Having already been slapped with a $1.2 million fine by Italy’s ‘antitrust authority’ Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) for misleading consumers on assistance services and warranties, Apple has been served with a formal notice by The European Consumers’ Organisation which requests the company immediately puts a halt to its guarantees as they stand.
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The issue surrounds the fact that the minimum warranty for products sold in the EU is already two years. Thus, the commission argues, Apple is misleading customers by encouraging them to purchase AppleCare warranties, which ‘extend’ coverage to two years, among other benefits.
“In the EU, consumers are entitled to a minimum two-year legal guarantee. Consumers should not be misled and confused as to fundamental EU consumer rights because a company wants to sell their commercial warranty services,” said Monique Goyens, director-general of the European Consumer Organization.
Several consumer organizations have brought their complaints to the EUC or sent letters to Apple regarding the warranties, according to Goyens, who says that the case is important because it involves a “market leader” and has the potential for a wide impact on European consumers.
Apple is currently appealing the AGCM fine in a hearing that is set for March 21. The arguments of both groups center around, not just AppleCare, but the fact that the standard Apple warranty is limited to only one year.