About 10 months ago, Apple found itself under scrutiny from Italian “antitrust authority” AGCM over its warranty policy.
Apple was selling products like the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and iPod devices with a one-year warranty, but was actually required under EU law to protect buyers with a minimum of two years protection (this goes for all consumer electronics).
Apple charged for this (under the AppleCare warranty), but this evidently overlapped with the warranty protection Apple was obligated to offer consumers under EU consumer protection laws, free of charge.
At the end of last year, Apple was thus fined $1.2 million by AGCM, and recently lost its appeal, forcing it to put a notice on packages. But the story doesn’t end there.
Just a few weeks ago, Apple was served with a formal notice by a group of consumer watchdogs from 11 European countries, which requested the company to immediately put a halt to its ‘misleading’ product guarantees.
Apple begrudgingly updated its warranty policy to match EU laws. Sort of.
Yet still, the story doesn’t end here.
Yesterday, Dutch consumer group Consumentenbond – which was one of the European organizations that sent a notice to Apple a few weeks ago – unequivocally said that the updated warranty policy doesn’t quite cut it either.
More precisely, Consumentenbond asserts that Apple is still providing insufficient information (“in a footnote”) about the national consumer protection laws for specific EU countries, including The Netherlands. The EU wouldn’t be the EU if a good number of member states didn’t have their own warranty policies.
The consumer watchdog is asking Apple to provide more and better information.
Says Consumentenbond director Bart Combée in a statement (translated):
“Apple is still not providing information about specific Dutch consumer laws that relate to the warranties it offers. That means consumers are not getting all the information they require before purchasing an Apple product”.
Combée says it Apple’s updated warranty policy is, however, a ‘step forward’ compared to the ‘cluttered document of nearly 200 pages that could earlier be found on Apple’s website’.
Consumentenbond also indicates that Apple still hasn’t responded to its earlier letter, and hints that it may pursue legal action against the company.
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