Apple has lost an appeal in the Italian courts, must pay up on a $1.2M (€900,ooo) fine and add a notice to AppleCare packaging. The issue at stake is that Apple was charging for its AppleCare warranty, which covers products for up to two years, without informing Italian consumers that the law in that country already afforded them two years of coverage.
The company can still re-appeal the ruling, and the court did suspend part of the original punishment, which gave Apple only 90 days to add a notice that purchasers of the AppleCare plan already have a 2 year warranty on their products. The (rough) Google Translation of the Repubblica.it article on the appeal says that the arguments were two-fold:
First they would not have informed “in an appropriate way consumers on rights of free assistance provided by the biennial consumer code, impairing their exercise and limiting ourselves to recognize the manufacturer’s standard warranty of 1 year “, and secondly, the” information given on the nature, content and duration of support services to additional payment applecare protection plan, coupled with the lack of clarification on the existence of the legal guarantee two years, were such as to induce consumers to sign an additional contract when the ‘cover’ of service Payment overlaps in part to the legal guarantee provided free by the Consumer Code.
Basically, Apple didn’t accurately inform users that they didnt need to buy the AppleCare warranty unless they wanted its additional benefits, above and beyond the already mandatory two years of defect coverage. Apple has also come under fire from 11 EU consumer organizations over misleading AppleCare warranties. The minimum warranty for products sold in the EU is already two years.