Italy fines Apple $1.2M for 'unfair commercial practices'

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  • digitalclipsdigitalclips Posts: 15,032member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bozzunter View Post


    Before reading more ignorant comments about Italy, I'd like to inform everyone that it's not an Italian law, but an European law. In European Community, warranty is 2 years but no company complies (Dell, Apple, HP, Samsung, you name it). In Italy/Europe, Apple stuff costs 30% more than in US, at least if they're forced to provide 2 years of warranty the cost will be partly justified (I'll still buy everything in US).



    OK thanks for explaining ... so walking over a border isn't an issue as all European countries are the same? I was curious about that. So a Mac bought in France can be serviced in Italy or vice versa for example without complications.
  • digitalclipsdigitalclips Posts: 15,032member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GregInPrague View Post


    I'm guessing that the 2 year warranty is a European Union requirement. We have the same 2 year warranty on everything you buy here in the Czech Republic. So, that makes your concern about a warranty service nightmare less of an issue since the 27 EU countries would all have the same requirements.



    Got it
  • anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,558member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    While totally agreeing in theory I'm curious (hopefully someone will here will explain this) what happens when you walk over a border in Europe to a country with different laws and regulations with a Mac and require warranty service. Do you only get coverage in the country of origin or are the warranties honored elsewhere? If so ... what a nightmare that would be where these time differences in the warranties occur.



    Well, the EU probably does have regulations about this sort of thing, but they are probably not a "nightmare" to follow.



    I see this was already answered above.
  • digitalclipsdigitalclips Posts: 15,032member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    Well, the EU probably does have regulations about this sort of thing, but they are probably not a "nightmare" to follow.



    Our European friends seem to have explained this well and in fact all 27 countries are the same. This makes any change Apple makes in response to Italy more than likely to be an EU wide change I'd think.
  • greginpraguegreginprague Posts: 404member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bozzunter View Post


    Before reading more ignorant comments about Italy, I'd like to inform everyone that it's not an Italian law, but an European law. In European Community, warranty is 2 years but no company complies (Dell, Apple, HP, Samsung, you name it). In Italy/Europe, Apple stuff costs 30% more than in US, at least if they're forced to provide 2 years of warranty the cost will be partly justified (I'll still buy everything in US).



    Not all Apple stuff costs 30% more than in the US. It all depends on currency valuations. The Dollar is currently quite strong against European currencies, so the price difference has gone down a lot.



    A 16gb iPad 2 WIFI in the US is $500 plus tax which in most states comes to at least $535. Right now in the Czech Republic the same unit is 11,500CZK which is $583. So, for 10% more you get an extra year of warranty, not that bad. An unlocked 16gb iPhone 4s is about 10% over the US price now as well. That is why even in a relatively poor country (compared to Germany/France/UK) everyone is still walking around with iPhones.



    There have been times when the dollar was so weak that I could sell my old iPod Touch used here for easily enough to buy the new model in the US (and have friends/family bring it). Did the same with my iPad 1 in January.
  • gatorguygatorguy Posts: 14,138member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post


    Surprisingly good question...I, too, am curious...



    I think Italy is requiring way too much of a warranty though...2 years? seriously? One year is generous enough...



    But if the law is the law the fine is relatively tiny and I'm sure Apple will fix this minor inconvenience.



    All in all a non-story.



    I know this came up in Great Britain too, where a 2 year warranty requirement is also in effect IIRC. I'd have to check further, but I thought the 2-year electronics warranty was an EU-wide one.



    In any case Apple has had to deal with this before, so I don't think they could claim it just slipped their notice.



    EDIT: Yes, it's pretty much the law throughout Europe, and has been since 1999. Here's the Product Warranty Directive (1999/44/EC) from the European Parliament:



    This directive was written in May 1999 by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union with the objective of creating a common set of minimum rules which would remain valid no matter where in the EU goods are purchased.



    Companies that sell in Europe are bound by this directive. It specifies that the seller of a products is "liable to the consumer for any lack of conformity which exists when the goods are delivered to the consumer and which becomes apparent within a period of two years, unless, at the moment of conclusion of the contract of sale, the consumer knew or could not reasonably be unaware of the lack of conformity."



    This does not mean that you need to extend the warranties on your products to two years. Rather, the directive simply grants consumers the right to:



    •Have the goods repaired or replaced free of charge within a reasonable period and without major inconvenience;

    •An appropriate reduction in price;

    •Have the contract rescinded if repair or replacement is impossible or disproportionate.

    The "contract" between you and the buyer does not have to be written. Your claims of fitness for a particular application and even your marketing materials are a form of contract.




    The "lack of conformity" (i.e. a defect not caused by normal use or wear) must exist at the time of delivery and must become apparent within two years from delivery. The two-year rule does not apply to products that don't normally have a two-year life span (e.g. disposable devices) nor for unintended uses. The consumer is not entitled to have the contract rescinded if the lack of conformity is minor. Some countries may have enacted longer periods in their national legislation so it is best to check local regulations.



    Again, the directive should not be viewed as a guarantee. Normal wear and tear is not included, and the consumer does not have the power to demand a replacement regardless of the nature of the problem. Barring any warranty or guarantee offered freely by a manufacturer or distributor, the seller is only liable for any lack of conformity that exists at the time of delivery of the product.
  • pie81pie81 Posts: 1member
    Hello to everyone.

    I'm italian (and I guess you are going to note it by my english ) and article is not fully correct.

    Italian law oblige sellers to warrant sold products for two years (and not makers).

    Problems for Apple are concerned their stores (retail and online). But if I bought an Apple product from another store, there is any legal problem.

    Anyway, this in an european law and I suppose Apple needs Europe

    I'm curious to know how Apple is going to settle this little matter. Abroad it could seem a little problem, but I'm sure that other companies could be take advantage from this situation.



    Byee

    Pierluigi
  • bozzunterbozzunter Posts: 4member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    OK thanks for explaining ... so walking over a border isn't an issue as all European countries are the same? I was curious about that. So a Mac bought in France can be serviced in Italy or vice versa for example without complications.



    You have no idea of the mess we have - I really wonder how EU can work if even basic things like this don't follow something common. Basically, the law is written in FRENCH and it's says the "consumer" has some rights, among which we have a two year of warranty. The rights are valid for every stuff purchased in Europe, no matter if you cross the borders or not.



    Of course, it's a major cost for every company, so they've always tried to dodge the law. The way is done is funny, and I have plenty of anecdotes since I quarreled many times:



    1) Most of big companies (with the exception of Apple, Dell, HP but including Microsoft), say that "consumer" means "everything but a company". Hence, 2 year warranty is recognized if you don't request an invoice. I know this concept is absurd in US since here "invoice" mostly means proof of purchase, such as the one issued by Amazon. In Europe, "invoice" means something you can read the VAT number of both the customer and of the seller.



    2) If point one doesn't seem absurd enough, I'd like to point out that the distinction between "consumers" (a company is a consumer as well) is done in Italy, for the Italian language. In Spain they had a different idea: company claimed you can have a 2 year warranty for stuff like appliances but not for electronic devices.



    3) Companies like Apple, Dell and HP simply refuse to guarantee your rights, no matter if you are a company or not.



    Of course, point 1 and 2 are simply a mean to avoid costs for the full warranty and I'm pretty sure that in every other country they try other tricks like this, but my knowledge is limited to Italy and Spain.



    What happens when you claim your rights? With Apple, it's a desperate case - not because they are afraid of the cost for YOUR product, but because they would be obliged to change all their policies and the information provided (see AppleCare, for instance). Mind you, Dell does exactly the same by claiming you can upgrade the warranty to 3-4 years from 1.



    When my ipod got broken, I fought at the phone with 4 different people and eventually I was recognized my warranty. But I got so tired that I swore I would give up in the future (of course, ipod is the cheapest Apple stuff in my house, since I have 2 iphone, 1 ipad, 4 Macs and so on).



    Another guy was more resistant than me, he sued Apple and, after a three year trial (average lenght of Italian trials...) he won the cause and Apple was fined.



    I'm really curious what happens now, at least in Italy. But here the most expensive MacBookPro 15'' is 2.150 ? , i.e. 2800$. Go figure if Apple can't provide a 2 year warranty with this margin
  • curmudgeoncurmudgeon Posts: 483member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    If you think this through then the same argument can be extended ... there would be no safety standards, no quality standard ... and so on. Yes it can go too far but it could also not go far enough. Isn't life complicated?



    And therein lays the problem. Since nobody can decide exactly where to draw the line between where government should begin and end, no line gets drawn and the government ends up doing whatever it dang well pleases. It's happening here in the US. Each day the US spends $10 billion. Yet, it only takes in $6 billion. But we can't cut spending cause it might possibly affect somebody somewhere. Again, nobody can figure out where to draw the line, so we spend ourselves into bankruptcy.
  • adonissmuadonissmu Posts: 1,713member
    Why fine a company for what appears to be an oversight? Tell them to fix the oversight and move on.
  • gatorguygatorguy Posts: 14,138member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AdonisSMU View Post


    Why fine a company for what appears to be an oversight? Tell them to fix the oversight and move on.



    They've had it called to their attention before. It wasn't an oversight. Apple attempted to skirt the requirement by claiming they didn't sell to consumers so it wasn't their problem.
  • dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 992member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GregInPrague View Post


    I'm guessing that the 2 year warranty is a European Union requirement. We have the same 2 year warranty on everything you buy here in the Czech Republic. So, that makes your concern about a warranty service nightmare less of an issue since the 27 EU countries would all have the same requirements.



    This problem always comes up when people mix up warranty and implied warranty. The EU mandates a 24 months implied warranty for all commercial sales (can be reduced to 12 months for second hand goods), a "just" warranty is completely voluntary. You can legally sell products without any warranty at all.



    Further distinctions:



    - "Implied warranties" have to be guaranteed by the reseller, not the OEM. So, if somebody buys in Italy, and then has a problem in e.g. Austria, the implied warranty would only be provided at all, if the same reseller would operate in both countries (as the same body). "Implied warranties" are not transferable (as they are part of the contract between the buyer and the seller, no seller can be forced to accept a different party with claims).



    - A speciality of the EU "implied warranty" is that is only covers manufacturing/design defects and during the first 6 months practically every defect that can't be identified as caused by external force will be considered such an defect. After 6 months though, the burden of proof shifts - the buyer has now to proof that a defect already existed at the time of purchase. For all practical means, the 24 months implied warranty is only a 6 months warranty in real life, as the cost of an expert testimony in Europe will almost always exceed the cost of consumer wares.



    - Regular warranties are provided by the OEM. They are 100% voluntarily and their terms (transferability, duration, extent, coverage area, yaddha) are the sole choice of the OEM. In case of Apple, the warranty is actually quite generous: it is global and it is transferrable (e.g. there are Canon and Nikon cameras in the $5000+ range that come with domestic only and even non-transferable warranties).



    Sorry for the lengthy explanation, but showing the complexities involved is the only way to explain why non-EU companies struggle to meet this approach sometimes.



    Apple Care (global, transferable and valid for one or two additional years beyond the base warranty and including a free hotline for the entire duration) is NOT in any way comparable to the 24 months EU warranty. Apple will repair or replace any defective product (unless the reason for the defect was external) in the coverage period, period. With the EU implied warranty you can be out of luck after 6 months (while Apple always covers you 12), you can't transfer it, it has no global reach, it does not include a free hotline and you might end up having to fight for acceptance.



    We would need to know more about the true reasoning for the verdict; I assume Apple Store staff did fail to correctly deal with a case where customers were claiming a design/manufacturing defect after 12 months.
  • clemynxclemynx Posts: 1,356member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post


    No government should have the right to tell any business how they must warrant their products. Yet another example of TOO MUCH GOVERNMENT.



    That regulation actually applies to all EU countries. And in EU we can do whatever law we want, no need for your approval, thanks.



    Apart from all the racist diminishing bigotry in here, Apple didn't respect local regulations and was fined that small sum. EU says all products have a 2 year guarantee, and Apple misled buyers by making them believe that Applecare covered 2 years more than the normal guarantee, when in reality it overlapped it.
  • gatorguygatorguy Posts: 14,138member
    The BBC article may be the easiest and clearest explanation:

    "The country's Antitrust Authority said Apple had failed to inform shoppers of their legal right to two years' technical support, recognising instead only a one-year standard warranty.



    It said the firm's action had led people to pay extra for Apple's own support service, which overlapped in part with the free guarantee."

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16339651





    IMHO Apple got a pretty cheap slap on the wrist.
  • clemynxclemynx Posts: 1,356member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post


    This problem always comes up when people mix up warranty and implied warranty. The EU mandates a 24 months implied warranty for all commercial sales (can be reduced to 12 months for second hand goods), a "just" warranty is completely voluntary. You can legally sell products without any warranty at all.



    Further distinctions:



    - "Implied warranties" have to be guaranteed by the reseller, not the OEM. So, if somebody buys in Italy, and then has a problem in e.g. Austria, the implied warranty would only be provided at all, if the same reseller would operate in both countries (as the same body). "Implied warranties" are not transferable (as they are part of the contract between the buyer and the seller, no seller can be forced to accept a different party with claims).



    - A speciality of the EU "implied warranty" is that is only covers manufacturing/design defects and during the first 6 months practically every defect that can't be identified as caused by external force will be considered such an defect. After 6 months though, the burden of proof shifts - the buyer has now to proof that a defect already existed at the time of purchase. For all practical means, the 24 months implied warranty is only a 6 months warranty in real life, as the cost of an expert testimony in Europe will almost always exceed the cost of consumer wares.



    - Regular warranties are provided by the OEM. They are 100% voluntarily and their terms (transferability, duration, extent, coverage area, yaddha) are the sole choice of the OEM. In case of Apple, the warranty is actually quite generous: it is global and it is transferrable (e.g. there are Canon and Nikon cameras in the $5000+ range that come with domestic only and even non-transferable warranties).



    Sorry for the lengthy explanation, but showing the complexities involved is the only way to explain why non-EU companies struggle to meet this approach sometimes.



    Apple Care (global, transferable and valid for one or two additional years beyond the base warranty and including a free hotline for the entire duration) is NOT in any way comparable to the 24 months EU warranty. Apple will repair or replace any defective product (unless the reason for the defect was external) in the coverage period, period. With the EU implied warranty you can be out of luck after 6 months (while Apple always covers you 12), you can't transfer it, it has no global reach, it does not include a free hotline and you might end up having to fight for acceptance.



    We would need to know more about the true reasoning for the verdict; I assume Apple Store staff did fail to correctly deal with a case where customers were claiming a design/manufacturing defect after 12 months.



    Good explanation, I'm not a specialist at all but that's what I had understood by myself reading here and there.



    In France, there is a lifetime warranty actually, but only 6 months where you don't have to prove the defect. I think that's a good thing. If a product has a flaw, there shouldn't be a limit to the time someone can get repairs. My iMac had its upper LED ribbon fail 3 years after purchase. That's not my fault, and contrary to what many here say, it shows that Apple products are far from being perfect. Such a problem after only 3 years is not normal. And if I could get Apple to repair it for free I would, because it's their fault if they use cheap components for their screens.
  • curmudgeoncurmudgeon Posts: 483member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ClemyNX View Post


    That regulation actually applies to all EU countries. And in EU we can do whatever law we want, no need for your approval, thanks.



    Apart from all the racist diminishing bigotry in here, Apple didn't respect local regulations and was fined that small sum. EU says all products have a 2 year guarantee, and Apple misled buyers by making them believe that Applecare covered 2 years more than the normal guarantee, when in reality it overlapped it.



    I think the over abundance of government is universal. It was not a dig at the EU specifically. And how do you get racism out of my statement? As to needing my approval, why are you so testy? Perhaps you too realize that all government can do is drive up the cost of goods? Let the market decide if Apple's products are worth buying. If they don't last as long as expected, you can buy from competitors. This is simply not something that government should be involved in. This is an implied contract between buyer and seller. If Apple's products are deemed inferior, they will either need to fix them or go out of business.
  • clemynxclemynx Posts: 1,356member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post


    I think the over abundance of government is universal. It was not a dig at the EU specifically. And how do you get racism out of my statement? As to needing my approval, why are you so testy? Perhaps you too realize that all government can do is drive up the cost of goods? Let the market decide if Apple's products are worth buying. If they don't last as long as expected, you can buy from competitors. This is simply not something that government should be involved in. This is an implied contract between buyer and seller. If Apple's products are deemed inferior, they will either need to fix them or go out of business.



    The racist part wasn't directed at you.

    And we are not going to discuss politics, but you have your american view about markets and governments that make stuff expensive, I have my european view of markets regulated so that they stay on true competition and governments that apply taxes so that citizens can enjoy other benefits like health care and aid for the jobless.



    EDIT



    For me, the "let the market decide" is an illusion. The market (the people) are dumb in general, they are influenced by ads and trends, and are going to buy a product even if it's not as perfect as marketed.

    PEACE
  • prof. peabodyprof. peabody Posts: 2,860member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by frenchseb View Post


    Everytime Apple breaks the law somewhere we get that silly comment. Country needs Apple more than Apple needs country (replace country with anyone except US and China...)

    This is so ridiculous, can you actually conceptualize in your brain that countries can have their own set of laws and that they dont have to adapt their laws depending on what Apple does in the US ?

    Anyhow why would you worry about guarantee issues, I am sure you think Apple product never fail.



    Oh come on. You are exaggerating at best. These kind of comments don't *always* follow such situations and just saying "you always say that" (or the equivalent) is more childish than the original comment.



    In this particular case we have a country with a failing economy fining one of the best retail operations on the planet, selling currently some of the most popular items on the planet, who have only recently moved to opening lots of stores in said country.



    I think it's totally fair to characterise this particular situation as "Italy needing Apple more than Apple needs Italy." There are countries all around Italy that don't take more than a few hours to drive to selling the same product.



    And while we are talking about "ridiculous" situations ... it's an absolutely idiotic and completely ridiculous idea to give a manufacturers paid warranty for a product that almost matches the lifetime of the average product in duration. Most technological products nowadays are designed to be obsolete and possibly in need of replacement on a two year cycle, with complete self-destruct kicking in at the four year minimum.



    Giving a free two year warranty is retail suicide.
  • habanerohabanero Posts: 77member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post


    I think the over abundance of government is universal. ... Let the market decide if Apple's products are worth buying. If they don't last as long as expected, you can buy from competitors. This is simply not something that government should be involved in. This is an implied contract between buyer and seller. If Apple's products are deemed inferior, they will either need to fix them or go out of business.



    In theory (or in some right-wing think tank) that's logical, but if Apple (et al) didn't have to offer any warranty, it would really hurt the minimum-wage-earning consumer who saved up for a year to buy a Mac, only to have it fail. If Apple decided "no, we won't fix that" the consumer is screwed.



    That's what Government is supposed to do: keep the little guy from getting screwed by the huge corporations, since it hurts the little guy far more than one pissed customer can hurt a corporation.
  • apple ][apple ][ Posts: 7,540member
    Italy is in the shitter, economically speaking, like much of Europe.



    The solution to the law is for Apple to raise their prices in all of the countries affected by this extended warranty. Make EU people pay even more for their Apple devices. Apple does not need cheap Europeans buying their stuff. They should pay the extra costs associated with their law, just like they have to pay out of the ass in extra taxes, VAT and all other sorts of EU nonsense.



    The price of Apple devices should rise by at least 5% in all EU countries in order to pay for the costs of getting an extended warranty. Fair is fair and everybody should pay their fair share for their services and goods received. Those Euroheads who don't like it can always buy Android or some other crap.
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