowledging the legal dispute.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. malax

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    Hmm

    What's the story here? It sounds pretty straightforward from what's presented. If the EU requires manufacturers to provide a free 2-year warranty (I don't know that they do, and I'm not suggesting that they should), then it's pretty black and white that Apple is in violation of that regulation, period. I suspect it's more complicated than that or they wouldn't be quibbling about AppleCare except to insist that Apple provide a second year of coverage for free. We must be missing something.

  1. sibeale1

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -1

    Crackdown...

    is not a verb, either transitive or intransitive. Perhaps you meant to write "...countries to crack down on...".

  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    This is about Enforcers...

    publicity seekers and job justifiers. As I've said a million times, if you don't like the TERMS don't buy the thing. Don't we all know people who are incompetent even with the simplest things? I do. Drop their phone all the time, can't set up a Mac (!), and would no doubt break their iPad while it rested on a pillow.

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    As someone from Europe...

    ... let me just say it is not that simple. "Under European Union regulations, though, manufacturers are obligated to cover a product for at least two years, making Apple's marketing potentially misleading." - that's simply not true. Each country has their own warranty laws. Germany for example treats warranty as a *voluntary* service from the manufacturer (or the reseller). You don't have to offer warranty for your product, but of course you would have zero customers if you didn't.

    Problem is, many people confuse warranty ("Garantie" in German) with the "defects liabilty" ("Gewaehrleistung" in German), which is indeed imposed by the EU, but comes from the dealer, not the manufacturer. It's a whole different matter altogether and not very customer-friendly, e.g. if the product shows a defect, you have to prove to the dealer that the defect was already present at the time you bought it (if you bought it more than 6 months ago). This confuses the heck out of people.

  1. ourstanley

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    Rules not consistent across Europe

    This whole idea of a 2 year warranty from EU regulations isn't consistently applied across the EU.

    As I understand it EU regulations are agreed by the European Parliament, but it is then up to each member state to update their own laws to comply with then - but they don't always do it.

    In the UK the Sale of Goods Act says that goods should be 'fit for purpose' i.e. that it will do what the company says it will do, and it has some wording which relates to the 'durability' of an item, saying that it should work for a 'reasonable' period of time.This is where it gets confusing - you would expect some items to last 6-12 months, but other items you would expect to get 4-6 years of use out of them. The UK believe this nuanced approach makes better law than implementing the 2 year warranty from the EU regulations, however in practice it often leads to back and forth arguments from consumers and manufacturers about what denotes a 'reasonable' period of time for that product/device.

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