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Apple hit by Belgian product warranty complaint, Russian railway trademark suit

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
Following in the footsteps of Italian regulators, a nonprofit consumer protection group in Belgium has taken issue with Apple's advertised product warranties, while a Russian rail company has filed suit over an alleged trademark violation.

Belgium AppleCare



After sorting out issues relating to extended warranties in Italy with a final $264,000 fine, Apple on Tuesday was hit with another complaint from a European consumer advocate group, this time from Belgium.

Belgium AppleCare
Belgian Online Apple Store's AppleCare webpage with footnote link to EU warranty rights (in red). | Source: Apple


Citing the Italian case as precedent, Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats filed a complaint on Monday, claiming the way in which Apple markets its AppleCare warranties to Belgian consumers is improper according to EU law, reports TechCrunch.

The European Union mandates that all consumer electronics purchases in the region be backed by a two-year warranty from the manufacturer, a sticking point for Apple which only offers a limited one-year warranty for its products. In March of 2012, Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats joined forces with ten other groups to force Apple to change its policies, but the petitions went unrecognized resulting in the watchdog's complaint.

In its case with Italian authorities, Apple modified its warranty labeling both on its website and on physical display boxes to better inform customers that they were entitled to a two-year warranty per EU law. Italy initially fined the company 900,000 euros, or $1.2 million, in 2011 for what it considered to be "unfair commercial practices."

While Apple currently has a webpage on the Belgium Online Apple Store dedicated to informing European customers of their warranty rights, the link is located in a small footnote on the AppleCare Protection Plan page.

Russian Railways Suit



In addition to the Belgian complaint, Apple was hit with a suit from Russian Railways on Monday in which the transportation company is claiming damages of 2 million rubles, or $65,000, for alleged trademark infringement.

RZD
Certified "RZD" trademark. | Source: FISP


According to a via TechCrunch) regarding the complaint, the Moscow-based Russian Railways is claiming its Trademark No. 341333 was infringed when pictures of the image were posted on the "online Apple Store." A check with the Russian Federation's Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Patents and Trademarks (FIPS), the trademark in question is the red and white "RZD" logo that was registered and published in 2008.

The statement's wording is unclear, but Russian Railways could be referring to app icons seen in the App Store which may bear the RZD logo without permission.
post #2 of 34
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post
The statement's wording is unclear, but Russian Railways could be referring to app icons seen in the App Store which may bear the RZD logo without permission.

 

This would be the fault of the respective developers and not Apple, correct? Should it be the case, of course.

post #3 of 34
The description of the copyright claim is a bit vague... I blame AppleInsider.

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post #4 of 34
the EU warranties item needs to be pushed. Other countries have the same type of requirements. NZ is potentially even longer, depending on how you take the vaguely worded consumer law, but apple still ignores it with their 1year rubbish. Unfortunately a lot of companies flout that law, and there appears to be little desire to take legal action on the companies.
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post #5 of 34
EU mandate is 'warranty' by seller, not manufacturer.

All these complaints are basically that Apple doesn't cater to the lazy and stupid and spell out what those 'in addition to protections provided by local laws' protections mean.

I say Apple just kill all Apple programs in the EU. Lets see what happens when someone's totally functioning mic in the iPhone they bought at a carrier store fails at 11 months in and local law says they have to prove it wasn't working when they bought it tries to get a free replacement from Apple. Won't happen but it would have under Apple's voluntary 1 year manufacturer's program. I say they refuse to let folks buy service parts even. Let them buy retail to replace it.

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post #6 of 34

Lets pick on Apple, not the developer.  They know that Apple has Billions and will pay out.

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post #7 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

This would be the fault of the respective developers and not Apple, correct? Should it be the case, of course.

 

Or should it? Of course a developer has a large responsibility.

 

But as the seller, Apple has responsibility too - especially given that Apps have to go through a stringent approval process, which Apple touts as a major benefit of the iOS platform. 

 

Seeing as Apple is so keen to take a 30% cut, maybe they should pay 30% of damages (should it be the case) and the developer 70%.

post #8 of 34
If the EU is going to start cracking down perhaps it's time for Apple to take the warranty lead and offer 2 years to all countries. If there's any company who could do it, it's Apple. I liken it to when car manufacturers want to stand out... Usually it's the up-and-coming brands (Hyundai/KIA) or ones trying to re-establish reputation (GM, Jaguar/Land Rover).
Apple doesn't really fall into those categories but I say they should do it and market it.
post #9 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevt View Post

Or should it? Of course a developer has a large responsibility.

But as the seller, Apple has responsibility too - especially given that Apps have to go through a stringent approval process, which Apple touts as a major benefit of the iOS platform. 

Seeing as Apple is so keen to take a 30% cut, maybe they should pay 30% of damages (should it be the case) and the developer 70%.

Apple's approval is to ensure that the app works, doesn't violate Apple's terms of service, and doesn't contain known malware. Apple never claimed that they'd be looking for copyright infringement. In fact, they specifically state that they do not do so - as it would be nearly impossible.
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

EU mandate is 'warranty' by seller, not manufacturer. .

That's my understanding, as well.

Not to mention, of course, that AppleCare offers things that are not covered by the warranty, so there's nothing illegal about offering it.
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post #10 of 34
These warranty laws are BS, and not surprisingly apple has run afoul of this nonsense.
post #11 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevt View Post

 

Or should it? Of course a developer has a large responsibility.

 

But as the seller, Apple has responsibility too - especially given that Apps have to go through a stringent approval process, which Apple touts as a major benefit of the iOS platform. 

 

Seeing as Apple is so keen to take a 30% cut, maybe they should pay 30% of damages (should it be the case) and the developer 70%.

I disagree.   The approval process is primarily about technical issues.   Apple cannot be responsible for copyright issues within each application.   Do you realize what it would cost Apple to perform the research to make sure that the developer had all rights to the content within the app?  That's totally impractical.   Do you also think that Apple has to make sure that every song on iTunes has not illegally copied another existing song?    Because to be consistent, you would have to believe that.

 

This is about one thing.  "Let's sue Apple...I bet if we keep the damages low enough, they won't fight it and they'll just pay us off."

post #12 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ifij775 View Post

These warranty laws are BS, and not surprisingly apple has run afoul of this nonsense.

Why do you think it's BS? The customer gets warranty on the products they buy. First 6 months this and this covered by warranty, month 7 through 12 this and this is covered and the 2nd year covers this and this. Yes, it's a tiered warranty, if you will.

I think the whole complaint on the AppleCare product / not eye-catching enough consumer rights mention on Apple websites in the EU is total BS. Covered in great length in the Italian job threads.
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post #13 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by cycomiko View Post

the EU warranties item needs to be pushed. Other countries have the same type of requirements. NZ is potentially even longer, depending on how you take the vaguely worded consumer law, but apple still ignores it with their 1year rubbish. Unfortunately a lot of companies flout that law, and there appears to be little desire to take legal action on the companies.

 

They don't actually ignore it. They follow it to the letter of the law. The issue seems to be the confusion around Applecare. Applecare goes above and beyond what the law requires, but they complain as it looks like Apple is telling people they must buy Applecare for coverage. All Apple is selling is premium coverage which is not illegal. They really need to clean up the wording on their Applecare programs and training of their staff. What they are doing is legal, but they need to make it more obvious to keep these consumer protection organizations from complaining. 

post #14 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by cycomiko View Post

the EU warranties item needs to be pushed. Other countries have the same type of requirements. NZ is potentially even longer, depending on how you take the vaguely worded consumer law, but apple still ignores it with their 1year rubbish. Unfortunately a lot of companies flout that law, and there appears to be little desire to take legal action on the companies.

They don't actually ignore it. They follow it to the letter of the law. The issue seems to be the confusion around Applecare. Applecare goes above and beyond what the law requires, but they complain as it looks like Apple is telling people they must buy Applecare for coverage. All Apple is selling is premium coverage which is not illegal. They really need to clean up the wording on their Applecare programs and training of their staff. What they are doing is legal, but they need to make it more obvious to keep these consumer protection organizations from complaining. 

Excellent point! That is indeed was is needed.
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post #15 of 34

Apple is acting illegaly, period. I experienced it.

My iPod Nano had broken up in less than 2 years.

I took it to the Apple Store for a free replacement as the european law imposes (and that's also common sense, a Nano shouldn't break by itself after less than 2 years or it's a shitty product).

They didn't want to give it to me.

I called Apple by phone, said I was taping the conversation and that I would sue if I didn't get the replacement, they agreed right away and I picked it from the same Apple Store.

They are taking advantage of customers who don't know their rights and won't insist like I did in order to avoid respecting the law.
 

post #16 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

I say Apple just kill all Apple programs in the EU.

Grow up! Apple make a lot of money in the EU. These fines are a tiny fraction of the money they take and the fines are a fraction of what it costs to replace or repair products between year 1and 2. At the moment these fines are the cheapest way forwards for Apple.
Not to mention that pulling products from the EU on these grounds would just lead to EU sueing for discrimination.
The world doesn't revolve around America you know.

Maybe Americans should stop buying Apple products until they get the 2 year warranty too. You are only doing yourself out of what can easily be offered by Apple.
post #17 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClemyNX View Post

Apple is acting illegaly, period. I experienced it.
My iPod Nano had broken up in less than 2 years.
I took it to the Apple Store for a free replacement as the european law imposes (and that's also common sense, a Nano shouldn't break by itself after less than 2 years or it's a shitty product).
They didn't want to give it to me.
I called Apple by phone, said I was taping the conversation and that I would sue if I didn't get the replacement, they agreed right away and I picked it from the same Apple Store.
They are taking advantage of customers who don't know their rights and won't insist like I did in order to avoid respecting the law.

 

So Apple honored the warranty. Therefore your claims that they are breaking the law are false.
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post #18 of 34

Apple deserves to be nailed for their attitude to this in the EU.

 

If you were buying a 15" Macbook Pro Retina in Ireland, Applecare is going to cost you €349 vs a purchase price of €2349.  That's about 15% the cost of buying it for effectively one years extra warranty.  IMO, you would have to be a mug to buy it.  To find out you are covered by the two year statutory warranty, you have to go to the second last link on the page - the word 'warranty' is not even on the support page.

 

If you go through the purchase process in the store, and click on the service and support tab, you get taken straight to the Applecare add-on.  Again, it doesn't even tell you you about Apple's own one-year warranty, you have to click on the 'learn more' tab before you get a bit more info.  Even when you do that Apple is being deliberately misleading, they have this helpful little graphic:

 

The Year 2 segment should at least be coloured and labeled to indicate it is covered by Apple under EU laws. Again, to get the full picture, you have to click a further link to learn about the 2 year warranty:  They even resort to visual trickery to try and exaggerate the benefit of applecare - the Year 1 segment is 5mm shorter than the other two.

 

Quote:
* Apple One-Year Limited Warranty and AppleCare Protection Plan benefits are in addition to rights provided under consumer law. For details, click here.
post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

EU mandate is 'warranty' by seller, not manufacturer.

All these complaints are basically that Apple doesn't cater to the lazy and stupid and spell out what those 'in addition to protections provided by local laws' protections mean.

I say Apple just kill all Apple programs in the EU. Lets see what happens when someone's totally functioning mic in the iPhone they bought at a carrier store fails at 11 months in and local law says they have to prove it wasn't working when they bought it tries to get a free replacement from Apple. Won't happen but it would have under Apple's voluntary 1 year manufacturer's program. I say they refuse to let folks buy service parts even. Let them buy retail to replace it.


Lol the thing is that if that happens now, the carrier will replace the phone, and there's nothing to prove if the fault is apparent, like a mic not functionning, even if it happened after purchase. On the other hand, if you buy it from an Apple Store, Apple will refuse to replace it, contrary to law.

post #20 of 34

Don's Europeans understand that warranty does not come for free?

 

That the 2-year warranty comes with a price increase that you must pay whether you want it or not. No wonder that the most common question on consumer goods forums is " Why does this camera (computer, phone) cost so much more in EU than in the USA, even VAT accounted for?". Wouldn't be much better if a consumer decides for himself whether he wants a 2year warranty and pay extra? I guess, the government knows better ;)

post #21 of 34

They cost more in Europe 'before' the EU legislation was enacted.  The US market is pre-dominated by cheapskates.  Many products cost less in the US than even in their home markets.  It's got next to nothing to do with the cost of honouring warranties.
 

A pair of B&W 802D speakers will cost you $12,000 in the US and the £ equivalent of $18,481 in the UK.  Sales/Vat  tax differences also play a part.

post #22 of 34

That's what I'm saying. The EU customers have to pay more for many reasons  - VAT, customs.. The mandatory 2-year warrant is just another add-on that was put on top of that, you want it or not.

 

Case in point - Apple Store in the US, Mac Book Air top model $1499, in the UK £1249 or $1998 in $ equivalent. You still want that warranty :)

post #23 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plagen View Post

Don's Europeans understand that warranty does not come for free?

 

That the 2-year warranty comes with a price increase that you must pay whether you want it or not. No wonder that the most common question on consumer goods forums is " Why does this camera (computer, phone) cost so much more in EU than in the USA, even VAT accounted for?". Wouldn't be much better if a consumer decides for himself whether he wants a 2year warranty and pay extra? I guess, the government knows better ;)


Yes, we europeans are too stupid to understand that. Give me a break.

post #24 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClemyNX View Post


Yes, we europeans are too stupid to understand that. Give me a break.

And you still support it. Socialism at its best. Good thing I left Europe :)

post #25 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plagen View Post

That's what I'm saying. The EU customers have to pay more for many reasons  - VAT, customs.. The mandatory 2-year warrant is just another add-on that was put on top of that, you want it or not.

 

Case in point - Apple Store in the US, Mac Book Air top model $1499, in the UK £1249 or $1998 in $ equivalent. You still want that warranty :)


You stiil don't seem to understand.  The warranty has a negligible impact on the price to the point it does not account for the price difference.  Prices were higher in Europe than the US, long before the 2 year warrant legislation was introduced.  The main cause of the price difference is manufacturers artificially discounting their prices just for the US market, because they percieve that market wouldn't accept the same prices as in other countries.

 

Australia doesn't have 2 year warranties.  The top model Macbook Air is $1782 there.  Those 802D speakers are $26,381 there - way more than double the US price.  The length of the warranty has no meaningful bearing on those price differences.


Edited by cnocbui - 1/16/13 at 7:16am
post #26 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post


You stiil don't seem to understand.  The warranty has a negligible impact on the price to the point it does not account for the price difference.  Prices were higher in Europe than the US, long before the 2 year warrant legislation was introduced.  The main cause of the price difference is manufacturers artificially discounting their prices just for the US market, because they percieve that market wouldn't accept the same prices as in other countries.

 

Australia doesn't have 2 year warranties.  The top model Macbook Air is $1782 there.  Those 802D speakers are $26,381 there - way more than double the US price.  The length of the warranty was no meaningful bearing on the price.

Poor naivete. If you still believe that the extra year warranty comes comes for free (or negligible, as you put it), I have the Brooklyn Bridge for sale.

post #27 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

They cost more in Europe 'before' the EU legislation was enacted.  The US market is pre-dominated by cheapskates.  Many products cost less in the US than even in their home markets.  It's got next to nothing to do with the cost of honouring warranties.

 
A pair of B&W 802D speakers will cost you $12,000 in the US and the £ equivalent of $18,481 in the UK.  Sales/Vat  tax differences also play a part.

Cheapskates? Really? They sell their products for what the market will pay and price them accordingly to meet their target margin. If Europeans choose to pay more even after all taxes that is their fault.
post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by iSteelers View Post


Cheapskates? Really? They sell their products for what the market will pay and price them accordingly to meet their target margin. If Europeans choose to pay more even after all taxes that is their fault.

Talking about cheapskates...

I know many Londoners who fly to NYC to buy a photo camera. Saves a few bucks even with the air fare on top of the camera price.

post #29 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plagen View Post

Talking about cheapskates...

I know many Londoners who fly to NYC to buy a photo camera. Saves a few bucks even with the air fare on top of the camera price.

That, and there's nothing better than a visit to B&H!

post #30 of 34
This forum remains the same cesspit of misinformation and bigotry as ever.
Quote:
EU mandate is 'warranty' by seller, not manufacturer.

Nope, any of the parties involved in the sale are equally responsible for honoring the warranty. This is not to mention that Apple is actually a seller here, with fully blown brick ad mortar stores, stores in stores, and online stores. If your products are sold in the EU, you are responsible for respecting EU laws.

Quote:
All these complaints are basically that Apple doesn't cater to the lazy and stupid and spell out what those 'in addition to protections provided by local laws' protections mean.

Nope, the complaints are about Apple breaking the law, which states that they must explicitly mention the two-year warranty period.

Quote:
I say Apple just kill all Apple programs in the EU. Lets see what happens when someone's totally functioning mic in the iPhone they bought at a carrier store fails at 11 months in and local law says they have to prove it wasn't working when they bought it tries to get a free replacement from Apple.

Neither Directive 99/44/EC nor any local laws that I'm aware of make such a requirement. Legally, the burden of proof is on the vendor / distributor / manufacturer because the consumer can always argue plausible inability to provide evidence without voiding the warranty. Furthermore, most other vendors / distributors / manufacturers follow the law; Apple is the exception here, not the norm.

Quote:
Won't happen but it would have under Apple's voluntary 1 year manufacturer's program. I say they refuse to let folks buy service parts even. Let them buy retail to replace it.

It's two years, not one, and as demonstrated above, it wouldn't happen in the 23rd month either, because the responsibility of proving that the mic wasn't damaged by a manufacturing fault is Apple's.

Quote:
These warranty laws are BS, and not surprisingly apple has run afoul of this nonsense.

Why are they BS or nonsense? Mind to elaborate a little on it and state your logical ground so that I can refute?

Quote:
They don't actually ignore it. They follow it to the letter of the law.

No, they do not. They are required to explicitly advertise two years of warranty and only advertise one.

Quote:
The issue seems to be the confusion around Applecare. Applecare goes above and beyond what the law requires, but they complain as it looks like Apple is telling people they must buy Applecare for coverage.

No, it does not. AppleCare does not offer you anything beyond what the voluntary 2-year warranty period already offers. This is actually another issue with the way Apple advertises their warranties, they talk about limited 2-year warranty when AppleCare is just as limited, in an attempt to confuse people into buying something they don't need.

Quote:
What they are doing is legal, but they need to make it more obvious to keep these consumer protection organizations from complaining.

If it was legal, consumer protection groups would have no legal ground to complain.

Quote:
Don's Europeans understand that warranty does not come for free?

Theoretically, it does. Warranty only stops being free when things start to break, so it's in the manufacturer's interest to make sure that doesn't happen often, if at all.

Quote:
That the 2-year warranty comes with a price increase that you must pay whether you want it or not. No wonder that the most common question on consumer goods forums is " Why does this camera (computer, phone) cost so much more in EU than in the USA, even VAT accounted for?". Wouldn't be much better if a consumer decides for himself whether he wants a 2year warranty and pay extra? I guess, the government knows better 1wink.gif

Ignorance breeds ignorance. For starters, sellers are required to announce the final price here, VAT included, whereas in the US the price does not include VAT, which varies on a state to state and sometimes city to city basis. Secondly, VAT here is traditionally much higher than in the US, and this has absolutely nothing to do with warranties. Thirdly, consumer electronics have historically always been more expensive in the EU than in the US, even before Directive 99/44/EC.
post #31 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ifij775 View Post

These warranty laws are BS
Why?
post #32 of 34
"Seeing as Apple is so keen to take a 30% cut, maybe they should pay 30% of damages (should it be the case) and the developer 70%"

Apple provides the software to create the app, Apple does the marketing to get customers to come to the online store, which Apple provides for free. Developers can even give away their software; ie 30% of $0.00 = Loss to Apple because they still have fixed costs. Standard retail markup is 100%, so Apple is a good bargain

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post #33 of 34
Quote:
Don's Europeans understand that warranty does not come for free?
Originally Posted by Vaelian View Post


Theoretically, it does. Warranty only stops being free when things start to break, so it's in the manufacturer's interest to make sure that doesn't happen often, if at all.
 

 

Soon you will believe  that because KIA cars have 10 year warranty they don't break during the warranty period. Have to disappoint you, they do. The only reason KIA can offer this is because the price of repair is already included in the list price. Exactly the way your 2-year warranted electronics. But, to paraphrase you - ignorance breeds blissfulness.

post #34 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plagen View Post

You still want that warranty :)

Do you honestly believe that if Apple could legally offer a 1 year only warranty in the EU then the price would go down?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by iSteelers View Post


If Europeans choose to pay more even after all taxes that is their fault.

Yes, because everyone in Europe gather around a table to decide on the price of things. Maybe we should all team up and not buy Apple products.

Of course, that's not gonna happen because the other options are PCs and Android.

 

Clearly no American understands the real reason for the difference between the US and EU price, It's nothing to do with shipping, VAT, import or warranties.

 

There are more people in Europe than in USA and Canada combined and there are 11 currencies used in Europe.

As Europe has very similar pricing throughout, the price of products have to take into account the highest and lowest currency worth.

The "worth" of a certain currency fluctuates in comparison to all other currencies (Dollar, Yen etc) depending on financial climate.

If the worth of a certain EU currency bombed out totally and (for example) £1000 suddenly equalled $10 then the American company would be selling at a massive loss. They wouldn't store the Euros until the exchange rate was better in case the currency was disbanded or a country went bankrupt (currently quite common in Europe) and the currency was suddenly worth nothing.

 

Because of these variations of worth, companies have to decide on a safe price. They can't continually vary pricing.

 

Personally I have no issue paying more than Americans for Apple products. If it's worth the money, people will buy it. Apple products are worth that money. 

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