AppleCare pulled from Italian stores over antitrust flap

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple confirmed on Tuesday that it has stopped selling its AppleCare extended protection plan in its Italian stores, and cut off distribution to authorized resellers, in response to continuing antitrust concerns associated with EU warranty laws.

The sales halt has been in effect since Nov. 9, an Apple spokesman told Reuters, leaving customers in Italy unable to purchase the AppleCare Protection Plan (APP) in Apple Stores or reseller locations.

Apple's extended protection plan is still available through the company's Italian website, where a carefully worded disclaimer notes the product's "benefits are in addition to two-year warranty from the seller under the Italian legislation to protect consumers." EU law mandates that goods sold in the region come with a standard two-year warranty.

AppleCare Italy
Apple's Italian AppleCare webpage. | Source: Apple


In December, the Cupertino-based company was hit with a 900,000-euro fine, nearly $1.2 million at the time, from the Italian Antitrust Authority for not providing consumers with information regarding their EU-protected warranty rights. Apple allegedly pushed the optional APP on consumers by misrepresenting the for-pay warranty, as well as not clearly stating the EU mandates on its retail packaging. A disclaimer was finally added to the boxes following an unsuccessful appeal of the ruling in March.

It was reported in July that Italy's AGCM competition and marketing authority threatened to shut down Apple's Italian operations for 30 days, plus add on to the original fines, as it found the company to not have fully complied with the earlier order. Apple contested the claims, and talks are ongoing.

Piling on to Apple's woes, two consumer advocacy groups launched a class action lawsuit in October, alleging the company continues to violate EU laws.

The AppleCare service can run anywhere between $29 for an Apple TV, to $349 for the latest MacBook Pros. Apple recently began the AppleCare+ service, a $99 option for the iPhone and iPad that offers an extra two years of coverage, including up to two incidents of accidental damage which are fixed for a flat fee.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 57
    Silly lawmakers!
  • Reply 2 of 57
    Wow! That is actually a very sad thing to happen. Although the law requires 2 years warranty, you will get way more service through Apple Care.
  • Reply 3 of 57
    how does this equate to the uk?
    apple still advertise their products as having a 12 month warranty here when it should be 2 years because of the eu ruling.
  • Reply 4 of 57


    Apple is immediately sued by Italy for not offering an extended warranty in-store.

  • Reply 5 of 57
    wardcwardc Posts: 150member


    AppleCare has gotten the boot!! -- In the 'boot'!! (Italy)

  • Reply 6 of 57
    rayzrayz Posts: 814member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by WardC View Post


    AppleCare has gotten the boot!! -- In the 'boot'!! (Italy)



     


    image

  • Reply 7 of 57

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Wayne2612 View Post



    how does this equate to the uk?

    apple still advertise their products as having a 12 month warranty here when it should be 2 years because of the eu ruling.


    Apple provides their 12 months warranty which includes some telephone support + will fix problems that arise during the warranty period.


     


    They also provide the 2 year EU warranty which only covers defects that exist when the product was purchased, not faults that arise during the warranty period.


     


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

  • Reply 8 of 57

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ScartArt View Post


    Apple provides their 12 months warranty which includes some telephone support + will fix problems that arise during the warranty period.


     


    They also provide the 2 year EU warranty which only covers defects that exist when the product was purchased, not faults that arise during the warranty period.


     


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



     


    thanks for the info. i'd never found much on how the eu law related to the uk and why apple still advertise products as only have 12 months warranty here.

  • Reply 9 of 57
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Wayne2612 View Post


     


    thanks for the info. i'd never found much on how the eu law related to the uk and why apple still advertise products as only have 12 months warranty here.



     






    The quote from Apple's site is wrong - in that Apple are being disingenuous again, which is what has got them into trouble in Italy in the first place and with the UK Judge in the second..  UK consumer law is tougher than the EU law and warrants a reasonable use from a product, and that absolutely includes defects that develop which either shouldn't - given 'reasonable expectations' - or which only developed because of an initial intrinsic fault.  Basically, The EU protection is worded in that it is a 'minimum' requirement which EU member states must comply with through legislation, however it does allow for it not to be incorporated in a member states legislation if they already have legislation which provides greater consumer protection - which is the case with the UK.


     


    Apple can say what they like about not fixing faults that develop, but I am sure a Uk Judge will quickly put them right on the issue if they wan't to get smart - yet again.

  • Reply 10 of 57
    Reminds me slightly of that UK PPI scandal.

    But here Apple also chose to ignore European consumer rights.
  • Reply 11 of 57


    My understanding of the law in the UK is:



    Under the Sale Of Goods Act 1979 Section 14-2, the 'durability' of a product must be what...   'a reasonable person would regard as satisfactory, taking account of any description of the goods, the price (if relevant) and all the other relevant circumstances'



    I believe for an Apple computer that this is definitely more than two years and so this law is of a higher standard than the EU directive and so takes precedence.





    Edit: I forgot to say, the law has a maximum of six years.

  • Reply 12 of 57
    clemynxclemynx Posts: 1,509member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Apple is immediately sued by Italy for not offering an extended warranty in-store.



     


    troll

  • Reply 13 of 57

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post


     






    The quote from Apple's site is wrong - in that Apple are being disingenuous again, which is what has got them into trouble in Italy in the first place and with the UK Judge in the second..  UK consumer law is tougher than the EU law and warrants a reasonable use from a product, and that absolutely includes defects that develop which either shouldn't - given 'reasonable expectations' - or which only developed because of an initial intrinsic fault.  Basically, The EU protection is worded in that it is a 'minimum' requirement which EU member states must comply with through legislation, however it does allow for it not to be incorporated in a member states legislation if they already have legislation which provides greater consumer protection - which is the case with the UK.


     


    Apple can say what they like about not fixing faults that develop, but I am sure a Uk Judge will quickly put them right on the issue if they wan't to get smart - yet again.



    The sales of goods act applies to the retailer not the manufacturer so this isn't really the same thing. Granted if you purchase at an Apple store then it applies.


     


    It isn't just Apple though, I would challenge you to find any manufacturer or retailer than gives advise on the Sales of Goods act as a way to obtain repairs over and above a standard warranty. Personally I would argue that it isn't their responsibility, certainly in the UK they are not required by law to do so - consumers need to take some responsibility in knowing their rights.  My understanding is it is different in Italy where they are required to highlight consumer rights which is where Apple were failing.

  • Reply 14 of 57

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Apple is immediately sued by Italy for not offering an extended warranty in-store.



     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ClemyNX View Post


     


    troll





    I think the point being made is that whatever Apple does in Europe, it can't win with so many consumers having such strong feelings of entitlement.  I am all for consumer protection, but I can't see how this is good for business.

  • Reply 15 of 57

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post


     






    The quote from Apple's site is wrong - in that Apple are being disingenuous again, which is what has got them into trouble in Italy in the first place and with the UK Judge in the second..  UK consumer law is tougher than the EU law and warrants a reasonable use from a product, and that absolutely includes defects that develop which either shouldn't - given 'reasonable expectations' - or which only developed because of an initial intrinsic fault.  Basically, The EU protection is worded in that it is a 'minimum' requirement which EU member states must comply with through legislation, however it does allow for it not to be incorporated in a member states legislation if they already have legislation which provides greater consumer protection - which is the case with the UK.


     


    Apple can say what they like about not fixing faults that develop, but I am sure a Uk Judge will quickly put them right on the issue if they wan't to get smart - yet again.



     


    Are you pulling the UK judge card? Personally I am sick about hearing about UK judges. Can you stop please?

  • Reply 16 of 57

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Apple is immediately sued by Italy for not offering an extended warranty in-store.



     


    Why not? And a daily 24 point Monotype Italian Old Style font apology on the front page of Corriere della Sera. LOL

  • Reply 17 of 57
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 1,012member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TeeJay2012 View Post


     




    I think the point being made is that whatever Apple does in Europe, it can't win with so many consumers having such strong feelings of entitlement.  I am all for consumer protection, but I can't see how this is good for business.



    Applecare goes above and beyond the statutory requirements, from what I understand. So Apple should just pitch it that way, and not suggest or imply it provides something that you would not otherwise get. It's not complicated.

  • Reply 18 of 57
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member


    It's not about being good for business, but about being good for consumers.  You speak as if this is some unique piece of legislation that is singling out poor persecuted Apple and no one else.  It isn't.


     


    As for a sense of entitlement - you jest?  I recently paid a small fortune for a 15" MBPR.  I seriously think that it should last a good bit longer than 12 months without malfunctioning or hidden defects or deficiencies developing.  Would you buy a car that only had a 12 month warranty?  Given it's difficulty of repair, I would not have bought it if it had only been covered by a 12 month warranty - so that's one way that legislation is good for business, it gives consumers the confidence to purchase.

     

  • Reply 19 of 57

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by djsherly View Post


    Applecare goes above and beyond the statutory requirements, from what I understand. So Apple should just pitch it that way, and not suggest or imply it provides something that you would not otherwise get. It's not complicated.





    Actually when I read about this indeed it is complicated by the different interpretations of consumer law between member states of the EU and UK. Perhaps you are a consumer lawyer based in Brussels and have a clearer grasp on this. LOL. Consumer protection laws are not always clear either in North America. I am not sure where you get that Apple pitches Applecare any differently in various countries -it  seems clearly spelled out.

  • Reply 20 of 57

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post


    It's not about being good for business, but about being good for consumers.  You speak as if this is some unique piece of legislation that is singling out poor persecuted Apple and no one else.  It isn't.


     


    As for a sense of entitlement - you jest?  I recently paid a small fortune for a 15" MBPR.  I seriously think that it should last a good bit longer than 12 months without malfunctioning or hidden defects or deficiencies developing.  Would you buy a car that only had a 12 month warranty?  Given it's difficulty of repair, I would not have bought it if it had only been covered by a 12 month warranty - so that's one way that legislation is good for business, it gives consumers the confidence to purchase.

     





    Actually it is something that should be fair to both and not intended to benefit consumers that have unrealistic expectations of product life. I am not sure I accept car warranties as being entirely relevant here as there are personal safety issues that supersede any warranty, but I accept your point that there should be a reasonable expectation of usefulness. Two years for a phone or equivalent without lots of mechanical wear and tear seems not unreasonable - so we likely agree. I just know that many people will milk whatever little loophole to get products replaced - and that costs us all. For Italians, well they have lost an option that many probably found real value in. C'est la vie. (Che è la vita?)

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