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Apple Fined By Italy For Misleading Customers About Warranty Terms

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the legal-obligations-are-for-other-people dept.

Government 218

beaverdownunder writes "An Italian watchdog has fined Apple 900,000 euros ($1.2m, £750,000) for failing to inform Italian shoppers of their legal right to two years of technical support, recognizing instead only a one-year standard warranty. This had led people to pay extra for Apple's own support service, AppleCare, which overlapped with the government-mandated guarantee."

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Perfect Match (2, Insightful)

nman64 (912054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38515666)

Apple and the Italian government deserve each other.

Re:Perfect Match (4, Funny)

Flyerman (1728812) | more than 2 years ago | (#38515758)

It's almost a form of taxation. Apple takes Italian fanboi moneys, then the government fines Apple.

The real question is whether Apple comes out ahead or behind after the fine.

Re:Perfect Match (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38515878)

Damn. You guys have GOT to try this.

So get together with your partner (boyfriend, girlfriend, whatever, not here to judge). Get naked. Lay on the floor on your back preferably on a hardwood or concrete floor. Make sure your partner is wearing ladie's stiletto high heels.

Now here's the cool part. Open your legs and place your nutsac as flat against the floor as you can. Good contact with the floor is a must! Have your partner bring down the stiletto heel right on one of your testicles. I mean really mash them flat against the hard floor with all their weight! Works best if they wiggle the heel back and forth like you do when mashing an insect. Then do the other testicle. If you pass out just tell them to smack you in the face and wait until you revive.

Oh my god it's so intense! There's really nothing quite like it. It will make you closer as lovers. Maybe it'll also reduce your chances of making any hellspawn if your lover is a woman and that's good cuz no real man wants children, children are something women trick us into making so they can have a trophy to go ga-ga over and meet their silly emotional needs.

Re:Perfect Match (1)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516334)

Sounds like tech support to me.

Re:Perfect Match (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38516442)

Where the fuck are all the toilets in Star Trek?

Re:Perfect Match (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38517508)

They regularly beam the poop and pee out into space.

Re:Perfect Match (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38515968)

Tho years of guarantee on consumer goods is not just an Italian law, it is a European Union directive [europa.eu] .

Re:Perfect Match (2, Insightful)

Entropius (188861) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516564)

Is a two-year guarantee the same as tech support? To use the mandatory car analogy, is saying "You've got to fix Bob's car if it breaks for two years" the same as "You've got to teach Bob how to drive and walk him through changing his oil"?

Re:Perfect Match (2)

nstlgc (945418) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516940)

That is irrelevant. The question is, do they imply that if you want more than 1 year of warranty, you need to pay more?

Re:Perfect Match (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38516970)

And a directive the UK is BREACHING on a lot of its goods.

Re:Perfect Match (4, Informative)

Nuskrad (740518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38517578)

Actually, the UK implements this directive through the Sales of Goods Act, which gives a consumer redress against the retailer for up to 6 years if goods do not conform with the sales contract, or last a 'reasonable' length of time.

Re:Perfect Match (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 2 years ago | (#38517122)

EU directives are implemented, but individual nations have to create a law based around that, and are fully tasked with enforcing those laws in their own territory. So, the EU directive is basically irrelevant, as they violated it in Italy, but may have complied in other EU member nations.

Budgets (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38515738)

Italy looking for ways to balance the budget :)

Re:Budgets (1)

P-niiice (1703362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38515896)

so the romans did as apple did?

Re:Budgets (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516390)

Well Apple just needs to delay payment as long as possible as the Euro drops further the fine in American Dollars will be less.

On a side note... I haven't been seeing as many snotty messages from European Slashdotters, Saying how great things are in Europe and the US should do things the same way here.

Re:Budgets (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516922)

... or just wait for Italy to be solvent again and restructure it's government.
I swear to christ, the country is like a phoenix.

Re:Budgets (0)

d3vi1 (710592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38517210)

At least we're cleaning up our own problems back here. How are you guys doing with your debt? How's your deficit? For us (snotty Europeans) a 5% deficit is huge. For the former rebellious colonies 45% still seems to be acceptable. Don't worry, we'll be happy to hire your grandsons to do our laundry and lawns in half a century. Anyway, things here are still better than in the States for now. The future? Nobody can tell, but Wall St. keeps trying (and failing).

Joking aside, while the Euro is having it's puberty phase right now, it will most probably work quite well for a long time. There's a a simple reason: it's way cheaper to fix it than to ditch it.

Re:Budgets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38517520)

At least we're cleaning up our own problems back here. How are you guys doing with your debt? How's your deficit? For us (snotty Europeans) a 5% deficit is huge. For the former rebellious colonies 45% still seems to be acceptable. Don't worry, we'll be happy to hire your grandsons to do our laundry and lawns in half a century. Anyway, things here are still better than in the States for now. The future? Nobody can tell, but Wall St. keeps trying (and failing).

Okay, the only possible explanation is you are a troll. With the exception of the United Kingdom and possibly Germany, Europe is in deep trouble. And that is by using many different metrics.

Consider borrowing costs. The rate the United States pays to borrow just recently (yesterday) inched above 2% for the first time in a month. Romania (one of the better-off EU members) borrows money at 6% interest. My fucking *car loan* is at 6%. And you and I can both think of European countries who pay considerably higher interest rates.

As an aside, the current rate of return on investments is compelling me to make some decisions that are very good for the local economy: I am paying to do some work on my home. The market is still volatile, there is no action on the treasuries, and a jumbo certificate of deposit only pays 1%. Literally the best thing I can do with my money is pay a professional to perform some efficiency-related home improvements to improve the value of my home.

Joking aside, while the Euro is having it's puberty phase right now, it will most probably work quite well for a long time. There's a a simple reason: it's way cheaper to fix it than to ditch it.

The Euro is certainly at a crossroads, but I am not as enthusiastic as you are about it. Let me be clear that I am not going to dance in the street if it collapses: The Euro is so big that its collapse will be felt worldwide.

Re:Budgets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38517310)

I'm sorry, but we don't accept US dollars any more. Do you have any yen?

Not surprised... (4, Informative)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38515742)

Service plans are probably the most profitable thing anybody sells. Just like rebates, odds are very very high that the person buying said plan won't ever use it, so it's pretty much free money a lot of the time...

Re:Not surprised... (-1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516030)

Apple Care is better though, in that they don't make it hard to use the plan. They have stores all over the world where you can bring your computer for support, and if you are supported, they an tell you that. This is based on my experience with friends who have it, I've never paid for it. But it seems like a good idea for someone who isn't tech savvy and doesn't want to bother their friends for help.

Re:Not surprised... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38516206)

If you compare Apple Care with the Dell Next-Business-Day-Support, Apple Care is next to useless, at least in my experience. I've been asked to reinstall the OS even ofr trivial/obvious things (e.g. the soundcard being noisy even when muted, even during boot) - Dell ships a diagnostics tool inside the Bios and/or on CD, which you can go through even with a "technician" on the phone. Even if you managed to convince Apple that your Macbookpro is broken, you'll have to walk/drive it to a shop, and they'll take at least 14 days to fix it, if they manage fix it at all. With Dell, you can arrange for a technician to visit you the next day, or just have them send you the spare part in advance for easy to install things such as harddisks. This complete inability to support their own productts is really the traw that broke the camels back why I won't ever by another Apple product again.

Re:Not surprised... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38516252)

At least Apple products are beautiful.

Re:Not surprised... (2, Insightful)

trum4n (982031) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516822)

I rather have an IBM think pad from the 90's. White and button-less is not beautiful. Putting form over function is the most immature of engineering mistakes. Lucky them, their target audience is idiotic sheeple. Idiotic sheeple with money to waste.

Re:Not surprised... (1)

jitterman (987991) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516974)

Amen my brother (or sister)!

Think Different, indeed, just like all of the others.

Re:Not surprised... (3, Insightful)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 2 years ago | (#38517054)

Never had a problem... when I take it to the shop, plop it down, and say "it's broke, make it work".
I did that with my iMac, and they replaced it in 90 seconds. From what you're saying, I feel lucky I live near Scottsdale, AZ then... because the reality distortion field is working in my favor.

Re:Not surprised... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38517062)

I had a Macbook with a noisy fan (bad bearings) covered under AppleCare. I made an appointment at an Apple store and brought it in.

I told them the fan was bad. I gave it to them. Fifteen minutes later, they handed it back to me with a new fan.

They never even turned it on. They just replaced exactly what I asked them to replace, in fifteen minutes flat, while I played with their showroom machines.

Show me even one example of Dell ever doing anything like that.

Re:Not surprised... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38517112)

Dell will come to your house/work and do the same thing. No driving to the Apple store and no waiting 15 minutes having to kill time.

Re:Not surprised... (1)

andydread (758754) | more than 2 years ago | (#38517256)

Hello? Dell will come to your house/business and replace the part. You don't have to budget 15 minutes + drive-time nor waste gas to drive to the Apple store. And not every trip to the Apple store will result in a 15 minute wait.

Re:Not surprised... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38517124)

I don't know about Dell's "Next-Business-Day-Support" but their standard support sucks; it's like getting blood from a stone.
My experience with Apple's has been completely the opposite and why I'm happy to recommend them to others; when my late model PowerBook developed a screen fault, I phoned their support number, a UPS guy turned up with a box the following day then returned it with a new screen the day after. The laptop was only covered by the standard warranty and was a couple of months old at the time.

Re:Not surprised... (4, Interesting)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516246)

I'm not speaking as to the quality of the plan, obviously some are better than others; I'm just saying from a business standpoint they make a lot of money. This is why Best Buy, Apple, pretty much any major electronics retailer are so aggressive pushing them whenever you buy something that is even covered by one. You can't buy cables at Best Buy without someone trying to sell you a $3 replacement plan. Hell, even Home Depot pushes replacement plans on stuff now, doesn't matter what it is, doesn't matter who even makes it...

The "shady" part comes in when the business pushes plans to cover things that are already covered by law, not to mention other considerations (I know many credit cards have certain consumer protections if you use them to purchase a product, for instance). Curious as to how this will play out in Italy, but here in the States there is nothing illegal about taking advantage of a person's ignorance to their own rights as consumers. Ethically questionable, definitely, but not illegal. It's not their job to educate you as to what your rights are.

Personally, when I worked for a company that dealt with these things, I was always honest and open about the benefits to the customer, and if there wasn't one (customer taking product out of the country where it's not covered anyway, for instance) I wouldn't try to push it on them...which is probably why I didn't last long in that particular job nor had particularly impressive commissions. Nothing against those who subscribe to "the hard sell", but I just couldn't bring myself to capitalize on customer ignorance like that.

Re:Not surprised... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38517282)

My experience.

In laws bought me an extended warranty on an overhead microwave. 18 months into it it broke. It took many calls to figure out what I was supposed to do but eventually I was told to unmount it from the wall and take it to the store. My bestbuy receipt printed on thermal paper was faded and the date and price I paid were not very legible. After many arguments and at least an hour talking to 4 different "mangers", I myself found the exact same model on the floor and they agreed to swap (they told me they did not have that model in stock anymore). Then they had the nerve to ask me to pay another $200 for an additonal 4 year warranty even though I still had 2.5 years left on the warranty I had already bought. Apparently the orignal exteneded warranty gets voided regardless or time once you use it.

I guess I got a new microwave out of it but had they not had the same model in stock, I would have only got $150 because they could not read my receipt and they don't have the ability to pull it up from their system. NEVER AGAIN will I buy another extended warranty and I refuse to shop at BestBuy for this and other reasons.

Re:Not surprised... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38516292)

If you listen to the Apple fanbois on /., you will come to the conclusion that Apple doesn't make money or just breaks breaks even selling music and videos on iTMS, selling apps at the app store, selling hardware because they are a software company, selling software because they are a hardware company. I'm confused. Apple has huge reserves of cash, where is the money coming from? I can't be just from the Apple Care add-on.

Re:Not surprised... (5, Insightful)

Entropius (188861) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516626)

They have to be making a shitton of money on hardware. I bought a laptop from Sager last summer for $1100: 1920x1080 extended-gamut screen, quad-core Sandy Bridge processor, Geforce 555M, the works. Very nice machine. I wound up pricing those specs on Apple's website: you couldn't get a graphics card on par with the 555M for love nor money from Apple, and to get everything else it'd be around $2300.

The Apple machine has nicer speakers and that aluminium body, but beyond that -- Apple's got to be pocketing a large part of that $1200 difference.

Re:Not surprised... (0)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 2 years ago | (#38517150)

It's a gaming machine, of course the graphics card is going to be better... the machine is kinda biased in that area. The same price point Macbook Pro ($1,199) has the same processor style.
It's obviously not a gaming machine, so you're not in the demographic. No gaming machine needs Firewire-800, airplay, mini-displayport with thunderbolt, nor superdrive. Coming stock with 4GB ram & upgradable to 16GB I guess is outside of that demographic as well.

Re:Not surprised... (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 2 years ago | (#38517352)

Lol. try harder, fanboi.

Re:Not surprised... (5, Informative)

nahdude812 (88157) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516434)

Apple Care is better though

No, it's really not.

They have stores all over the world

Yeah, just like most big brand stores, but this is not very relevant because the store you bought an item at is presumably local to you, so who cares if they also have a location in East Jabyyp? Unless you regularly travel a lot, the chances of this being useful is pretty low.

if you are supported, they an tell you that

There's the problem. It's not like Apple Care is one of those cell phone insurance plans where it covers anything that can go wrong. Plenty of things can go wrong that they will be happy to tell you is not covered - even stuff that is not a wear-and-tear fault. Try to get a reasonably expensive part replaced, such as a video card, and they'll tell you how they found some dust in your chassis, so it overheated and it's your fault for not keeping it clean (nevermind that you can't open the chassis on most modern macs without voiding the warranty anyway). At least that's what they told me for my wife's 3 month old iMac.

Likewise my brother's 1 year old Macbook Pro had a recognized fault with its video card. It would sometimes just refuse to produce any video, sometimes to the built-in LCD, sometimes to the video out port, sometimes to both. Plenty of people with the same generation MBP had the same problem. He took it in to get it repaired, and was initially told it was covered since it was a known problem. When he went to pick it up a week later, they wanted $800 in parts in labor - even though he had been told it was going to be a covered repair. Their reason? The chassis had a scratch on it - seriously. They claimed this scratch (in an aluminum chassis) had caused the damage. They went ahead and made the repair without consulting him, and now refused to return his laptop until he coughed up the cash.

Also, if it's not this year's model, they're not going to have replacement parts on hand, and it's going to be 1-2 weeks before you can get that replacement part.

But it seems like a good idea for someone who isn't tech savvy and doesn't want to bother their friends for help

That's probably true. If you don't know how to use your computer, the Geniuses can tell you how to double click. Make sure to call ahead for an appointment, they're booked until next week, but they'll be happy to let you sit in their gallery store for 45 minutes after your appointment time while you have nothing else to do but decide if maybe buying a new one is a better path than being without a computer for two weeks while your old one is getting fixed on your own dime despite having an extended warranty.

Re:Not surprised... (1)

phulegart (997083) | more than 2 years ago | (#38517102)

AppleCare, and more specifically AppleCare Plus are pretty much a joke. Apple Care Plus [apple.com] If you read the terms of AppleCare plus...

AppleCare+ for iPhone extends repair coverage and technical support to two years from the original purchase date of your iPhone and adds coverage for up to two incidents of accidental damage due to handling, each subject to a $49 service fee.

Which means that after you pay Extra for the AppleCare Plus on your iPhone, you still have to pay $49 if you break it... AND you only get that super discounted price of $49 twice. What kind of extended warranty is that?

Oh *now* they step in to protect their citizens (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38515744)

Where was this concerned Italian government when MTV sent over the Jersey Shore cast?

Re:Oh *now* they step in to protect their citizens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38516104)

*not* in italy, obviously.

Re:Oh *now* they step in to protect their citizens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38516298)

How would you know that...?
Unless you... watch Jersey Shore! ^^

Re:Oh *now* they step in to protect their citizens (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516704)

Do you feel guilty for going to the zoo, Mr. Judmental?

Re:Oh *now* they step in to protect their citizens (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 2 years ago | (#38517200)

That made no sense whatsoever.

Apple got off lightly... (4, Insightful)

GrpA (691294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38515756)

That is corporate ethics at it's absolute worst. You can be sure that it's likely Apple in Italy knew of the situation and was milking it if they got a fine like that... :(

I wonder if the fine even approaches the profits they made abusing the laws like that.

GrpA

Re:Apple got off lightly... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38515832)

This is EU bullying American companies at its worst. Italy, France and the like need to get a clue. Try having an economy instead of riding Germany.

Re:Apple got off lightly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38515932)

Please... Make a -5 troll mod and mod parent to that.

Re:Apple got off lightly... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38515974)

The EU protects consumer rights. American companies an the like need to get a clue. Try to avoid the gray areas instead of screwing the customer.

Re:Apple got off lightly... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38516290)

Its not just the EU, Australia, New Zealand and Japan also have heavy consumer protection laws.
The US is just a free for all fuck the consumer kind of country. Its no wonder then that american companies think they can act with impunity everywhere else.

Re:Apple got off lightly... (4, Insightful)

GrpA (691294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38515994)

Not likely... Apple is a true multinational and would be run and staffed by Italians for the most of it. And it's not bullying - it's a clear case of failing to meet their warranty obligations.

To be fair, consumer laws in the US are pretty poor and there's very little government intervention even when US companies deliberately and systematically break the law.

But this was not in the US, it was in Italy and like much of the the rest of the world, there are laws in Italy to protect consumers from dodgy goods. This is known as Statutory Warranty and you can be sure that if a company was fined so much, it is usually because they knew the law and were breaking it on purpose as a means to making extra profits.

All Apple had to do is compete on the same level playing field as everyone else in Italy ( and in fact, most of the rest of the world ) and it looks like they chose not to, got caught and got punished.

GrpA

Re:Apple got off lightly... (5, Interesting)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516168)

To be fair, consumer laws in the US are pretty poor and there's very little government intervention even when US companies deliberately and systematically break the law.

But this was not in the US, it was in Italy and like much of the the rest of the world, there are laws in Italy to protect consumers from dodgy goods.

US: society equals corporations and the laws reflect that
EU: society equals citizens and the laws reflect that.

elsewhere? Depends on how badly the government has been screwed by corporations (IMF, World Bank, etc...) already.

Re:Apple got off lightly... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38516868)

As european (italian actually) I would really like this to be true. Unluckily it is not. In my country "society equals ... mass media, heavy industries, weapon sellers, organized crime, catholic hierachies, big property owners, trafficants, ...", not really so much attention to what is going on for the single citizens.

I think that the italian governement is willing to show it can strike those who does not respect the law, and (sadly) is starting where they will make no citizen angry.

Re:Apple got off lightly... (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516234)

My interpretation of the fine is that Apple didn't make it clear to Italian consumers that their warranties were for 2 years. It seems your interpretation is that Apple didn't honor warranties past 1 year which wasn't the situation.

Re:Apple got off lightly... (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516814)

It hardly matters. If they took money for something they were required by law to offer for free, they effectively either took money fopr nothing (fraud) or they took money for warranty service and failed to provide the free warranty.

Re:Apple got off lightly... (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516904)

AppleCare extends the warranty period to 3 years (not 2) and increases the coverage. Italian consumers are not entitled by law to have either for free so I don't see how your complaint applies.

Re:Apple got off lightly... (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516264)

you can be sure that if a company was fined so much, it is usually because they knew the law and were breaking it on purpose as a means to making extra profits.

Good post, except $1.2M is chump change for Apple. The company just awarded bonuses totaling an estimated $400M to 7 top executives. 7 guys, $400M. That's how much money Apple has to burn. $1.2M isn't even a week's pay for any of these guys.

Re:Apple got off lightly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38517066)

To be fair, consumer laws in the US are pretty poor and there's very little government intervention even when US companies deliberately and systematically break the law.

I've dealt with United States consumer law (on both sides of the coin) and it is pretty expansive. At the same time, I have been privy to consumer issues that arose in other countries (in particular, England) and said to myself "if a company pulled that stunt here in the states it'd be a slam-dunk triple damages award." And there is *considerable* government intervention at both the federal and state level (again, I have personally initiated a government investigation into one company's unfair practices, and at another time worked at a company that was being pursued by the state AG).

Do you have any actual experience to back up your claim, or is this more a gut feeling, "it must be true because the U.S. sucks" sort of thing?

Re:Apple got off lightly... (-1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38517336)

Not likely... Apple is a true multinational and would be run and staffed by Italians for the most of it. And it's not bullying - it's a clear case of failing to meet their warranty obligations.

My understanding is that Apple had two problems: The first one, Apple gives one year warranty in Italy as they do everywhere in the world, and whoever fined them believed that Apple should have told customers that they might have rights beyond this warranty. In the UK, you add the magic sentence "your statutory rights are not affected" and you're in the clear; you told the customer whatever you give them voluntarily, and that they can check the laws whether they have more rights, and that you don't claim that they don't have these rights.

The second one has to do with Apple Care: The value of Apple Care to the customer is whatever Apple will pay for, minus whatever Apple had to pay for even if you didn't have Apple Care. So for example if Apple Care pays for repairs for three years, and Apple gives a year warranty anyway, then the value of Apple Care is two years of repairs quite obviously. And if Apple has to do more than its warranty says by law, then Apple Care is worth exactly that amount less. And that is something that Apple should have told customers, so that they could make an eductated decision whether or not to buy Apple Care.

Now there are two problems: First, anywhere in the EU if your device breaks down after more than six months, _you_ have to prove that it is due to some fault that was present when you bought the product; after less than six months the seller has to prove it is _not_ due to such a fault (the terms of the usual one year warranty might improve things). So the seller can say "show us a report from a qualified engineer that says the fault was with our product, and we'll fix it", and you're stuck. The second problem is, well, who pays for it? The customer, obviously. So whenever you hear them moaning about how something costs X dollars in Italy or the UK and only Y dollars in the USA, tell them that (a) you don't pay dollars in Europe, so the statement is nonsense in the first place, that (b) they forgot VAT (the louder they moan, the more likely they forgot about VAT), and that (c) any company needs to charge more money if they have to do more repairs by law.

Back to the start: All Apple has to do is to add some text to their website, and they are fine. What consumers actually get will not change.

Re:Apple got off lightly... (4, Informative)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516040)

In the EU, companies still aren't people, so it's not bullying.

Re:Apple got off lightly... (3, Informative)

Sique (173459) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516076)

No, the mandated two year warranty has to be given by the seller of a product, not the manufacturer.

It's the italian Apple Store that is liable, and this is an italian company. That the italian Apple Store is owned by Apple Inc., doesn't change anything.

Re:Apple got off lightly... (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38515948)

It's pretty common with corporations - especially US corporations - in the EU. There are quite strong consumer protection laws that mean that a lot of 'extended warranties' are just promises to honour the terms required by law. They just offer the same service that they offer in the USA, where there are much weaker minimum standards.

Re:Apple got off lightly... (2)

mpe (36238) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516238)

That is corporate ethics at it's absolute worst. You can be sure that it's likely Apple in Italy knew of the situation and was milking it if they got a fine like that... :(
I wonder if the fine even approaches the profits they made abusing the laws like that.


They could potentially be facing nearly 30 similar fines. Given that it's unlikely they only did this in Italy.

Re:Apple got off lightly... (1)

Rising Ape (1620461) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516656)

While I've no desire to defend Apple, they're certainly not the only ones. I had to threaten to report Dell to trading standards before they'd replace my faulty monitor ~ 15 months after purchase. Sorry Dell, you can't get round the law by saying "one year warranty only" - a monitor should last more than 15 months, full stop.

Re:Apple got off lightly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38516730)

Goddamnit, bonch where are you?!?! Apple's being beaten up by these haters for NO REASON! Where are you to defend Apple and explain why Apple is good and right and faultess?!?! And if you can somehow impugn Google at the same time, that would be good.

Well... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38515792)

F*uck Apple.

Sent from my Macbook Pro

Apple: 1, Italy: 0 (4, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38515800)

Apple's profits from selling the additional warranties in the entire country of Italy is almost certainly more than the fine, so it was a good business decision for them to flout local law if this is all they're going to face.

Same with Best Buy, Home Depot etc all.... (2)

Bardwick (696376) | more than 2 years ago | (#38515808)

They always try and get me to spend money on a 1 year warranty for tools, laptop, etc... I read the package to them and ask "The manufacturer has me covered for 2 years, what does your warranty get me that I don't have." Answer: "We handle all the problems with calling them..". Neat.

Re:Same with Best Buy, Home Depot etc all.... (3, Informative)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516302)

That is not so simple. Misleading bit is that Apple advertises "included 1 year AppleCare, + extra 2 years for extra money," while saying nowhere that customers actually by law have 2 years of warranty.

Now, the simplest distinction of AppleCare and standard support is that former is international, latter is local.

IOW, there are some extras AppleCare covers, but they avoid mentioning how precisely it differs from the standard support, what's covered for 1 year, what's covered for 2 years, what's covered with the optional AppleCare.

Easy to fix (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38515840)

When a company does this to a product, force them to provide a lifetime warranty on that product. They will be much more careful.

Apple shill moderators? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516084)

A "Troll" is when you say something you don't believe. I believe this. Go suck eggs. I believe that too.

Re:Apple shill moderators? (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516916)

It would be a damn good remedy.

Re:Easy to fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38516462)

When a company does this to a product, force them to provide a lifetime warranty on that product. They will be much more careful.

Italy can have a law that says "everything made by anyone must have a lifetime warranty" or they can have nice toys like Apple ipods. Italy can't have both -- Apple (and everyone else) would simply not sell there.

Re:Easy to fix (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516900)

Italy can have a law that says "everything made by anyone must have a lifetime warranty" or they can have nice toys like Apple ipods. Italy can't have both -- Apple (and everyone else) would simply not sell there.

Anonymous cowards can misrepresent what I said in my comment or they can make comments which make sense. You can't have both.

Re:Easy to fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38516870)

I find your ideas intriguing and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:Easy to fix (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 2 years ago | (#38517206)

If that happened, the immediate reaction would be to discontinue the product lines and introduce new products that are exactly the same but with different part numbers. The lifetime of the product is then over.

Re:Easy to fix (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 2 years ago | (#38517606)

Actually, most of the things I buy have a lifetime warranty. Each product is guaranteed for its lifetime.

I thought it was already worthless (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38515886)

"Technical Support" from Apple is like going to church. You get told things like "because that's the way it is" and when you press, you never get the "why" part of it. I learned long ago about the compatibility between Apple and business -- there is none by the standards I have come to expect in the PC world. There is no "next business day, on site, accidental damage" support from Apple. When I learned that, I could never again take them seriously where business was concerned.

Re:I thought it was already worthless (2, Insightful)

lucm (889690) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516024)

"Technical Support" from Apple is like going to church. You get told things like "because that's the way it is" and when you press, you never get the "why" part of it. I learned long ago about the compatibility between Apple and business -- there is none by the standards I have come to expect in the PC world. There is no "next business day, on site, accidental damage" support from Apple. When I learned that, I could never again take them seriously where business was concerned.

Their business model does not target companies because they know that fashion statements have no impact on company buyers, and that's all they have in stock.

AppleCare (2, Insightful)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 2 years ago | (#38515898)

An AppleCare plan offers much more protection than just one more year warranty.

Re:AppleCare (4, Informative)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516044)

Sure but thats not the point. If they had informed their customers of the 2 year warranty that they were entitled to by law, that would have informed their decision as to whether to go for the extra AppleCare or not. The thing is, they thought the choice was between AppleCare and a 1 year warranty.... but it wasn't. They were misinformed, by the same party who was profiting from decision, and thus had motive to mislead them.

Re:AppleCare (4, Insightful)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516170)

If they had informed their customers of the 2 year warranty that they were entitled to by law,

Every european customer is supposed to know

that. Without seeing the actual court ruling I only can assume that some customer rights organizations filed a suit because they found the apple advertizings missleading.

The thing is, they thought the choice was between AppleCare and a 1 year warranty.... but it wasn't. They were misinformed, by the same party who was profiting from decision, and thus had motive to mislead them.

That is what the newspapers claim, and the court (seems to have) ruled. However I find this unbelieveable.
Every product in the EU since ages has a law gurranteed 2 years "guarranty". If you see how few people buy the AppleCare extra guarranty I find this whole case bollocks ...

Re:AppleCare (2)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516474)

It's nonsense to say that every European purchaser understands European consumer protection laws. And it is absolutely right to find that if Apple sold the extended warranty making a claim that the warranty on hardware was extended by a year, that was false advertising and purchasers are owed a refund for the portion of their extended warranty that is due to the cost of the hardware warranty. And the Apple on-line service that's included isn't worth much. You can get pretty good free support on-line.

Re:AppleCare (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516620)

It may be more of a difference in cultures and laws. In the states, the default is that caveat emptor where the buyer is responsible for doing the necessary research whereas in Italy their view is the seller is responsible for informing the buyer. Note that Apple isn't being fined for not honoring the warranties merely not making it explicitly clear about the warranty coverage period.

Re:AppleCare (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516640)

Ah, so you know exactly the exact wording Apple was using? You are sure that Apple made "false claims"? Do you have any links to that?
I doubt heavyly, that Apple made any claims at all. They only offered their AppleCare package.
However, as the Italian Apple Stores are run by Italians and we all know how Italians are ... perhaps they indeed did that ;D
I for my part rather believe the "consumer rights organizations" and the "judge" had an easy victory on some misswordings than on a "great rip of schema" by Apple.

(And yes, I'm an AppleCare customer as I get for roughly 250â three Years Warranty instead of two and get simple accidents like a notebook dropped from a table or theft covered. But while looking at the german AppleCare side the pictures there are indeed missleading.).

You lie (1)

F69631 (2421974) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516662)

If they had informed their customers of the 2 year warranty that they were entitled to by law,

Every european customer is supposed to know that.

*snip*

Every product in the EU since ages has a law gurranteed 2 years "guarranty".

That's funny because the consumer agency of at least one EU country begs to differ [kuluttajavirasto.fi]

The warranty provided for home appliances is often 1-2 years. Their expected service life - depending on the appliance - is, however, often much longer. If an appliance breaks down immediately after the warranty has expired, the cost of repairs is substantial and the consumer has not operated the appliance contrary to the operating instructions, he may appeal to the appliance's service life.

I can't be bothered to go through all EU countries but I feel confident saying that Finland doesn't have nearly the worst consumer protection laws of EU. So everything you wrote (with lots of bold text and stuff) is factually untrue.

Re:AppleCare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38516048)

It gives you the warm fuzzy feeling that Apple cares about you!

Re:AppleCare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38516678)

...unless you need it.

It's the old insurance delusion.

Some clarification is needed. (2)

Sique (173459) | more than 2 years ago | (#38515970)

The abstract is at least as misleading as Apple's warranty terms, it seems. The mandated two year warranty has nothing to do with a manufacturer's warranty. The two year mandated warranty

a) covers only faults that where present at the time of the sale.
b) has to be given by the seller of the product, independent from any manufacturer (how the seller gets back to the manufacturer for cover is up to them).

Only if Apple is the seller of the items (e.g. through the Apple Stores), it has to adhere to the rules. And then the terms of business or the advertising for the extended warranty must not be misleading about the coverage the buyer is entitled to anyway.
 

Directive 1999/44/EC of the European Parliament (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38516226)

DIRECTIVE 1999/44/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

of 25 May 1999

on certain aspects of the sale of consumer goods and associated guarantees

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Article 95 thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the Commission(1),

Having regard to the opinion of the Economic and Social Committee(2),

Acting in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 251 of the Treaty in the light of the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee on 18 May 1999(3),

(1) Whereas Article 153(1) and (3) of the Treaty provides that the Community should contribute to the achievement of a high level of consumer protection by the measures it adopts pursuant to Article 95 thereof;

(2) Whereas the internal market comprises an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is guaranteed; whereas free movement of goods concerns not only transactions by persons acting in the course of a business but also transactions by private individuals; whereas it implies that consumers resident in one Member State should be free to purchase goods in the territory of another Member State on the basis of a uniform minimum set of fair rules governing the sale of consumer goods;

(3) Whereas the laws of the Member States concerning the sale of consumer goods are somewhat disparate, with the result that national consumer goods markets differ from one another and that competition between sellers may be distorted;

(4) Whereas consumers who are keen to benefit from the large market by purchasing goods in Member States other than their State of residence play a fundamental role in the completion of the internal market; whereas the artificial reconstruction of frontiers and the compartmentalisation of markets should be prevented; whereas the opportunities available to consumers have been greatly broadened by new communication technologies which allow ready access to distribution systems in other Member States or in third countries; whereas, in the absence of minimum harmonisation of the rules governing the sale of consumer goods, the development of the sale of goods through the medium of new distance communication technologies risks being impeded;

(5) Whereas the creation of a common set of minimum rules of consumer law, valid no matter where goods are purchased within the Community, will strengthen consumer confidence and enable consumers to make the most of the internal market;

(6) Whereas the main difficulties encountered by consumers and the main source of disputes with sellers concern the non-conformity of goods with the contract; whereas it is therefore appropriate to approximate national legislation governing the sale of consumer goods in this respect, without however impinging on provisions and principles of national law relating to contractual and non-contractual liability;

(7) Whereas the goods must, above all, conform with the contractual specifications; whereas the principle of conformity with the contract may be considered as common to the different national legal traditions; whereas in certain national legal traditions it may not be possible to rely solely on this principle to ensure a minimum level of protection for the consumer; whereas under such legal traditions, in particular, additional national provisions may be useful to ensure that the consumer is protected in cases where the parties have agreed no specific contractual terms or where the parties have concluded contractual terms or agreements which directly or indirectly waive or restrict the rights of the consumer and which, to the extent that these rights result from this Directive, are not binding on the consumer;

(8) Whereas, in order to facilitate the application of the principle of conformity with the contract, it is useful to introduce a rebuttable presumption of conformity with the contract covering the most common situations; whereas that presumption does not restrict the principle of freedom of contract; whereas, furthermore, in the absence of specific contractual terms, as well as where the minimum protection clause is applied, the elements mentioned in this presumption may be used to determine the lack of conformity of the goods with the contract; whereas the quality and performance which consumers can reasonably expect will depend inter alia on whether the goods are new or second-hand; whereas the elements mentioned in the presumption are cumulative; whereas, if the circumstances of the case render any particular element manifestly inappropriate, the remaining elements of the presumption nevertheless still apply;

(9) Whereas the seller should be directly liable to the consumer for the conformity of the goods with the contract; whereas this is the traditional solution enshrined in the legal orders of the Member States; whereas nevertheless the seller should be free, as provided for by national law, to pursue remedies against the producer, a previous seller in the same chain of contracts or any other intermediary, unless he has renounced that entitlement; whereas this Directive does not affect the principle of freedom of contract between the seller, the producer, a previous seller or any other intermediary; whereas the rules governing against whom and how the seller may pursue such remedies are to be determined by national law;

(10) Whereas, in the case of non-conformity of the goods with the contract, consumers should be entitled to have the goods restored to conformity with the contract free of charge, choosing either repair or replacement, or, failing this, to have the price reduced or the contract rescinded;

(11) Whereas the consumer in the first place may require the seller to repair the goods or to replace them unless those remedies are impossible or disproportionate; whereas whether a remedy is disproportionate should be determined objectively; whereas a remedy would be disproportionate if it imposed, in comparison with the other remedy, unreasonable costs; whereas, in order to determine whether the costs are unreasonable, the costs of one remedy should be significantly higher than the costs of the other remedy;

(12) Whereas in cases of a lack of conformity, the seller may always offer the consumer, by way of settlement, any available remedy; whereas it is for the consumer to decide whether to accept or reject this proposal;

(13) Whereas, in order to enable consumers to take advantage of the internal market and to buy consumer goods in another Member State, it should be recommended that, in the interests of consumers, the producers of consumer goods that are marketed in several Member States attach to the product a list with at least one contact address in every Member State where the product is marketed;

(14) Whereas the references to the time of delivery do not imply that Member States have to change their rules on the passing of the risk;

(15) Whereas Member States may provide that any reimbursement to the consumer may be reduced to take account of the use the consumer has had of the goods since they were delivered to him; whereas the detailed arrangements whereby rescission of the contract is effected may be laid down in national law;

(16) Whereas the specific nature of second-hand goods makes it generally impossible to replace them; whereas therefore the consumer's right of replacement is generally not available for these goods; whereas for such goods, Member States may enable the parties to agree a shortened period of liability;

(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;

(18) Whereas Member States may provide for suspension or interruption of the period during which any lack of conformity must become apparent and of the limitation period, where applicable and in accordance with their national law, in the event of repair, replacement or negotiations between seller and consumer with a view to an amicable settlement;

(19) Whereas Member States should be allowed to set a period within which the consumer must inform the seller of any lack of conformity; whereas Member States may ensure a higher level of protection for the consumer by not introducing such an obligation; whereas in any case consumers throughout the Community should have at least two months in which to inform the seller that a lack of conformity exists;

(20) Whereas Member States should guard against such a period placing at a disadvantage consumers shopping across borders; whereas all Member States should inform the Commission of their use of this provision; whereas the Commission should monitor the effect of the varied application of this provision on consumers and on the internal market; whereas information on the use made of this provision by a Member State should be available to the other Member States and to consumers and consumer organisations throughout the Community; whereas a summary of the situation in all Member States should therefore be published in the Official Journal of the European Communities;

(21) Whereas, for certain categories of goods, it is current practice for sellers and producers to offer guarantees on goods against any defect which becomes apparent within a certain period; whereas this practice can stimulate competition; whereas, while such guarantees are legitimate marketing tools, they should not mislead the consumer; whereas, to ensure that consumers are not misled, guarantees should contain certain information, including a statement that the guarantee does not affect the consumer's legal rights;

(22) Whereas the parties may not, by common consent, restrict or waive the rights granted to consumers, since otherwise the legal protection afforded would be thwarted; whereas this principle should apply also to clauses which imply that the consumer was aware of any lack of conformity of the consumer goods existing at the time the contract was concluded; whereas the protection granted to consumers under this Directive should not be reduced on the grounds that the law of a non-member State has been chosen as being applicable to the contract;

(23) Whereas legislation and case-law in this area in the various Member States show that there is growing concern to ensure a high level of consumer protection; whereas, in the light of this trend and the experience acquired in implementing this Directive, it may be necessary to envisage more far-reaching harmonisation, notably by providing for the producer's direct liability for defects for which he is responsible;

(24) Whereas Member States should be allowed to adopt or maintain in force more stringent provisions in the field covered by this Directive to ensure an even higher level of consumer protection;

(25) Whereas, according to the Commission recommendation of 30 March 1998 on the principles applicable to the bodies responsible for out-of-court settlement of consumer disputes(4), Member States can create bodies that ensure impartial and efficient handling of complaints in a national and cross-border context and which consumers can use as mediators;

(26) Whereas it is appropriate, in order to protect the collective interests of consumers, to add this Directive to the list of Directives contained in the Annex to Directive 98/27/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 May 1998 on injunctions for the protection of consumers' interests(5),

HAVE ADOPTED THIS DIRECTIVE:

Article 1

Scope and definitions

1. The purpose of this Directive is the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States on certain aspects of the sale of consumer goods and associated guarantees in order to ensure a uniform minimum level of consumer protection in the context of the internal market.

2. For the purposes of this Directive:

(a) consumer: shall mean any natural person who, in the contracts covered by this Directive, is acting for purposes which are not related to his trade, business or profession;

(b) consumer goods: shall mean any tangible movable item, with the exception of:

- goods sold by way of execution or otherwise by authority of law,

- water and gas where they are not put up for sale in a limited volume or set quantity,

- electricity;

(c) seller: shall mean any natural or legal person who, under a contract, sells consumer goods in the course of his trade, business or profession;

(d) producer: shall mean the manufacturer of consumer goods, the importer of consumer goods into the territory of the Community or any person purporting to be a producer by placing his name, trade mark or other distinctive sign on the consumer goods;

(e) guarantee: shall mean any undertaking by a seller or producer to the consumer, given without extra charge, to reimburse the price paid or to replace, repair or handle consumer goods in any way if they do not meet the specifications set out in the guarantee statement or in the relevant advertising;

(f) repair: shall mean, in the event of lack of conformity, bringing consumer goods into conformity with the contract of sale.

3. Member States may provide that the expression "consumer goods" does not cover second-hand goods sold at public auction where consumers have the opportunity of attending the sale in person.

4. Contracts for the supply of consumer goods to be manufactured or produced shall also be deemed contracts of sale for the purpose of this Directive.

Article 2

Conformity with the contract

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.

3. There shall be deemed not to be a lack of conformity for the purposes of this Article if, at the time the contract was concluded, the consumer was aware, or could not reasonably be unaware of, the lack of conformity, or if the lack of conformity has its origin in materials supplied by the consumer.

4. The seller shall not be bound by public statements, as referred to in paragraph 2(d) if he:

- shows that he was not, and could not reasonably have been, aware of the statement in question,

- shows that by the time of conclusion of the contract the statement had been corrected, or

- shows that the decision to buy the consumer goods could not have been influenced by the statement.

5. Any lack of conformity resulting from incorrect installation of the consumer goods shall be deemed to be equivalent to lack of conformity of the goods if installation forms part of the contract of sale of the goods and the goods were installed by the seller or under his responsibility. This shall apply equally if the product, intended to be installed by the consumer, is installed by the consumer and the incorrect installation is due to a shortcoming in the installation instructions.

Article 3

Rights of the consumer

1. The seller shall be liable to the consumer for any lack of conformity which exists at the time the goods were delivered.

2. In the case of a lack of conformity, the consumer shall be entitled to have the goods brought into conformity free of charge by repair or replacement, in accordance with paragraph 3, or to have an appropriate reduction made in the price or the contract rescinded with regard to those goods, in accordance with paragraphs 5 and 6.

3. In the first place, the consumer may require the seller to repair the goods or he may require the seller to replace them, in either case free of charge, unless this is impossible or disproportionate.

A remedy shall be deemed to be disproportionate if it imposes costs on the seller which, in comparison with the alternative remedy, are unreasonable, taking into account:

- the value the goods would have if there were no lack of conformity,

- the significance of the lack of conformity, and

- whether the alternative remedy could be completed without significant inconvenience to the consumer.

Any repair or replacement shall be completed within a reasonable time and without any significant inconvenience to the consumer, taking account of the nature of the goods and the purpose for which the consumer required the goods.

4. The terms "free of charge" in paragraphs 2 and 3 refer to the necessary costs incurred to bring the goods into conformity, particularly the cost of postage, labour and materials.

5. The consumer may require an appropriate reduction of the price or have the contract rescinded:

- if the consumer is entitled to neither repair nor replacement, or

- if the seller has not completed the remedy within a reasonable time, or

- if the seller has not completed the remedy without significant inconvenience to the consumer.

6. The consumer is not entitled to have the contract rescinded if the lack of conformity is minor.

Article 4

Right of redress

Where the final seller is liable to the consumer because of a lack of conformity resulting from an act or omission by the producer, a previous seller in the same chain of contracts or any other intermediary, the final seller shall be entitled to pursue remedies against the person or persons liable in the contractual chain. the person or persons liable against whom the final seller may pursue remedies, together with the relevant actions and conditions of exercise, shall be determined by national law.

Article 5

Time limits

1. The seller shall be held liable under Article 3 where the lack of conformity becomes apparent within two years as from delivery of the goods. If, under national legislation, the rights laid down in Article 3(2) are subject to a limitation period, that period shall not expire within a period of two years from the time of delivery.

2. Member States may provide that, in order to benefit from his rights, the consumer must inform the seller of the lack of conformity within a period of two months from the date on which he detected such lack of conformity.

Member States shall inform the Commission of their use of this paragraph. The Commission shall monitor the effect of the existence of this option for the Member States on consumers and on the internal market.

Not later than 7 January 2003, the Commission shall prepare a report on the use made by Member States of this paragraph. This report shall be published in the Official Journal of the European Communities.

3. Unless proved otherwise, any lack of conformity which becomes apparent within six months of delivery of the goods shall be presumed to have existed at the time of delivery unless this presumption is incompatible with the nature of the goods or the nature of the lack of conformity.

Article 6

Guarantees

1. A guarantee shall be legally binding on the offerer under the conditions laid down in the guarantee statement and the associated advertising.

2. The guarantee shall:

- state that the consumer has legal rights under applicable national legislation governing the sale of consumer goods and make clear that those rights are not affected by the guarantee,

- set out in plain intelligible language the contents of the guarantee and the essential particulars necessary for making claims under the guarantee, notably the duration and territorial scope of the guarantee as well as the name and address of the guarantor.

3. On request by the consumer, the guarantee shall be made available in writing or feature in another durable medium available and accessible to him.

4. Within its own territory, the Member State in which the consumer goods are marketed may, in accordance with the rules of the Treaty, provide that the guarantee be drafted in one or more languages which it shall determine from among the official languages of the Community.

5. Should a guarantee infringe the requirements of paragraphs 2, 3 or 4, the validity of this guarantee shall in no way be affected, and the consumer can still rely on the guarantee and require that it be honoured.

Article 7

Binding nature

1. Any contractual terms or agreements concluded with the seller before the lack of conformity is brought to the seller's attention which directly or indirectly waive or restrict the rights resulting from this Directive shall, as provided for by national law, not be binding on the consumer.

Member States may provide that, in the case of second-hand goods, the seller and consumer may agree contractual terms or agreements which have a shorter time period for the liability of the seller than that set down in Article 5(1). Such period may not be less than one year.

2. Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that consumers are not deprived of the protection afforded by this Directive as a result of opting for the law of a non-member State as the law applicable to the contract where the contract has a close connection with the territory of the Member States.

Article 8

National law and minimum protection

1. The rights resulting from this Directive shall be exercised without prejudice to other rights which the consumer may invoke under the national rules governing contractual or non-contractual liability.

2. Member States may adopt or maintain in force more stringent provisions, compatible with the Treaty in the field covered by this Directive, to ensure a higher level of consumer protection.

Article 9

Member States shall take appropriate measures to inform the consumer of the national law transposing this Directive and shall encourage, where appropriate, professional organisations to inform consumers of their rights.

Article 10

The Annex to Directive 98/27/EC shall be completed as follows: "10. Directive 1999/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 May 1999 on certain aspects of the sale of consumer goods and associated guarantees (OJ L 171, 7.7.1999, p. 12).".

Article 11

Transposition

1. Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive not later than 1 January 2002. They shall forthwith inform the Commission thereof.

When Member States adopt these measures, they shall contain a reference to this Directive, or shall be accompanied by such reference at the time of their official publication. The procedure for such reference shall be adopted by Member States.

2. Member States shall communicate to the Commission the provisions of national law which they adopt in the field covered by this Directive.

Article 12

Review

The Commission shall, not later than 7 July 2006, review the application of this Directive and submit to the European Parliament and the Council a report. The report shall examine, inter alia, the case for introducing the producer's direct liability and, if appropriate, shall be accompanied by proposals.

Article 13

Entry into force

This Directive shall enter into force on the day of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Communities.

Article 14

This Directive is addressed to the Member States.

Done at Brussels, 25 May 1999.

For the European Parliament

The President

J. M. GIL-ROBLES

For the Council

The President

H. EICHEL

(1) OJ C 307, 16.10.1996, p. 8

and OJ C 148, 14.5.1998, p. 12.

(2) OJ C 66, 3.3.1997, p. 5.

(3) Opinion of the European Parliament of 10 March 1998 (OJ C 104, 6.4.1998, p. 30), Council Common Position of 24 September 1998 (OJ C 333, 30.10.1998, p. 46) and Decision of the European Parliament of 17 December 1998. (OJ C 98, 9.4.1999, p. 226). Decision of the European Parliament of 5 May 1999. Council Decision of 17 May 1999.

(4) OJ L 115, 17.4.1998, p. 31.

(5) OJ L 166, 11.6.1998, p. 51.

Re:Some clarification is needed. (1)

mikkelm (1000451) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516748)

The abstract doesn't even mention a manufacturer's warranty. It isn't misleading in the least. I also think it's safe to assume that Apple is the seller of the item, and that the "terms of business or the advertising for the extended warranty" was misleading, since they were fined $1.2 million USD.

Re:Some clarification is needed. (1)

mridoni (228377) | more than 2 years ago | (#38517026)

I also think it's safe to assume that Apple is the seller of the item.

Actually not, here in Italy Apple sells a lot through non-Apple-branded channels (independent retailers, consumer electronic chains, etc.), also giiven the fact that we have just a handful of Apple Stores, and in all these cases the "seller" (as defined by the European Directive) is the retailer itself, not Apple. The fine was levied due to abuses perpetrated by Apple in its stores and on its site, so in these cases the manufacturer and the seller are the same entity.
An Apple customer who used a generic retailer could "sue" the retailer (the "seller") but of course the outcome would/could be different.

Apple is being fined for confusion (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516150)

Apple is being fined because Italy feels that Apple doesn't make it explicitly clear to Italians that Apple abides with Italian consumer codes that in Italy, Apple warranties last 2 years instead of their standard 1 year. Italy feels that some consumers may have purchased AppleCare when they didn't need to purchase it. AppleCare increases the coverage terms and time period. On the English version [apple.com] it seems clear but since I don't read Italian [apple.com] very well, I don't know if it is clear on the Italian version. Also I don't know if Apple has recently changed their pages.

Re:Apple is being fined for confusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38516820)

From the italian apple site, iMac specs on December 28, 2011:

"iMac include 90 giorni di assistenza telefonica gratuita e garanzia limitata di un anno. Acquista AppleCare Protection Plan per estendere i servizi di assistenza e supporto fino a tre anni dalla data di acquisto del computer."

Translation:
iMac includes 90 days of free phone assistance and a limited _one_ year guarantee. Buy an AppleCare Protection Plan to extend assistance services and support to 3 years from the computer's purchase date.

Italian judge said he want Apple writes : iMac includes 90 days of free phone assistance and a limited _two_ year guarantee..... (in accordance with Europe laws)

Apple limited ONE Year warranty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38517084)

The warranty text refers to itself as the Apple limited ONE Year warranty then explicitly mentions that it lasts one year. Yes Apple includes the catch all statement that local laws may invalidate some statements but that is all. One of these texts had the same blob repeated in several languages and that included the one year limitation in the italian version (can't read italian but having the same words repeated for every language including the one makes it kind of obvious).

I don't know which of the texts you refered to but none of the 3 I looked at mentioned anything other than one year. So please include a link to the text you meant instead of sending others on a wild goose chase.

Yet another example... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38516478)

...of the truly EVIL nature of Apple

Not just Italy... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38516574)

This situation has been going on (of course deliberately) for years.

I bought a MacBookPro (first Intel ones) some 5 years ago in Spain, and the 2-years-EU-warranty-law was already valid.

Didn't buy an AppleCare, so after the first year, when things started to go wrong (and keep in mind that, during the first year, I already had to replace battery, AC adaptor, logic board, inverter board and cd drive, all inside Apple's 1-year warranty) I went to the Apple Service closer to my house because of a broken fan and overheat and talked about the 2 years European warranty law. They pretty much laughed at my face, saying something along the lines: "We know the law, but Apple only offers one year warranty. Good luck trying, you will need a legally-valid exame by some specialist that states that the defect was in fact not caused by the user..." or some disproportioned thing like that, implying that others had complained about the warranty before and never got Apple to accept (both individuals and companies). So in my case (and keep in mind this was like 4 years ago) it is not like they simply misinformed about AppleCare, they just wouldn't accept replacements or repairs after first year without AppleCare, even when I mentioned the 2 years warranty we in the EU have by law.

Re:Not just Italy... (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38516828)

"We know the law, but Apple only offers one year warranty. Good luck trying, you will need a legally-valid exame by some specialist that states that the defect was in fact not caused by the user."

This is exactly correct. You would have to prove that the problem was there when the macbook was sold to you, ie that the macbook components could not withstand two years of "normal" use.

What actually happened, under all the fluff (1, Informative)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#38517080)

What really happened:

1. EU mandates 6 month + 18 months of warranty for manufacturing defects. Six months the burden of proof is on the seller, 18 on the consumer. There are some exceptions and the rules are defined quite well, but this is the general way it works. This warranty doesn't cover wear and tear (unless wear and tear is caused by manufacturing defect).
2. Apple complied with the warranty, but tried to market apprecare plan by obfuscating the fact that customer had the right to warranty during two years anyway.
3. Apple got fined for illegal form of marketing.

lol italians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38517170)

like those cafone, olive-picking dago peasants can afford apple products.

Buyer beware... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38517600)

... buying extended warranties of any form really.

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