European Union law Stories March 4, 2014


Belgian Apple Store concept image:

A Belgian judge is reportedly considering ordering local ISPs to block access to all Apple websites in the country in response to a long-running dispute over the company’s promotion of AppleCare warranties, according to local newspapers cited by

A case brought by the consumer protection group FPS Economy argued that Apple misleads consumers by claiming a standard warranty of one year, and selling an optional AppleCare extension, when EU law means that manufacturers are legally obliged to offer a minimum warranty of two years as standard …  expand full story

European Union law Stories January 15, 2013

Belgian consumer group files complaint against Apple over AppleCare warranty practices

Apple agreed to comply with Italian regulators’ requests last year to alter AppleCare warranties in the country after being fined $1.2 million (and an additional $264,000) for “misleading consumers” regarding two-year warranties mandatory by European Union law. We expected to hear much more about AppleCare in other EU countries that also employ the mandatory, free, two-year warranty, and now Belgian consumer watchdog Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats has filed a complaint to escalate its case (via TechCrunch):

For many years warranty issues are at the top of the charts of complaints dealt with Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats. One of the recurring problems are the complaints about Apple. Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats found major problems fixed on the information provided by Apple and its authorized distributors regarding the legal guarantee, the commercial one year warranty, and the warranty extension through the “AppleCare Protection Plan” of 2 or 3 years.

In March 2012, consumer groups from 10 countries requested Apple make changes to its warranty policies after the case in Italy. The Belgian consumer group was one of them but filed a complaint today with local courts because “Apple remained deaf to the demands.”

During negotiations with Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato, Apple ultimately changed its warranty policies on its website, terms and conditions, and even removed AppleCare from brick-and-mortar store shelves.

European Union law Stories December 21, 2012

After making changes to AppleCare in Italy, antitrust authorities fine Apple another $264K

Following Italian authorities forcing Apple to make changes to its AppleCare Protection Plan warranty policies, and Apple taking the product off retail store shelves, Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato has once again fined Apple. The antirust authority originally fined Apple $1.2 million for misleading consumers regarding a two-year warranty mandatory by EU law, and today the AGCM said it will fine Apple another $264,000 (€200,000) for failing to make changes to its warranties between March 28 to the Nov. 10 (via TNW):

In light of the above considerations, it was determined that Apple’s behavior during the period of 28th March 2012 – 10th November 2012 constitutes non-compliance with resolution no. 23155 of 21st December 2011, as modified by resolution no. 23193 of 11th January 2012.

The fines will be split between Apple Sales International, Apple Italia S.r.l, and Apple Retail Italia S.r.l.

European Union law Stories November 12, 2012

Last we heard, Apple was being threatened with closure of its Italian operations if it did not make necessary changes to its warranty policies following an investigation by the Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato. The authorities had previously fined Apple $1.2 million, claiming the company failed to inform consumers about a two-year warranty mandatory by EU law. Now it appears Apple has officially taken its AppleCare Protection Plan products off the shelves in Italy with only online versions of the product still available to Italian customers.

setteB.IT shared the image above showing what is apparently an email from Apple Distribution International in Ireland to Apple resellers in Italy. Apple informed resellers that it would stop selling all AppleCare Protection Plans in Italian Apple Stores as well as through authorized resellers. From the email, it also appeared Apple will no longer offer AppleCare-related services over the phone in the country.

setteB.IT also noted Apple has updated the terms for AppleCare on its Italian website. Rather than a “1 year warranty”, the website now reads “AppleCare plans benefits are added to the 2 year warranty of the seller, required by Italian regulators to protect the consumers.”

A full translation of the email is below:

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European Union law Stories October 1, 2012

EU Justice Commissioner calls for investigation into Apple’s warranty practices

Following a $1.2 million fine from Italian regulators over Apple’s failure to inform consumers of a two-year guarantee mandatory by EU law, Bloomberg reported today that EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding is calling for an investigation by the EU’s 27 states:

“Apple prominently advertised that its products come with a one-year manufacturer warranty but failed to clearly indicate the consumers’ automatic and free-of-cost entitlement to a minimum two-year guarantee under EU law,” Reding said to ministers in the letter, which was obtained by Bloomberg News. “These are unacceptable marketing practices.”

The Portuguese Association for Consumer Protection is also looking into AppleCare.

European Union law Stories July 18, 2012

Portuguese consumer group takes Apple to court over AppleCare warranties following fines in Italy

As was the case in Italy, where Apple was recently fined $1.2 million and threatened with closure of its Italian operations related to its AppleCare policies, translated reports today from Lusa News (via Exame Informatica) claimed Portuguese consumer groups plan to take similar action against Apple. According to the reports, DECO, the Portuguese Association for Consumer Protection, asserts Apple is misleading consumers by not informing them of two-year warranties mandatory by Portuguese law:

According to Lusa, the DECO decided to proceed with an action in court against Apple. The decision relates to the fact that the company “deceptively” consumers, luring them to extend the warranty to three years through its AppleCare Protection Plan that “nothing” adds to the legal guarantee of two years in Portugal.

“The Portuguese Community law and gives a two-year guarantee for the movable, but Apple does not recognize this reality. After several attempts to enforce these rights, without success, decided to proceed with a lawsuit popular, “said Joao Morgado, secretary general of the DECO

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European Union law Stories July 2, 2012

We have kept you updated on Apple’s warranty situation in Italy with the company forced to pay a $1.2 million fine imposed by Italian antitrust authorities after losing an appeal to the fine in March. Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato claimed Apple mislead consumers by selling its one-year AppleCare warranties without properly informing its customers of a two-year warranty mandatory by European Union law. Today, Reuters reported Apple is facing further fines and “temporary closure of its operations in Italy” if it doe not make changes to its warranty policies:

Apple Inc was threatened with the temporary closure of its operations in Italy and with further fines of up to 300,000 euros ($377,500) if it does not offer customers a free two-year warranty as demanded by Italian law… The AGCM said in its monthly bulletin that Apple was continuing to adopt unfair commercial practices in Italy and noted this could eventually lead to the closure of its Italian operations for up to 30 days.

In March, reports claimed that authorities from up to 10 other countries in the EU were considering requesting Apple make similar changes to AppleCare.

Update: Apple commented on the matter:

“We have introduced a number of measures to address the Italian competition authority concerns and we disagree with their latest complaint.”

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