Apple Warranty Practices Called Into Question By EU Justice Commissioner
Last December Apple was fined $1.16 million by Italian regulators for the company’s failure to inform consumers of a two-year guarantee warranty that is mandatory by EU law. Now Bloomberg is reporting that EU Justice Commissioner, Viviane Reding, is calling for Apple’s advertising of product-warranty practices to be investigated by the European Union’s 27 states.
According to Bloomberg, Reding wrote to member countries asking them to verify whether Apple retailers failed to advertise consumers’ right to a minimum two-year warranty for Apple products. In the letter Reding wrote, “Apple prominently advertised that its products come with a one-year manufacturer warranty but failed to clearly indicate the consumers’ automatic and free-of-cose entitlement to a minimum two-year guarantee under EU law. These are unacceptable marketing practices.”
This is exactly what Apple was fined for in December. The Italian regulator, which also enforces consumer protection rules, said Apple misled consumers by “prominently advertising” that its products have a one-year manufacturer warranty.
Alan Hely, a spokesman for Cupertino, California-based Apple in London, declined to comment, other than referring to Apple’s EU statutory warranty page on its website. This page basically states that EU consumer law covers product defects at the time of delivery and Apple’s one-year limited warranty and the AppleCare protection plan covers any defects to the device after the buyer receives it.
Different rules exist in EU countries for violations of consumer protection law. Although the European Commission can’t investigate companies concerning misleading advertising, it can take legal action against countries that don’t enforce EU rules.