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EU again points finger at Apple over warranty rights

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
The European Union's Justice Commissioner singled out Apple on Tuesday as an example of poor enforcement of consumer rules, saying that E.U. nations need to more forcefully take the iPhone maker to task regarding its responsibilities with regard to warranties.

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


Speaking on Tuesday, EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding called current EU enforcement "very diversified and inconsistent at a national level." Dow Jones Business News quoted Reding as saying that the current consumer protection enforcement environment is "simply not good enough," with Apple allegedly failing to properly inform consumers about their warranty rights "in at least 21 EU Member States."

Under EU law, consumers are entitled to a two-year warranty, but Apple prominently advertises that its products come with a one-year manufacturer warranty. Reding has previously charged that Apple filed to properly inform EU consumers of their automatic and free-of-cost entitlement to a minimum two-year guarantee.

Addressing the issue most recently, Reding said that lawsuits have been filed against Apple by consumer associations in Belgium, Luxembourg, Portugal, and Germany. The Italian Antitrust Authority late last year fined Apple ?900,000 over its product warranty policies.

According to Reding, the case is indicative of a need for the European Commission to occasionally take a more prominent role in monitoring and coordinating consumer protection laws. Reding suggested that the Commission could draw attention to recurring problems across the EU, possibly by publicizing tools such as online price comparisons and consumer reviews.
post #2 of 48
Can we get a clarification as to what each side means by "warranty"? I've heard from other posters who actually live in the EU that Apple's warranty + Apple Care is much better than the auto EU warranty.
post #3 of 48
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post
…the current consumer protection enforcement environment is "simply not good enough," with Apple allegedly failing to properly inform consumers about their warranty rights "in at least 21 EU Member States."

 

"So this EU you have here. Does everyone have to have a warranty?"
"Mostly."
"Uh huh. And do they all have to tell consumers about the existence thereof?"
"Mostly."
"Okay. And, uh, do you imagine there's anyone unaware of the fact that they have a warranty when they purchase a product? Let's go back even before the formation of the EU for that one."
"No, I don't figure that anyone doesn't know they have a warranty when they purchase a product."

"All right. Then shut up. Obviously we have a warranty. We're not wasting our time or our customers' whining about it to them."

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post #4 of 48
Don't know if this judge's claim is true or not, but if it is, Apple simply needs to get on with it.

The law is the law where you do business. If you don't like it, don't do business there. Or, build it into your pricing. Or something. But stop playing games and attracting negative attention. (I know, I know, others might be doing it too; but I could care less).
post #5 of 48

..."According to Reding, the case is indicative of a need for the European Commission to occasionally take a more prominent role in monitoring and coordinating consumer protection laws...'

 

The case is indicative of the EU to pay for Cyprus bailout. And Greece... And Italy... And ....

post #6 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Don't know if this judge's claim is true or not, but if it is, Apple simply needs to get on with it.

The law is the law where you do business. If you don't like it, don't do business there. Or, build it into your pricing. Or something. But stop playing games and attracting negative attention. (I know, I know, others might be doing it too; but I could care less).

While what you say is true and Apple has no excuse for not following the law, the above statements appear to be politically motivated:
"According to Reding, the case is indicative of a need for the European Commission to occasionally take a more prominent role in monitoring and coordinating consumer protection laws. "
Sounds like a power grab to me.

Further, he states that enforcement is inconsistent and suggests that interpretation of the laws isn't clear or consistent. In previous cases, Apple argued that they felt that they were following the law. After losing a lawsuit, they implemented changes that they thought fully complied with the law. Then they were sued again.

It really sounds like at least part of the problem is lack of clarity in exactly what the law requires. I really don't see Apple (or anyone else, for that matter) intentionally violating warranty laws if it's clear what they have to do. At least some of the blame falls upon the member states for failure to make it clear exactly what is required - and then to consistently enforce the laws.
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post #7 of 48
http://www.apple.com/uk/legal/statutory-warranty/

The 2 years EU Waranty is for defects already present at delivery and is a last seller waranty.
In most countries the burden of proof that the defect was already there at delivery is on the customer after 6 months. It is often called hidden defects waranty.

Apple limited waranty is for defects arising after delivery and is a manufaturer waranty. This is what is expanded by applecare.
The 2 waranties in fact dont intersect and can exist independantly as the EU law is written.

Problem is 2-fold:

- Some countries have failed to properly define the difference when transcribing the EU law in national law and/or expanded on it. The former is the case of Italia, and it could be argued that Germany is in the latter case.

- Apple try to sell it applecare protection plan too, and most of the italian case was about the failure to properly inform about the 2 years rule for hidden defect working even if you dont take applecare. It seems also a bit flimsy and in fact has gone nowhere in various EU Countries but in Italy.
post #8 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pendergast View Post

Can we get a clarification as to what each side means by "warranty"? I've heard from other posters who actually live in the EU that Apple's warranty + Apple Care is much better than the auto EU warranty.

This has been discussed in great length when Italy got spanked the 1st time, so I won't repost all that. You are absolutely right; Apple Care goes way further than the 2 year warrant. In fact, it's not really a 2 year warrant; some stuff gets 'degraded over time' within those two years, meaning not everything that falls under warranty in month #2 is still covered in month #20.
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post #9 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by lukefrench View Post

http://www.apple.com/uk/legal/statutory-warranty/

The 2 years EU Waranty is for defects already present at delivery and is a last seller waranty.
In most countries the burden of proof that the defect was already there at delivery is on the customer after 6 months. It is often called hidden defects warranty.
 

 

This is exactly the problem.  Only a couple EU countries require a full 2-year manufacturers warranty.  I know the Czech Republic and Hungary require this.  

 

In all the other countries this EU wide warranty law is in effect but it is unclear and toothless.  Basically it doesn't really offer consumers real protection.  So, Apple is trying to help consumers by offering them a real warranty for the second year if people want to purchase it.  I've been up to the Apple Store in Dresden, Germany (the easternmost European Apple store so far) and talked to Genius Bar employees while waiting for replacement iPhone's to do restores.  They said customers come in all the time wanting service on products in the second year and the employees have to explain that this law only covers defects present at the time of purchase which is nearly impossible to prove and in reality rarely the case.

post #10 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregInPrague View Post

 

This is exactly the problem.  Only a couple EU countries require a full 2-year manufacturers warranty.  I know the Czech Republic and Hungary require this.  

 

In all the other countries this EU wide warranty law is in effect but it is unclear and toothless.  Basically it doesn't really offer consumers real protection.  So, Apple is trying to help consumers by offering them a real warranty for the second year if people want to purchase it.  I've been up to the Apple Store in Dresden, Germany (the easternmost European Apple store so far) and talked to Genius Bar employees while waiting for replacement iPhone's to do restores.  They said customers come in all the time wanting service on products in the second year and the employees have to explain that this law only covers defects present at the time of purchase which is nearly impossible to prove and in reality rarely the case.

Apple could still offer Applecare as added protection in the second year as long as they explain it properly. Implying or outright stating here's no warranty coverage at all in the second year without purchasing a "maintenance agreement" is where the problem is, correct?

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post #11 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Don't know if this judge's claim is true or not, but if it is, Apple simply needs to get on with it.

The law is the law where you do business. If you don't like it, don't do business there. Or, build it into your pricing. Or something. But stop playing games and attracting negative attention. (I know, I know, others might be doing it too; but I could care less).

How much less could you care?
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post #12 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

While what you say is true and Apple has no excuse for not following the law, the above statements appear to be politically motivated:
"According to Reding, the case is indicative of a need for the European Commission to occasionally take a more prominent role in monitoring and coordinating consumer protection laws. "
Sounds like a power grab to me.

I don't disagree that this is politically motivated, in the sense that a judge might want politicians to be clearer about what they really intend. However, I don't see it as a power grab, but rather, as someone seeking clarity.

 

In any event, it does not hurt for Apple to up the ante in the industry, as they have done with supplier responsibility and environmental initiatives. Raising rivals' costs by forcing them to race to the top is what Apple should do across-the-board.

post #13 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by saarek View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Don't know if this judge's claim is true or not, but if it is, Apple simply needs to get on with it.

The law is the law where you do business. If you don't like it, don't do business there. Or, build it into your pricing. Or something. But stop playing games and attracting negative attention. (I know, I know, others might be doing it too; but I could care less).

How much less could you care?

If you're bringing up the issue of "couldn't care less" versus its sarcastic inversion "could care less", I could care less.


Edited by anantksundaram - 3/19/13 at 9:33am
post #14 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I don't disagree that this is politically motivated, in the sense that a judge might want politicians to be clearer about what they really intend. However, I don't see it as a power grab, but rather, as someone seeking clarity.

I don't think there's any way to read it except calling it a power grab:
""According to Reding, the case is indicative of a need for the European Commission to occasionally take a more prominent role in monitoring and coordinating consumer protection laws. ""

A European Commissioner is stating that the European Commission should have a larger role. Essentially, "Our role doesn't have enough control over the daily life of European Citizens, so give us more power".
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post #15 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Don't know if this judge's claim is true or not, but if it is, Apple simply needs to get on with it.

The law is the law where you do business. If you don't like it, don't do business there. Or, build it into your pricing. Or something. But stop playing games and attracting negative attention. (I know, I know, others might be doing it too; but I could care less).

While what you say is true and Apple has no excuse for not following the law, the above statements appear to be politically motivated:
"According to Reding, the case is indicative of a need for the European Commission to occasionally take a more prominent role in monitoring and coordinating consumer protection laws. "
Sounds like a power grab to me.

Further, he states that enforcement is inconsistent and suggests that interpretation of the laws isn't clear or consistent. In previous cases, Apple argued that they felt that they were following the law. After losing a lawsuit, they implemented changes that they thought fully complied with the law. Then they were sued again.

It really sounds like at least part of the problem is lack of clarity in exactly what the law requires. I really don't see Apple (or anyone else, for that matter) intentionally violating warranty laws if it's clear what they have to do. At least some of the blame falls upon the member states for failure to make it clear exactly what is required - and then to consistently enforce the laws.

Actually JR, your he is a she, not that it makes any difference these days :-).  However I would dispute that it is the job of the EU or the Commisioner, or the member states to do anything more than publishing the regulations in the official journal. I haven't bothered to check whether in this case there is an EU Directive or an EU regulation that requires 2 year Warranties. The difference is significant because if it's a directive then the member states are required to implement the contents of the directive into national law ... which takes time in most cases, depending on the political agenda, and leads to some variations in the national laws.

 

If it''s an EU regulation, then it takes precedence over national law (in general) is the same in all member states. This is usually reserved for important things like the size of eggs and the radius of curvature of bananas ;-).

 

The point being, if there are variations in enforcement, then this is a problem the member states have to deal with. But in any case, if you do business in a country you have to comply with the law of the country. Apple isn't good at that. Like many american companies, they seem to assume US law and US cultural expectations until they get ass-kicked for doing so.

post #16 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Apple could still offer Applecare as added protection in the second year as long as they explain it properly. Implying or outright stating here's no warranty coverage at all in the second year without purchasing a "maintenance agreement" is where the problem is, correct?

 

I have never seen a documented accusation that Apple every implied or stated there's no warranty coverage at all in the second year without purchasing AppleCare.  In Italy it was an issue of not specifically stating that there is very limited coverage.  That is totally different than implying anything.

 

The main problem is that the EU law is so vague and convoluted that to provide customers with the actual language of the law would make them more confused than if you told them nothing.  It also open up the customer service and store employees to an unreasonable burden of clearly explaining a horribly written law that it shouldn't be Apple's job to explain.

post #17 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregInPrague View Post

 

I have never seen a documented accusation that Apple every implied or stated there's no warranty coverage at all in the second year without purchasing AppleCare.

Of course they do. What's their stated warranty in the device documentation? If it says one year then they're telling buyers there's no warranty in year two. That's not hard to see is it?

 

IMO they should take the high road and make the warranty two years and be done with it.


Edited by Gatorguy - 3/19/13 at 9:55am
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post #18 of 48
If the warranty regulations are different in each EU country, than that is problem for not only Apple but every other business. I suspect the reason Apple gets singled out is because they are making lots of money and they are a big visible target. Maybe Apple does need to do more in certain countries, but I don't think they are maliciously trying rip consumers off.

Apple understands that keeping a current customer happy is as important as getting new customers. When I see stories about people complaining about Apple's services or business methods I always laugh because I have gotten nothing but excellent customer service from Apple and I have received horrible service from a lot companies that people just seem to accept as normal practice. Apple gets held to a higher standard. How is Samsung's service in the EU?

Whatever Apple does with the EU, they need to repatriate any profits made in the EU back to the USA as soon as possible, even if it means paying more US taxes on the profits, because based on the mess in Cyprus and what has happened in Greece and Spain, the socialist welfare states of Europe are going after anyone with money or savings.

Apple is target from the leeches because they are successful.
post #19 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregInPrague View Post

 

This is exactly the problem.  Only a couple EU countries require a full 2-year manufacturers warranty.  I know the Czech Republic and Hungary require this.  

 

In all the other countries this EU wide warranty law is in effect but it is unclear and toothless.  Basically it doesn't really offer consumers real protection.  So, Apple is trying to help consumers by offering them a real warranty for the second year if people want to purchase it.  I've been up to the Apple Store in Dresden, Germany (the easternmost European Apple store so far) and talked to Genius Bar employees while waiting for replacement iPhone's to do restores.  They said customers come in all the time wanting service on products in the second year and the employees have to explain that this law only covers defects present at the time of purchase which is nearly impossible to prove and in reality rarely the case.


And you have beautifully illustrated why Apple is getting a rap over the knuckles.  Those so called 'geniuses' are making misleading statements.  The relevant EU directive does not state anything about the defects having to be present at the time of purchase.  The directive in question state:

 

 

Quote:

1. The seller must deliver goods to the consumer which are in conformity with the contract of sale.

2. Consumer goods are presumed to be in conformity with the contract if they:

(a) comply with the description given by the seller and possess the qualities of the goods which the seller has held out to the consumer as a sample or model;

(b) are fit for any particular purpose for which the consumer requires them and which he made known to the seller at the time of conclusion of the contract and which the seller has accepted;

(c) are fit for the purposes for which goods of the same type are normally used;

(d) show the quality and performance which are normal in goods of the same type and which the consumer can reasonably expect, given the nature of the goods and taking into account any public statements on the specific characteristics of the goods made about them by the seller, the producer or his representative, particularly in advertising or on labelling.

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:31999L0044:EN:HTML

 

So, given the premium price of most Apple products and their often touted quality, a consumer could reasonably expect them to function for at least two years.  If an Apple genius tried to tell me I shouldn't expect my Macbook Retina Pro to last two years, he would soon be in urgent need a proctologist.

 

Here in Ireland, I have read anecdotal reports of Apple employees telling customers straight out that they are not covered by the EU mandated statutory 2 year period - which is an outright lie.

 

This is why Apple is at fault.  They are clearly not educating their employees about this legislation and the rights their customers are entitled to under it.

post #20 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by msimpson View Post

If the warranty regulations are different in each EU country, than that is problem for not only Apple but every other business. I suspect the reason Apple gets singled out is because they are making lots of money and they are a big visible target. Maybe Apple does need to do more in certain countries, but I don't think they are maliciously trying rip consumers off.

Apple understands that keeping a current customer happy is as important as getting new customers. When I see stories about people complaining about Apple's services or business methods I always laugh because I have gotten nothing but excellent customer service from Apple and I have received horrible service from a lot companies that people just seem to accept as normal practice. Apple gets held to a higher standard. How is Samsung's service in the EU?

Whatever Apple does with the EU, they need to repatriate any profits made in the EU back to the USA as soon as possible, even if it means paying more US taxes on the profits, because based on the mess in Cyprus and what has happened in Greece and Spain, the socialist welfare states of Europe are going after anyone with money or savings.

Apple is target from the leeches because they are successful.

 

Have you looked at the state of US government debt lately?

 

Most western democracies are suffering a seemingly endemic problem of their operating costs greatly exceeding their revenue.  My personal view is that this is to a large degree because large corporations are minimising the tax they pay by choosing to base operations in countries with the lowest corporate tax rates they can find.  This is perfectly legal, but also immoral.  I don't know what the solution is but there clearly needs to be one.

post #21 of 48
EU wants to get involved to generate more EU revenue via fines.
post #22 of 48

The entire EU policy is based on the premises that all problems can be solved by more competition, and Mrs Reding is, in that respect, a sort of extremist, if I may say so. The last sentence (which has nothing to do with Apple) illustrates this ("Reding suggested that the Commission could draw attention to recurring problems across the EU, possibly by publicizing tools such as online price comparisons and consumer reviews."). What the hell does this mean ? she wants to pass a legislation forcing for this ?

 

The funny thing is that these overpaid civil servants enjoy maximum privileges of all sort, while preaching competition, precarity, flexibility, etc ... for others ....

 

Apple is just an easy target, which probably did not invest enough in the necessary lobbying (15 000 lobbyists in Brussels ! (you see, we are able to copy some aspects of US politic/business life (unfortunately not the best ones ...))

 

May be Apple will end up as it did in Italy, and simply stop proposing AppleCare in EU ...

post #23 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post


And you have beautifully illustrated why Apple is getting a rap over the knuckles.  Those so called 'geniuses' are making misleading statements.  The relevant EU directive does not state anything about the defects having to be present at the time of purchase.  The directive in question state:

 

...

 

So, given the premium price of most Apple products and their often touted quality, a consumer could reasonably expect them to function for at least two years.  If an Apple genius tried to tell me I shouldn't expect my Macbook Retina Pro to last two years, he would soon be in urgent need a proctologist.

 

Here in Ireland, I have read anecdotal reports of Apple employees telling customers straight out that they are not covered by the EU mandated statutory 2 year period - which is an outright lie.

 

This is why Apple is at fault.  They are clearly not educating their employees about this legislation and the rights their customers are entitled to under it.

 

Well, as this quote was from a German Apple Store, the 'geniuses' were not making any misleading statements at all, they stated exactly what the German law states. AN EU-directive is no law. It is up to the member states to create laws in line with the directives. Some states have 'better' (for the consumer) laws than what the EU asks for, some have adopted the directive 1:1, and some have diluted the directive to take some burden / risk off the dealers. (In theory, consumers in countries with worse protection could approach the EU court and might 'win' a ruling stating that the e.g. German law, like in most member countries, is not fully in line with the directive. But that takes ages, costs a fortune, and even if one 'wins', the actual verdict would still have to be validated by a court in the home state.) The problem here really is, that Apple (and others) are getting beaten by proxy here, as the EU has limited means to fully enforce directives to be turned into state laws 1:1. 

 

About the anecdotal evidence from Ireland... If Apple staff really did that, then they are indeed wrong. Still, I would be very careful with taking these reports at face value. As @lukefrench correctly stated above, the EU implied warranty has to be provided by the dealer/reseller, not the manufacturer. If people bring defective items (in the second year) to an Apple Genius Bar, but the original purchase was not directly made from Apple (but from e.g. an authorized reseller), then it is indeed not Apple's liability to provide that warranty. Same goes for purchases made outside the EU. When the USD was very weak some years ago, we had tons of people bringing in Apple gear from the US, Apple did honor the 1-year warranty and any Apple Care contracts just fine, but several people without Apple Care tried to have items repaired under EU implied warranty terms, despite the items having been purchased elsewhere...

post #24 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

Have you looked at the state of US government debt lately?

Most western democracies are suffering a seemingly endemic problem of their operating costs greatly exceeding their revenue.  My personal view is that this is to a large degree because large corporations are minimising the tax they pay by choosing to base operations in countries with the lowest corporate tax rates they can find.  This is perfectly legal, but also immoral.  I don't know what the solution is but there clearly needs to be one.

Why is that immoral? A company is in business to make money for its shareholders. If it can make more money by basing its operation in Switzerland rather than France, why shouldn't it?

It's not all about taxes, either. Companies consider all relevant factors - taxes, cost of operations, labor pool, salaries, proximity to customers, etc, etc.

Why is it OK to consider locating so you can be near a good supply of labor, but not to consider taxes in your determination?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post


And you have beautifully illustrated why Apple is getting a rap over the knuckles.  Those so called 'geniuses' are making misleading statements.  The relevant EU directive does not state anything about the defects having to be present at the time of purchase.  The directive in question state:


http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:31999L0044:EN:HTML

So, given the premium price of most Apple products and their often touted quality, a consumer could reasonably expect them to function for at least two years.  If an Apple genius tried to tell me I shouldn't expect my Macbook Retina Pro to last two years, he would soon be in urgent need a proctologist.

Of course it should last 2 years. That doesn't mean that there won't be defects - including defects that show up after the device is placed in service. Or even defects caused by misuse.

A Mercedes costs an awful lot more than a Mac. Should it be expected to last 40 times as long - and Mercedes required to give a 80 year warranty?
Quote:
Originally Posted by umrk_lab View Post

The entire EU policy is based on the premises that all problems can be solved by more competition, and Mrs Reding is, in that respect, a sort of extremist, if I may say so. The last sentence (which has nothing to do with Apple) illustrates this ("
Reding suggested that the Commission could draw attention to recurring problems across the EU, possibly by publicizing tools such as online price comparisons and consumer reviews."). What the hell does this mean ? she wants to pass a legislation forcing for this ?

The funny thing is that these overpaid civil servants enjoy maximum privileges of all sort, while preaching competition, 
precarity, flexibility, etc ... for others ....
Apple is just an easy target, which probably did not invest enough in the necessary 
lobbying (15 000 lobbyists in Brussels ! (you see, we are able to copy some aspects of US politic/business life (unfortunately not the best ones ...))

May be Apple will end up as it did in Italy, and simply stop proposing AppleCare in EU ...

Which would be a major negative for consumers. AppleCare is a good optional program and if they drop it, it lessens choice.
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post #25 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by umrk_lab View Post

 

May be Apple will end up as it did in Italy, and simply stop proposing AppleCare in EU ...

 

Stop 'proposing' it, fine. But it would be very devastating, if they would stop offering it (this is what I understood happened in Italy for some products).

 

With the EU implied warranty being unenforceable after 6 months (in most EU countries) and no Apple Care option, most Apple equipment would simply become unbearable for many users. It is even worse for business users, as the EU implied warranty does not cover commercial users, only consumers. This would de facto mean that a 1-year warranty would be the maximum you could get for any Apple gear. Most businesses would be forced to buy something else then.

post #26 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post



Which would be a major negative for consumers. AppleCare is a good optional program and if they drop it, it lessens choice.

 

 

I totally agree with this ....

post #27 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post


And you have beautifully illustrated why Apple is getting a rap over the knuckles.  Those so called 'geniuses' are making misleading statements.  The relevant EU directive does not state anything about the defects having to be present at the time of purchase.  The directive in question state:

 

 

Quote:

1. The seller must deliver goods to the consumer which are in conformity with the contract of sale.

2. Consumer goods are presumed to be in conformity with the contract if they:

(a) comply with the description given by the seller and possess the qualities of the goods which the seller has held out to the consumer as a sample or model;

(b) are fit for any particular purpose for which the consumer requires them and which he made known to the seller at the time of conclusion of the contract and which the seller has accepted;

(c) are fit for the purposes for which goods of the same type are normally used;

(d) show the quality and performance which are normal in goods of the same type and which the consumer can reasonably expect, given the nature of the goods and taking into account any public statements on the specific characteristics of the goods made about them by the seller, the producer or his representative, particularly in advertising or on labelling.

 

 

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:31999L0044:EN:HTML

 

Well, it does state [emphasis mine]:

 

Quote:
(17) Whereas it is appropriate to limit in time the period during which the seller is liable for any lack of conformity which exists at the time of delivery of the goods; whereas Member States may also provide for a limitation on the period during which consumers can exercise their rights, provided such a period does not expire within two years from the time of delivery; whereas where, under national legislation, the time when a limitation period starts is not the time of delivery of the goods, the total duration of the limitation period provided for by national law may not be shorter than two years from the time of delivery;

 

Where, without reading the entire document to find if there are precise definitions, I think it's safe to assume that, "time of delivery," means delivery to the consumer, which would be the time of receiving the purchase, or roughly, the time of purchase. So, you would appear to be wrong in your statement that, "The relevant EU directive does not state anything about the defects having to be present at the time of purchase."

 

So, there may be some ambiguity, as indicated, and perhaps further ambiguity introduced in national legislation.

 

It's also worth pointing out that AppleCare includes more than just warranty support -- i.e., technical support that would otherwise expire 90 days from the purchase.

 

All that being said, I think Apple has an obligation, legal and moral, to both ensure they are in broad compliance with the laws of each country they do business in and provide only accurate information to consumers about the same. I'm not sure I have enough real information to know whether they are fulfilling that obligation or not in every instance. I hope they are.

post #28 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by umrk_lab View Post


May be Apple will end up as it did in Italy, and simply stop proposing AppleCare in EU ...

Apple Care is much more than EU 2-year warranty. Furthermore, Apple Care will cover portable devices globally for 3 years.
post #29 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post

Stop 'proposing' it, fine. But it would be very devastating, if they would stop offering it (this is what I understood happened in Italy for some products).

 

With the EU implied warranty being unenforceable after 6 months (in most EU countries) and no Apple Care option, most Apple equipment would simply become unbearable for many users. It is even worse for business users, as the EU implied warranty does not cover commercial users, only consumers. This would de facto mean that a 1-year warranty would be the maximum you could get for any Apple gear. Most businesses would be forced to buy something else then.

 

The situation is not really that dire for businesses. Most businesses of any size probably don't buy AppleCare anyway, but "self-insure" their computer equipment. At least with Apple equipment, the failure rate beyond 1 year and before 3 years is relatively low, so in most cases it's probably cheaper for the company to simply assume that risk and not purchase AppleCare. (And they probably have their own staff to handle support issues.) Admittedly, the situation is riskier for smaller businesses, but, in my experience at least, it's probably only companies with fewer than 10 employees and/or no support staff where AppleCare makes sense.

post #30 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post


Apple Care is much more than EU 2-year warranty. Furthermore, Apple Care will cover portable devices globally for 3 years.

 

 

I agree with what you said, but the Italian Justice was not happy with Applecare, even after Apple very clearly precised which were the terms of the contract, and Apple was fined twice for this, if I remember well ...

post #31 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

 

The situation is not really that dire for businesses. Most businesses of any size probably don't buy AppleCare anyway, but "self-insure" their computer equipment. At least with Apple equipment, the failure rate beyond 1 year and before 3 years is relatively low, so in most cases it's probably cheaper for the company to simply assume that risk and not purchase AppleCare. (And they probably have their own staff to handle support issues.) Admittedly, the situation is riskier for smaller businesses, but, in my experience at least, it's probably only companies with fewer than 10 employees and/or no support staff where AppleCare makes sense.

 

Well, our biggest client has approx. 4,800 Apple computers and AppleCare for every single one of them. Support is not the issue, it is barely needed (we had three support calls since 2004, and even these were nonsense). Most of our clients use business leasing agreements and three years is pretty much the minimum term for computers. Lessors here do either not accept equipment without a warranty covering the lease period, or charge a lot more for them.

post #32 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post

 

Well, our biggest client has approx. 4,800 Apple computers and AppleCare for every single one of them. Support is not the issue, it is barely needed (we had three support calls since 2004, and even these were nonsense). Most of our clients use business leasing agreements and three years is pretty much the minimum term for computers. Lessors here do either not accept equipment without a warranty covering the lease period, or charge a lot more for them.

 

Who are they leased from? I would think that the lessor would be the one paying for the AppleCare, and, in an instance like you describe above, the lessor could save themselves a lot of money by handling out of warranty repairs on their own dime. If AppleCare is, say $170/computer (27" iMac cost), that's $1700 for 10 computers. With a failure rate in years 2 & 3 of probably no more than 10% in my experience (maybe higher for laptops, but AppleCare price on those is higher, $350 for 15" rMBP) and an average repair bill of $1000 (which is high), it's still a lot cheaper not to buy AppleCare, especially when the support is unnecessary.

 

For individuals, though, it's crazy not to buy AppleCare.

post #33 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

The situation is not really that dire for businesses. Most businesses of any size probably don't buy AppleCare anyway, but "self-insure" their computer equipment. At least with Apple equipment, the failure rate beyond 1 year and before 3 years is relatively low, so in most cases it's probably cheaper for the company to simply assume that risk and not purchase AppleCare. (And they probably have their own staff to handle support issues.) Admittedly, the situation is riskier for smaller businesses, but, in my experience at least, it's probably only companies with fewer than 10 employees and/or no support staff where AppleCare makes sense.

In the business I am in (a few hundred people work there), we are allowed to buy Macs, and we are actively encouraged to buy AppleCare.

 

The reason is they've concluded, given the cost, that it's a wonderful deal: Apple handles all the major problems, reducing the need for full-time staff (who, in turn, can focus on network issues and such; and, the crappy PCs that unfortunately still proliferate thanks to some of the admin software that our admin people run.....)

post #34 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Who are they leased from? I would think that the lessor would be the one paying for the AppleCare, and, in an instance like you describe above, the lessor could save themselves a lot of money by handling out of warranty repairs on their own dime. If AppleCare is, say $170/computer (27" iMac cost), that's $1700 for 10 computers. With a failure rate in years 2 & 3 of probably no more than 10% in my experience (maybe higher for laptops, but AppleCare price on those is higher, $350 for 15" rMBP) and an average repair bill of $1000 (which is high), it's still a lot cheaper not to buy AppleCare, especially when the support is unnecessary.

 

What they call 'business leasing' here is actually an installment purchase with pretty low interest rates, it is more a credit than a 'lease'. For equipment under warranty the annual interest in clearly below 2%. The lessor actually does nothing else than paying the initial bill and collecting the monthly payments. They have no IT know-how, support, etc. It is mainly a cash flow thing, and under ideal circumstances (business making enough profit to actually deduct the leasing amounts from taxes), you have your equipment for free. As long as this calculation works, the price paid for Apple Care does not really matter, can't be less than zero anyhow. Also, even Apple does give some relevant discounts on Apple Care, if you procure a certain amount of devices. The 'leasing' interest rate for equipment not under warranty (if even offered at all) is significantly higher, because the lessor must then be prepared to actually deal with warranty issues, repairs, replacement and even SLAs. Under the current model, all this is between the lessee and the dealer.

 

If you look at standard business OEMs, like Dell, HP and Lenovo, they all offer 3 and 5 year warranty plans for businesses and most companies do buy them here. Exactly for the same reasons.

post #35 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post

 

Well, as this quote was from a German Apple Store, the 'geniuses' were not making any misleading statements at all, they stated exactly what the German law states. AN EU-directive is no law. It is up to the member states to create laws in line with the directives. Some states have 'better' (for the consumer) laws than what the EU asks for, some have adopted the directive 1:1, and some have diluted the directive to take some burden / risk off the dealers. (In theory, consumers in countries with worse protection could approach the EU court and might 'win' a ruling stating that the e.g. German law, like in most member countries, is not fully in line with the directive. But that takes ages, costs a fortune, and even if one 'wins', the actual verdict would still have to be validated by a court in the home state.) The problem here really is, that Apple (and others) are getting beaten by proxy here, as the EU has limited means to fully enforce directives to be turned into state laws 1:1. 

 

About the anecdotal evidence from Ireland... If Apple staff really did that, then they are indeed wrong. Still, I would be very careful with taking these reports at face value. As @lukefrench correctly stated above, the EU implied warranty has to be provided by the dealer/reseller, not the manufacturer. If people bring defective items (in the second year) to an Apple Genius Bar, but the original purchase was not directly made from Apple (but from e.g. an authorized reseller), then it is indeed not Apple's liability to provide that warranty. Same goes for purchases made outside the EU. When the USD was very weak some years ago, we had tons of people bringing in Apple gear from the US, Apple did honor the 1-year warranty and any Apple Care contracts just fine, but several people without Apple Care tried to have items repaired under EU implied warranty terms, despite the items having been purchased elsewhere...

Member states have to enact Directives.  They have to at least meet all aspects of the directive and in the case of the particular directive in question, they can enact legislation to provide greater protection than that dictated, but not less.  If Germany has enacted laws that do not fully enact the directive, they are in breach and can expect a fine.  You are perfectly correct about the burden being on the seller, but Apple itself is a high volume seller through it's stores, and the directive applies to those sales.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


Why is that immoral? A company is in business to make money for its shareholders. If it can make more money by basing its operation in Switzerland rather than France, why shouldn't it?

It's not all about taxes, either. Companies consider all relevant factors - taxes, cost of operations, labor pool, salaries, proximity to customers, etc, etc.

Why is it OK to consider locating so you can be near a good supply of labor, but not to consider taxes in your determination?
Of course it should last 2 years. That doesn't mean that there won't be defects - including defects that show up after the device is placed in service. Or even defects caused by misuse.

A Mercedes costs an awful lot more than a Mac. Should it be expected to last 40 times as long - and Mercedes required to give a 80 year warranty?
Which would be a major negative for consumers. AppleCare is a good optional program and if they drop it, it lessens choice.

 

It is immoral because Governments provide a social climate and physical infrastructure that companies benefit from and therefore should contribute adequately to the provision thereof.  In my mind, their duty to shareholders comes a distant third, and behind that and treating their employees fairly.  Here in Ireland, the corporate tax rate Apple is misusing to engineer a good part of their massive profits in the EU is 12.5%.   Individuals, such as myself, are paying 20% at the low rate and 41% at the higher rate.  The disparity is legal, but immoral, in my opinion.

 

Your Mercedes example is fatuous.  An iMac is expensive compared to a PC of equivalent specs.  Comparing it to the cost of a Merc or a mansion in Monaco is beyond disingenuous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

 

Well, it does state [emphasis mine]:

 

 

Where, without reading the entire document to find if there are precise definitions, I think it's safe to assume that, "time of delivery," means delivery to the consumer, which would be the time of receiving the purchase, or roughly, the time of purchase. So, you would appear to be wrong in your statement that, "The relevant EU directive does not state anything about the defects having to be present at the time of purchase."

 

So, there may be some ambiguity, as indicated, and perhaps further ambiguity introduced in national legislation.

 

It's also worth pointing out that AppleCare includes more than just warranty support -- i.e., technical support that would otherwise expire 90 days from the purchase.

 

All that being said, I think Apple has an obligation, legal and moral, to both ensure they are in broad compliance with the laws of each country they do business in and provide only accurate information to consumers about the same. I'm not sure I have enough real information to know whether they are fulfilling that obligation or not in every instance. I hope they are.

I was not wrong in my statement.  The EU directive says nothing about 'defects'.  It talks about 'conformity', the definition of which I quoted and clearly includes an assessment of quality and longevity of performance of intended function.  If the brightness of the screen on my Macbook dimmed by 90%, 18 months after purchase, Apple might argue that wasn't a defect as it was still showing a visible image, but in terms of the directive, the criteria of expected quality would not be met.

post #36 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

For individuals, though, it's crazy not to buy AppleCare.

Depending on the country you live in, buying AppleCare is crazy.
post #37 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

Have you looked at the state of US government debt lately?

 

Have you looked at the level of US foreign aid lately?

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_foreign_aid

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #38 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

I was not wrong in my statement.  The EU directive says nothing about 'defects'.  It talks about 'conformity', the definition of which I quoted and clearly includes an assessment of quality and longevity of performance of intended function.  If the brightness of the screen on my Macbook dimmed by 90%, 18 months after purchase, Apple might argue that wasn't a defect as it was still showing a visible image, but in terms of the directive, the criteria of expected quality would not be met.

 

Your claim was that there was nothing in the directive that had to do with "at the time of purchase". There is. You were clearly wrong. And your latest post, quoted above, is just a song and dance routine to distract from that.

post #39 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfanning View Post


Depending on the country you live in, buying AppleCare is crazy.

 

For example?

post #40 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

It is immoral because Governments provide a social climate and physical infrastructure that companies benefit from and therefore should contribute adequately to the provision thereof.  In my mind, their duty to shareholders comes a distant third, and behind that and treating their employees fairly.  Here in Ireland, the corporate tax rate Apple is misusing to engineer a good part of their massive profits in the EU is 12.5%.   Individuals, such as myself, are paying 20% at the low rate and 41% at the higher rate.  The disparity is legal, but immoral, in my opinion.

I guess I should never have assumed that you had a rational argument. You clearly don't.

It is your opinion that a company's first responsibility is to society, then to employees, and then to shareholders. That's exactly the way it works ---- in the People's Republic of China. Fortunately, most of the world sees it differently.

If shareholders come in third and literally everyone else takes precedence, why in the world would you invest your money into that organization?

Not to mention, of course, that it makes no sense at all to compare business taxes with individual taxes. Low business taxes mean that there's more left for individuals, anyway. And Apple's not misusing anything. They are following the tax laws written by the politicians. Are you misusing the tax laws when you don't turn over your entire paycheck to the government? I didn't think so.

Ireland has made a decision that they'd rather have the jobs than a higher tax rate. That's an entirely reasonable decision to make. If they chose to double the corporate tax rate and Apple pulled out of Ireland, you'd be one of the first to be screaming bloody murder.

In the end, you're simply throwing out mumbo-jumbo language that you don't understand - and have clearly not thought through.
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
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