Already under scrutiny in Italy and a number of other European countries, Apple may soon face investigation by all 27 of the European Union’s member states after EU Justice Minister Viviane Reding called for local authorities to determine whether the company failed to advertise its pro-consumer warranty policies on the continent.
Bloomberg reports that the commissioner wrote to ministers in the EU member countries to investigate whether Apple (and its retail partners) failed to advertise that customers would be entitled to a free two-year warranty for products purchased in Europe, which is required by EU law.
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While Apple does provide a “Summary of EU Statutory Warranty, the Apple One-Year Limited Warranty and the AppleCare Protection Plan” on its website, it had traditionally offered a free one-year warranty to European customers, before it was fined in Italy and asked to put notices on packaging.
Reding believes that because Apple “prominently advertised” its free one-year warranty but didn’t “indicate the consumers’ automatic and free-of-cost entitlement to a minimum two-year guarantee under EU law,” the company is engaging in “unacceptable marketing practices,” she wrote in the letter.
In July, Apple’s reluctance to adapt its warranties looked likely to result in another fine from Italy’s antitrust authority, adding to a $1.2 million penalty it received over “misleading” assistance services and warranties in December 2011.
Bloomberg clarifies that while the European Commission isn’t able to take action against Apple over its advertising, it is able to pressure ministers and take legal action against countries that don’t enforce its rules.
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