Italy Slaps Apple With $1.2M Fine Due to ‘Unfair’ Warranties

Italy Slaps Apple With $1.2M Fine Due to ‘Unfair’ Warranties

iPods in Rome (Photo/PitsLamp photography - http://flic.kr/p/EVR7x)

You probably throw most product warranties in the trash without reading them. Not so for an Italian antitrust group, which found Apple retailers’ one-year guarantee lacking and fined the Cupertino, Calif. company 900,000 euros or $1.2 million.

Italy’s Antitrust Authority ruled two Apple retailers failed to provide that country’s consumers with the mandated two-year product warranty, creating “unfair commercial practices.” Apple traditionally provides a one-year warranty on its products, then offers a second year through AppleCare for a price.

The $1.2 million fine was assessed to Apple Sales International, Apple Itali Srl and Apple Retail Italia, according to the Wall Street Journal (requires paid subscription.) The fine was for “not providing clear information to customers on product assistance,” says the report.

Because the Apple units did not tell consumers the warranty was for one year rather than two, Italy fined the tech giant 400,000 euros. Another 500,000 euro penalty was given because Apple did not provide consumers enough information about the AppleCare extension option.

Apple has nine stores in Italy.

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  • Caliborn1

    Typical. Thats why Italy is in such great shape. Or they should be with extortion shake downs like that

  • Jonathan Ober

    Apple will make that money back by raising the prices a little on the products to compensate for this ‘loss’ sucks now for the Italians that didn’t care, didn’t notice or get a new iProduct each year. :)

  • gabrielebarni

    Caliborn1: … Extortion ? this is the European Law, where every tech product should be covered by a minimum two years warranty. Apple is very aware about that and “knowingly” decided to ignore it, in my humble opinion because even if they have to pay a fine it’s still much cheaper than to extend the products warranty for another year. Also in many other european countries courts are discussing this problem that very likely will lead to similar results.

  • MIc

    @twitter-41206885:disqus : Let me extend your post: actually it is the European standard nr. 99/44/CE and it applies on any consumers’ purchasing, from cars to iPods. As the name says, it was published in the 1999 and it is still one of the best law, actually.

  • marcwitteveen

    “Apple will make that money back by raising the prices a little”Apple products in Europe, compared to the ones in the US are already more expensive. E.g. if an iPad would cost 499 usd in the US it would cost 479 euro here, which comes to apr. 625 usd. The question if for what? The total sold numbers in the US and EU are the same, for both EU and US the products come from China. So I can say Apple already compensated for their lawsuits here.

  • Bob Forsberg

    How about we slap Italy with a fine for having a socialist economy that no longer works and begs the world bank & EU to keep them afloat?

  • Mike Rathjen

    There is no such thing as a free lunch.

    Your warranty is twice as long, but you paid more for the product in the first place.

  • Andreas Booher

    What’s the process for products purchased in the US under the limited warranty which are then brought to the EU, into a country that mandates longer warranty periods?  I had a US-purchased original iPad which I brought in to get fixed after more than a year of ownership in Frankfurt, Germany (while I was living there) and it was eventually covered but the Genius was really confused on how to handle it.  Do warranties apply to where the product was bought or where the owner lives?

  • Dwight Moody

    Italy does not care about consumers rights.  This is a “smoke and mirrors” scam to get revenue for their broken economy.  They (the Italian government ) are besides themselves watching this highly successful American company’s continued financial growth within their country and around the globe. The result is this pathetic attempt to help themselves to part of the profits. The Italian government is behaving like organized mafia which is not to far from the republican influence in the US.

  • AndreGSNE

    Even though i love apple products,i love seeing them lose money lol.

  • Sharkaat

    “You probably throw most product warranties in the trash without reading them.”
    No. Having a warranty for any kind of electronic device is a must.

  • Fearless_fred

    You obviously haven’t read any of the other comments. This is an EU wide law, and has been in place for over ten years. It applies equally to the UK, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark (I could go on to list the other 19 countries it applies to, but I won’t waste the space). Your little bout of xenophobia is as ridiculous as it is misplaced.

  • Bob Forsberg

    Eventhough I love people, your biological father should have used a condom.

About the author

Ed SutherlandEd Sutherland is a veteran technology journalist who first heard of Apple when they grew on trees, Yahoo was run out of a Stanford dorm and Google was an unknown upstart. Since then, Sutherland has covered the whole technology landscape, concentrating on tracking the trends and figuring out the finances of large (and small) technology companies.

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