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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple's retail operations were fined 900,000 euros, or $1.2 million, in Italy in response to complaints of "unfair commercial practices" related to product warranties.



The total fine came from what the Italian Antitrust Authority determined were two failures by Apple's retail stores in Italy, according to The Wall Street Journal. Apple Sales International, Apple Italia Srl and Apple Retail Italia were fined "for not providing clear information to customers on product assistance," the report said.



Specifically, Apple was fined 400,000 euros for not providing adequate information to customers about the length of product guarantees. And another 500,000 euros stemmed from Apple not giving customers enough information about its AppleCare extended warranty.



Products sold by Apple come with a standard one-year warranty and option to buy a second year through AppleCare, but local laws require companies to protect buyers with a free two-year warranty. Italian authorities determined that Apple "did not fully implement for consumers the two-year legal guarantee from sellers."



Apple expanded its retail operations into Italy in late 2006 with a store in Ponte di Nona's RomaEst shopping plaza. That store is located in a rural area about 15 kilometers from Roma.



Apple now has a total of 9 retail stores in Italy, with the remaining eight stores located in Bergamo, Oriocenter; Bologna, via Rizzoli; Caserta, Campina; Catania, Centro Sicilia; Firenze, I Gigli; Milano, Carosello; Milano, Fiordaliso; and Torino, Ge Gru.







Earlier this year, the Italian government also initiated an investigation into the location database file controversy that surrounded Apple. Italy joined the U.S., France, Germany and South Korea in probing the matter, which was quickly resolved with an iOS update.
«1345

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 81
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,286member
    The fine was due to Apple and it's seller's failing to follow/disclose Italian law that provided a 2-year guarantee rather than Apple's typical 1 year. In addition, reading between the lines, I believe they've also claimed Apple and it's seller's failed to disclose the paid year two warranty provided by Apple Care coverage overlapped the year 2 free product guarantee provided under Italian law.



    "The decision came at the end of an inquiry that proved Apple did not fully implement for consumers the two-year legal guarantee from sellers and also that the company did not provide clear information on coverage of additional premium services"



    http://www.telecompaper.com/news/app...ading-in-italy
  • Reply 2 of 81
    ssquirrelssquirrel Posts: 1,196member
    Thanks for completing the article for them. Care to update a bit AI? Just reading your article leaves head scratching b/c Apple's typical 1 year is pretty upfront. I was wondering how they were failing. Also the WSJ link gives me about 2 lines then requires a sign in, so sum things up better AI.
  • Reply 3 of 81
    I think Italy needs Apple more than Apple needs Italy.
  • Reply 4 of 81
    Everytime Apple breaks the law somewhere we get that silly comment. Country needs Apple more than Apple needs country (replace country with anyone except US and China...)

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

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



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by EyeNsteinNo View Post


    I think Italy needs Apple more than Apple needs Italy.



  • Reply 5 of 81
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,758member
    Perhaps Apple should simply not offer an 'Extended Warranty' in Italy since they are in effect being forced to give an extra year for free or at least shorten it by a year. However, I'd agree the term 'Extended Warranty' should refer to a subsequent not an overlapping service based upon the common understanding of the word 'extended' be that Italy or elsewhere.
  • Reply 6 of 81
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,758member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by frenchseb View Post


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

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

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



    Reasoned and thoughtful reactions seem not to be in fashion these days on planet Earth do they? There is no need to be obnoxious in your response. Like most things in life there is no absolute right or wrong in this. There could well be a situation where a country made such onerous demands Apple would be better to walk away then again there are many situations where Apple and others are obviously better adapting to local laws and customs.
  • Reply 7 of 81
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    Perhaps Apple should simply not offer an 'Extended Warranty' in Italy since they are in effect being forced to give an extra year for free or at least shorten it by a year. However, I'd agree the term 'Extended Warranty' should refer to a subsequent not an overlapping service based upon the common understanding of the word 'extended' be that Italy or elsewhere.



    Yes, it looks like Apple messed up and your suggestion is one possible solution.



    In the end, though, it is extremely difficult for a multinational to comply with all the local regulations and all of the fine print. Here's what the above-linked article says:

    "Apple did not fully implement for consumers the two-year legal guarantee from sellers and also that the company did not provide clear information on coverage of additional premium services."



    It sounds like it's not a simple matter of Apple failing to offer a 2 year warranty. Rather, it's some technicality that they failed to implement. And that's quite difficult to do in 160 countries (many of which, like the United States, have multiple different authorities). Apple messed up, they will pay the fine and fix the problem.
  • Reply 8 of 81
    http://www.apple.com/it/support/products/mac.html



    This isn't enough information? I'm confused. Oh, the retail stores.



    Wait, they're fining Apple for NOT making their employees nag you constantly about buying AppleCare?! The heck is wrong with them?
  • Reply 9 of 81
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 18,019member
    Nanny state. That's all this is.
  • Reply 10 of 81
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    Perhaps Apple should simply not offer an 'Extended Warranty' in Italy since they are in effect being forced to give an extra year for free or at least shorten it by a year. However, I'd agree the term 'Extended Warranty' should refer to a subsequent not an overlapping service based upon the common understanding of the word 'extended' be that Italy or elsewhere.



    The whole thing is pretty dumb on Apple's part: clearly they didn't have a grip on local laws, or didn't have quite a tight enough grip on local execs. It seems so obvious that what they ought to do is simply offer Apple Care on different terms in Italy, or other countries where the law requires specific warranty terms, and factor the legal requirements into the price.



    For instance, in the US, the default warranty is 90/365 for tech support/hardware warranty. If, in Italy, the requirement is n/730 (not sure if the law the requires tech support as well as hardware support), and they offer 90/730, then they should just boost the price by the expected costs of warranty repairs during the second 365 days (which is probably not that much, spread across all sales). Offer Apple Care for the 3rd 365 days (and the extra tech support), at, say, 3/4 - 7/8 the cost of the US plan. (The amount of tech support is the same, and HW failures are likely to be higher in the first and third years than in the second.)



    This seems like pretty simple stuff to adjust Apple Care coverage and costs to match local laws, so it's surprising that they would have dropped the ball so blatantly.
  • Reply 11 of 81
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,758member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    Yes, it looks like Apple messed up and your suggestion is one possible solution.



    In the end, though, it is extremely difficult for a multinational to comply with all the local regulations and all of the fine print. Here's what the above-linked article says:

    "Apple did not fully implement for consumers the two-year legal guarantee from sellers and also that the company did not provide clear information on coverage of additional premium services."



    It sounds like it's not a simple matter of Apple failing to offer a 2 year warranty. Rather, it's some technicality that they failed to implement. And that's quite difficult to do in 160 countries (many of which, like the United States, have multiple different authorities). Apple messed up, they will pay the fine and fix the problem.



    Thanks for the extra info. Yes it must be very difficult and I have to think, knowing how excellent Apple generally are in their customer care, how other companies, with less than stellar after sales service, manage in Italy?
  • Reply 12 of 81
    No government should have the right to tell any business how they must warrant their products. Yet another example of TOO MUCH GOVERNMENT.
  • Reply 13 of 81
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,758member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    The whole thing is pretty dumb on Apple's part: clearly they didn't have a grip on local laws, or didn't have quite a tight enough grip on local execs. It seems so obvious that what they ought to do is simply offer Apple Care on different terms in Italy, or other countries where the law requires specific warranty terms, and factor the legal requirements into the price.



    For instance, in the US, the default warranty is 90/365 for tech support/hardware warranty. If, in Italy, the requirement is n/730 (not sure if the law the requires tech support as well as hardware support), and they offer 90/730, then they should just boost the price by the expected costs of warranty repairs during the second 365 days (which is probably not that much, spread across all sales). Offer Apple Care for the 3rd 365 days (and the extra tech support), at, say, 3/4 - 7/8 the cost of the US plan. (The amount of tech support is the same, and HW failures are likely to be higher in the first and third years than in the second.)



    This seems like pretty simple stuff to adjust Apple Care coverage and costs to match local laws, so it's surprising that they would have dropped the ball so blatantly.



    While totally agreeing in theory I'm curious (hopefully someone will here will explain this) what happens when you walk over a border in Europe to a country with different laws and regulations with a Mac and require warranty service. Do you only get coverage in the country of origin or are the warranties honored elsewhere? If so ... what a nightmare that would be where these time differences in the warranties occur.
  • Reply 14 of 81
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,758member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post


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



    If you think this through then the same argument can be extended ... there would be no safety standards, no quality standard ... and so on. Yes it can go too far but it could also not go far enough. Isn't life complicated?
  • Reply 15 of 81
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


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



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



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



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



    All in all a non-story.
  • Reply 16 of 81
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,758member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post


    Nanny state. That's all this is.



    As I said earlier there are two sides to these things, it isn't black or white. I always wonder who or what folks with that mind set turn to when their water supply becomes toxic from some local factory and their children turn green and die or the air they breath is so poisonous they choke. I assume they laugh it off and move to an area where the people have got some standards companies have to abide by and continue to argue the people should not be allowed to set standards. It's all very fascinating you must surely agree.



    BTW I am not taking sides on the Apple v Italy thread here simply responding to your overly simplistic one liner.



    Unless you were in fact joking and forgot the emoticon. In which case ... good one
  • Reply 17 of 81
    conradjoeconradjoe Posts: 1,887member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post




    In the end, though, it is extremely difficult for a multinational to comply with all the local regulations and all of the fine print.







    Apple needs to hire more lawyers!



  • Reply 18 of 81
    Before reading more ignorant comments about Italy, I'd like to inform everyone that it's not an Italian law, but an European law. In European Community, warranty is 2 years but no company complies (Dell, Apple, HP, Samsung, you name it). In Italy/Europe, Apple stuff costs 30% more than in US, at least if they're forced to provide 2 years of warranty the cost will be partly justified (I'll still buy everything in US).
  • Reply 19 of 81
    So, customers bought un-needed Apple Care, Apple fined $1.2 million dollars, Lawyers get most of that...... Lawyers win.
  • Reply 20 of 81
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


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



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