Italian regulator set to fine Apple over warranties

Steven Loeb · July 1, 2012 · Short URL:

Agency accusing Apple of misleading consumers; Apple already fined in December

When I bought my iPhone, the salesman asked me if I also wanted to buy a two-year warranty from Apple in case anything happened to my phone. The thing was, I was already going to be covered for one year from AT&T, so essentially I would be paying for a whole year where I was going to be covered anyway! I declined to buy the extended warranty; whether or not this was a wise decision remains to be seen.

Turns out, if I was living in Italy, this would not have even been an issue, since customers there are guaranteed a free two-year warranty on electronic products and durable goods.

Or, at least they are supposed to. Apple and Italy have been battling over this for over a year now, and an Italian regulator is set impose new fines on Apple if they continue to not comply with the law, Reuters reported on Sunday.

In May 2011, the Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) began investigating Apple for offering their warranty for one year for free, but encouraging customers to pay for the second year, even though the two-year warranty is already free. Customers are not informed that the second year is already covered.

In December, the antitrust authority fined Apple €900,000, or $1.2 million, “for bad commercial practices that harmed consumers.”

They also accused Apple of providing “unclear information on payments for additional assistance offered to consumers.”

In March, the European Consumers' Organisation (BEUC) served Apple with a formal notice to put a stop to the practice of misleading consumers.

“In the EU, consumers are entitled to a minimum two-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,” said Monique Goyens, director-general of BEUC, was quoted as saying.

Despite the fines and notices, Apple has still, apparently, not complied with the law and are now being threatened with an additional €300,000, or $381,000, in fines if they do not comply with the law within the next 30 days.

The request will be made public net week.

Apple was not available for comment

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