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Apple in Hot Water in Europe. Again.
Hearing in Italy about Apple only offering 1-year guarantee when a 2-year guarantee is an automatic and free-of-cost entitlement within the EU.

In a hearing today, Apple challenges an Italian ruling which the American tech giant was fined €900,000 for, stating it is only offering a one-year warranty. European Law requires manufacturers to cover their products for a minimum of two years, and by only offering one year, Apple violates this regulation.

In addition to the legal action in Italy, consumer groups across 11 European countries, including Germany, The Netherlands and Spain, have sent letters to national regulators to get Apple to rectify its position on the guarantees. Due to the way the consumer rights are organized in Europe, every country has a slightly different implementation of the European warranty guideline. The consequence is that some of the national consumer groups have announced that if Apple doesn’t respond in a timely and satisfying way they will go to court following the Italian example.

The issue is made worse because Apple sells a package, called AppleCare Protection Plan, which extends their product warranty to three years, effectively making users pay a premium for a service which should be part of the price anyway.

Whenever you buy a product in the EU you are automatically entitled to a minimum of a 2-year guarantee, so in theory any Apple user could force their reseller to repair a defective product for free within that period, even if Apple only offers a 1-year guarantee. Apple is pushing customers to buy its 3-year protection plan without letting them know that the product is technically covered for a period of 2 years.

Monique Goyens, Director General of the European Consumer Organisation commented:
“Consumers are entitled to clear and unambiguous information on all product characteristics, including the legal and commercial guarantees. In a joint effort, consumer organisations across Europe are calling on Apple to bring their unfair practices to an end. In the EU, consumers are entitled to a minimum 2-year legal guarantee. Consumers should not be misled and confused as to fundamental EU consumer rights because a company wants to sell their commercial warranty services. This case is even more important as it concerns such an outstanding market leader whose practices have a broad impact.”
(Emphasis added by EuroTech)

Apple seems to take the route that most large US corporations took before in Europe. Running ahead until someone tries to stop them. Even if this might work in the US, where large corporations have quite a bit of leeway, the European Union has already shown that it is not intimidated by the size of a company.

The European Union demonstrated its determination when it threatened to stop Microsoft from selling Windows within the EU unless it gave users a choice of browsers. Even though many saw this as something which was just an effort to make a point at the time, nowadays we all benefit from the much better browser selection thanks to this decision. In 2008 the EU made Microsoft pay a hefty fine of 900 million Euro for disrupting the market by withholding technical information.

Do you think that European politicians are right to intervene to protect customers or should the market regulate itself?

Author: +Richard Muscat Azzopardi

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_Photo from Flickr :
Daniele Mazzini's profile photoTyler Smith's profile photoMax Huijgen's profile photoFranc Schiphorst's profile photo
It should be noted that on some products like the iPhone and the iPad the additional AppleCare plan is just two years so identical in length to the European warranty which comes free. AppleCare costs 69/79 Euro for these products.
The EU is absolutely in the right to take Apple to task. The alternative would be a race to the bottom and a lack of clarity regarding pricing structures.
+Joachim Larsen It´s actually unfortunate that so far the European warranty guideline is not identical to a European warranty. From the article "every country has a slightly different implementation of the European warranty guideline" If this was not the case but it would be an European law the consumer organizations wouldn´t have to go court in every country, but could file one case.
Historically the EU has shown to have a bit more bite than the individual nations.
Thanks for the link +Franc Schiphorst Some of the complaints there are interesting. The battery issue, which is often automatically assumed to be no part of the warranty, is key here. I don´t agree with the manufacturers who just state you have a limited warranty on them.
Whatever they state, or the fact that an Apple battery is excluded from AppleCare is not a reason to accept that they go faulty within their life cycle. The specs give a number of load cycles. If a consumer kept below this number during the first two year a could would probably side with the user.

batteries are always difficult as heat can cause damage

Let It Breathe
Charging your iPad while in certain carrying cases may generate excess heat, which can affect battery capacity. If you notice that your iPad gets hot when you charge it, take it out of its case first.
So if you keep it hot should you still be able to complain even if Apple warned you?
Apple is making incredibly high profits on the iPhone. Did they really need to be so arrogant?
While I'm not defending Apple, without further information it is possible that it was just an oversight of the legal team. Now, if they fight it and continue to only offer 1 yr standard warranty instead of 2 yr, the EU should have at them. It amazes me that people continue to buy from a company like Apple that clearly doesn't care about their consumer. Sure they make pretty, easy to use devices but they couldn't care less once they get your money.
+Tyler Smith Well if you are a 600.000.000.000 company you would expect a decent legal team but they are probably busy playing patent wars
The consumer organisation in NL has pointed this out to them on numerous occasions so they should know.

PS all companies try to fuck deny their customers their legal right in this regard. In NL you have rights regarding the expected lifetime of a product. So a 800 euro washing machine that breaks after 3 years should be fixed.
A friend had a 1000+ philips tv that kept buzzing even after repairs. It took him a year and a case in court to settle this.
So it's part of corporate "culture" i guess
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