updated 11:38 am EDT, Tue March 19, 2013
Says Apple breaking law in 21 European countries
Apple is still failing to tell consumers about their warranty rights in many European Union countries, says EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding. Last September Reding sent a letter to various governments encouraging them to take action against Apple to make sure it obeyed EU warranty laws. But the case and the responses to her letter "have highlighted rather clearly just why the Commission cannot sit on the side-lines on enforcement issues," Reding said in a speech today, as reported by Dow Jones. "The approaches to enforcement in these types of cases turn out to be very diversified and inconsistent at a national level. In at least 21 EU Member States Apple is not informing consumers correctly about the legal warranty rights they have. This is simply not good enough."
European law mandates that companies must provide two-year warranties for goods like electronics. Apple, though, has been accused of misleading customers into thinking they have to buy AppleCare to get two years of coverage, as in the US. The company has been fined repeatedly in Italy, and Reding notes that consumer associations in Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, and Portugal are pursuing lawsuits.
In Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald has accused Apple of asking retail workers not to tell customers about similar warranty protections. The paper adds that people familiar with their rights have often tried and failed to get free warranty service from Apple or third-party vendors after the year of coverage Apple officially provides.