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Italian authorities fine Apple another $264K over product warranties

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
Apple's changes to its product warranty policies in Italy have been enough to satisfy investigators, but not before the company was slapped with one final fine totaling $264,000.

A year ago, Italy fined Apple 900,000 euros, or $1.2 million, in response to complaints of "unfair commercial practices" related to the company's AppleCare product warranties. The Italian Antitrust Authority deemed that Apple did not provide adequate information to customers about the length of product guarantees, because local laws require companies to protect buyers with a free two-year warranty.

Even after being hit with that fine, Apple continued to offer customers AppleCare to purchase a two-year warranty rather than receiving one for free. That prompted Italian investigators to again threaten Apple in July.

Italy


AppleCare warranties were eventually pulled from Apple's retail shelves in Italy last month in response to continuing antitrust concerns associated with European Union warranty laws. Customers can still purchase AppleCare from the company's website, where a disclaimer notes that the product's "benefits are in addition to two-year warranty from the seller under the Italian legislation to protect consumers."

While that change made Apple in compliance with the law, the Italian antitrust agency still opted to fine the company an additional 200,000 euros, or $264,000, according to The Next Web. That fine covers the period from March 28 to Nov. 10 in which Apple was not in compliance with local laws.

Authorities arrived at the 200,000 euro fine through a collection of six total fines. Each of Apple's business units in Italy will also share the fine: 120,000 euros to Apple Sales International, 40,000 euros to Apple Italia Srl, and 40,000 euros to Apple Retail Italia Srl.

While Apple has settled its dispute with Italian authorities, the company still faces a class-action lawsuit that was filed in October. That complaint alleges that the company continued to violate the EU's warranty regulations after it was fined last December.
post #2 of 36

Apple should just f*cking pull out of Italy completely.  

 

This is crazy the way they keep hounding them to honour their ridiculous two year warranty law.  It's not like the Italians won't immediately just buy online or get stuff from any one of a half dozen near by European countries.  

post #3 of 36
AppleCare coverage is different than the mandatory one from EU law.
It covers more issues and is provided directly by Apple and its AppleStore while the EU mandatory warranty is provided by the seller.
post #4 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Apple should just f*cking pull out of Italy completely.  

 

This is crazy the way they keep hounding them to honour their ridiculous two year warranty law.  It's not like the Italians won't immediately just buy online or get stuff from any one of a half dozen near by European countries.  

 

So far, Apple has been fined just over a million euros. Do you think that is more or less than what they make in Italy per year?

 

I'm thinking, less.

post #5 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by OlivierL View Post

AppleCare coverage is different than the mandatory one from EU law.
It covers more issues and is provided directly by Apple and its AppleStore while the EU mandatory warranty is provided by the seller.
Then Apple needs to state this and also explicitly say what is covered with and without AppleCare. We should not be standing behind Apple on this one.
post #6 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Apple should just f*cking pull out of Italy completely.  

This is crazy the way they keep hounding them to honour their ridiculous two year warranty law.  It's not like the Italians won't immediately just buy online or get stuff from any one of a half dozen near by European countries.  

1) Over $264,000? No way! That would not be the financially sound move.

2) I quite like the 2 year mandatory coverage.

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post #7 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Apple should just f*cking pull out of Italy completely.

This is crazy the way they keep hounding them to honour their ridiculous two year warranty law. It's not like the Italians won't immediately just buy online or get stuff from any one of a half dozen near by European countries.

What you really mean is Apple should just pull out of the EU altogether - that's only a market of 500 million people - because the law they were not in compliance with is one that pertains to the whole of the EU. If Italy hadn't forced them into line, another EU member state likely would have.

I know those who think Apple is beyond reproach - always and in everything - feel entire countries should bow to them, but in more sane venues, people generally think companies should abide by laws. Apple has chosen to behave in a childish and petulant manner in both the UK and Italy. At some point, they might grow up.

What is ridiculous about a 2 year warranty? As a consumer, I view it as very sensible and a welcome protection.
post #8 of 36
Im
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Apple should just f*cking pull out of Italy completely.  

This is crazy the way they keep hounding them to honour their ridiculous two year warranty law.  It's not like the Italians won't immediately just buy online or get stuff from any one of a half dozen near by European countries.  
[/quoI']

I'm sorry, added protections are not "ridiculous." They are protections. How many times have you had a product go bad just after it's one-year warranty expired? I have. Please stop ranting like an "I don't care about the masses" Republican.
post #9 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by justbobf View Post

Then Apple needs to state this and also explicitly say what is covered with and without AppleCare. We should not be standing behind Apple on this one.

Looks like they cover it well to me.

US: http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/applecare
Quote:
Every Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, and display comes with complimentary telephone technical support for 90 days after your purchase and a one-year limited warranty. The AppleCare Protection Plan and AppleCare+ extend your service coverage and give you one-stop service and support from Apple experts.


IT: http://store.apple.com/it/browse/home/applecare
Quote:
AppleCare Protection Plan ti offre assistenza tecnica telefonica da parte di esperti Apple e opzioni aggiuntive per le riparazioni hardware, così puoi risolvere con un’unica chiamata la maggior parte dei problemi.

I vantaggi di AppleCare Protection Plan si aggiungono alla garanzia biennale del venditore prevista dalla normativa italiana a tutela del consumatore.

Google Translation...
Quote:
AppleCare Protection Plan provides telephone technical support from Apple technical experts and additional options for hardware repairs, so you can solve with a single call most of the problems.

The AppleCare Protection Plan benefits are added to the two-year warranty from the seller under the Italian legislation to protect consumers.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #10 of 36

I see both sides on this one.  But at the end of the day, Apple knows the laws of the EU, and you have to pay to play.  If they're going to sell products in EU countries, they have to abide by EU laws.

 

Is the law ridiculous?  Possibly.  Probably.  I see the benefit as a consumer but it only raises prices, which the consumer then must absorb whether he uses the warranty or not.  

post #11 of 36

This is just the cost of doing business in that location. Locals get the extra regulation and costs they want, Apple continues to profit. Everybody wins.

post #12 of 36
I for one am very happy that the EU has the compulsory 24 month warranty. Just last week I managed to force Apple to replace my iPhone 4S, the power button at the top decided one day that it was not going to work, my iPhone is always in a protective silicone case and is well looked after so the fault was certainly not one caused by mistreatment. Initially they tried to get me to either live with the problem or pay £139 for a replacement handset....

Lets just say that I was not going to take that lying down! After multiple calls to apple care they folded after I provided the law to the in writing.
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post #13 of 36
Originally Posted by saarek View Post
…the power button at the top decided one day that it was not going to work, my iPhone is always in a protective silicone case and is well looked after so the fault was certainly not one caused by mistreatment.

 

But was it a defect with the product? 

Originally Posted by Marvin

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Originally Posted by Marvin

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post #14 of 36

It's just a cost of doing business.  Not really worthy of news.

post #15 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

But was it a defect with the product? 


What else could it be?

post #16 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

But was it a defect with the product? 

Well, simply google the issue & you tell me. There are plenty or reports online, especially on Apples forums of users complaining of the issue. The fact is, at least in my mind, that I paid £500 ($800) cash on this device, 41 days past the official Apple warranty the button malfunctioned.

The device was extremely well looked after, the Genius commented that the iPhone was "pristine, like new".

Now you may agree with Apples stance and feel that I should have coughed up £140, personally I felt they were taking the piss & told them so. If needed I'd have gone all the way to the small claims court. It was not the money, I could afford £140, it's the principal.
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post #17 of 36
Originally Posted by saarek View Post
There are plenty or reports online, especially on Apples forums of users complaining of the issue.

 

And yet that doesn't make it an actual issue. We don't know the conditions of each of these complaints. You've taken care of your device, so it seems that the error would be on the part of Apple; a part was faulty or something. But I've carried my iPhone daily for five years, no case, straight in my pocket. I have no issues with my button. 

 

I'd venture that most Home Button and Sleep/Wake Button problems stem from mistreatment, not to say that they cannot or do not happen due to an otherwise broken part.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #18 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rayz View Post

 

So far, Apple has been fined just over a million euros. Do you think that is more or less than what they make in Italy per year?

 

I'm thinking, less.

 

Even if Apple makes half the profit margin it does in Italy that it does elsewhere, it wouldn't have to appeal to many a very large share of the Italian market to make a million euros. There are more than sixty million Italians. Pulling out over a million euro fine would be dumb. Apple spends a lot of time in court: they know they're not going to win every time; it's just a cost of doing business. 

post #19 of 36
just like I need to follow all the rules in the AppStore - Apple needs to follow all the rules in the EU. Not that complicated.
post #20 of 36
H
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

What you really mean is Apple should just pull out of the EU altogether - that's only a market of 500 million people...blah...blah...blah...blah

Hey,

You took a view against, opposing, and critical of Apple.

What an utter, utter, utter...UTTER surprise. 1wink.gif
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post #21 of 36
As the saying goes 'when in Rome..........'. Relationships are a two way thing If you pardon my French this is good for monsieur Tout-le-Monde
post #22 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by justbobf View Post

Then Apple needs to state this and also explicitly say what is covered with and without AppleCare. We should not be standing behind Apple on this one.

No, consumers need to be mature and do a little work for themselves.

The only reason not to stand behind Apple in this is if someone goes to them, under this law, with something they bought from Apple that they can prove was defective when they bought it and they can prove this beyond a doubt and can prove that Apple refused to act properly.

If you are going to buy something, especially something that expense, educate yourself on your rights. Because the sellers are required to follow the laws but they are not required to assume you are stupid and too lazy to sort it out yourselves.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #23 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

.
2) I quite like the 2 year mandatory coverage.

It sounds really great on the surface until you try to file a claim when, for example, your hard drive crashes at 14 months and you find out that Apple can legally refuse to do squat because

A. In said country after six months the burden of proof is on the customers
B. you can't prove it was delivered defective as required under the law
C. You didn't buy it from Apple so you would have to go back to the actual seller even if you could prove it
D. You don't have AppleCare

Then you won't like that lack of 'mandatory' coverage

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #24 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post


What else could it be?

Physical damage from dropping the phone.

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post #25 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I'd venture that most Home Button and Sleep/Wake Button problems stem from mistreatment, not to say that they cannot or do not happen due to an otherwise broken part.

 

I'd venture that using air in a can to blow out the dock connector also blows out dust that can accumulate under the home button, which often fixes this wear and tear issue.

 

Do it all the time.

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post #26 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

Physical damage from dropping the phone.

I can assure you that, at least in my case, the malfunction was not due to a dropped handset.
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post #27 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Apple should just f*cking pull out of Italy completely.  

 

This is crazy the way they keep hounding them to honour their ridiculous two year warranty law.  It's not like the Italians won't immediately just buy online or get stuff from any one of a half dozen near by European countries.  

 

I kind of wish people like you were in charge at Apple because if you had your way, Apple would not be selling in Mexico, England, Italy or any other country where they pay fines for breaking the law.  And to me, that would be a good thing.   I personally think you should think with less emotion.  Do you really think Apple should forfeit all their future sales in Italy for a fine of 264K?  Would you ask them to pull out of a country because one of your favourite C level officers got an unfair parking ticket?  Where does it end?.....

post #28 of 36
You see stuck Home buttons reported all the time on iPhone forums.   It doesn't seem to require "abuse".   (How do you abuse the Home button, anyway?)
 
IFixit's website says that the Home button is a common failure point:  
 
"Lots of failure apparently. A stuck or sticky Home Button is the third most common failure on an iPhone, behind a dead battery and a broken panel."
 
(A stuck Home button makes sense.   I'm far more surprised at the dead batteries, although there seem to be bad batches at times.)
post #29 of 36

The fact is that it's law in the EU. Apple has no choice.

 

But anyway, what's the problem ? Apple devices are perfect in every respect. Nothing ever breaks, so complying with the law would obviously be a zero-cost measure. Failing to comply with the law will get expensive as the fines increase exponentially in all EU countries.

 

Live with it and stop the whining.
 

post #30 of 36
@Gazoobee
I sure hope you'll do a 180 after reading the responses to your post.
Quote:
Originally Posted by saarek View Post

After multiple calls to apple care they folded after I provided the law to the in writing.

I read this every now and then, but people never write what it is they are showing Apple. Can you post your words or the letter to provided to Apple that made them reverse their initial stance?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I've carried my iPhone daily for five years, no case, straight in my pocket.

You should receive an iTunes gift card from Apple for the person holding on the longest to their iPhone. 3 years I have heard of, never 5. Props to you sir. Apple could market this. The competition shouldn't, because the phone ought to be in working condition, obviously.
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

No, consumers need to be mature and do a little work for themselves.

If you are going to buy something, especially something that expense, educate yourself on your rights. Because the sellers are required to follow the laws but they are not required to assume you are stupid and too lazy to sort it out yourselves.

Excellent post! This is precisely what the issue entails: the 2 year mandatory warranty is a law, and the law expects people to know it. People who don't miss out on things in life. Some end up sharing their stupidity on forums, like this one.

The European 2 year warranty does not for instance cover the same items in month #23 compared to what is covered in the first 6 months. Yet many people just assume 2 year warranty means just that, while it definitely is more complex. Which should be obvious if you think about it a little.

AppleCare covers more than what the law requires, so it still makes sense for Apple to advertise and sell it, and for people to buy it. I buy it for that very reason.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Taniwha View Post

The fact is that it's law in the EU. Apple has no choice.

You don't seem to understand the difference between the mandatory warranty and what Apple sells under the moniker AppleCare. Read up on it and post back.
Quote:
Apple devices are perfect in every respect. ..stop the whining.

Indeed, stop it.
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post #31 of 36
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post
You should receive an iTunes gift card from Apple for the person holding on the longest to their iPhone. 3 years I have heard of, never 5. Props to you sir. Apple could market this. The competition shouldn't, because the phone ought to be in working condition, obviously.

 

An iTunes gift card? Not an Apple gift card equivalent to the value of a modern iPhone? 1wink.gif

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #32 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

An iTunes gift card? Not an Apple gift card equivalent to the value of a modern iPhone? 1wink.gif

Ooh, you're right! And they even go up to $2000, so they could double the price of an iPhone and you'd still be good.

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post #33 of 36
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post
Ooh, you're right! And they even go up to $2000, so they could double the price of an iPhone and you'd still be good.

 

I can't wait for the day when they finally merge that. There's an Apple Store app, for heaven's sake. If I can't use the account synced with my device to make purchases in it, that seems a little silly.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #34 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I can't wait for the day when they finally merge that. There's an Apple Store app, for heaven's sake. If I can't use the account synced with my device to make purchases in it, that seems a little silly.

Excellent idea, but for that to work the kind and giving grandma would need to know the email address / AppleID of their beloved in order to credit their account. Right now they just buy a card and post it my mail. Am I missing something, even though I like your idea?
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post #35 of 36
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post
Excellent idea, but for that to work the kind and giving grandma would need to know the email address / AppleID of their beloved in order to credit their account. Right now they just buy a card and post it my mail. Am I missing something, even though I like your idea?

 

I just mean that "iTunes Gift Cards" would just become Apple Gift Cards, sold everywhere they're already sold but also usable for purchases of physical product from the Online Apple Store.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #36 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

Excellent idea, but for that to work the kind and giving grandma would need to know the email address / AppleID of their beloved in order to credit their account. Right now they just buy a card and post it my mail. Am I missing something, even though I like your idea?

I just mean that "iTunes Gift Cards" would just become Apple Gift Cards, sold everywhere they're already sold but also usable for purchases of physical product from the Online Apple Store.

Ah ok, I see. That would be better. Perhaps Apple's financial system has something to do with this. Income from hardware from NL, DE, FR, BE, LUX gets taxed in Ireland as the money is routed there, but software goes to LUX to the best of my knowledge that is...
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