Apple Sued By France Retail Partner For Unfair Practices

Apple Sued By France Retail Partner For Unfair Practices

Apple is being sued by its largest reseller in France. Profit by eBizcuss’s 16 locations dropped 30 percent during the third quarter due to Apple cutting the number of iPad 2s and MacBook Airs shipped, claims CEO Francois Prudent. The tipping point appeared when the tech giant opened its first French retail location in 2009, the lawsuit alleges.

Prudent added his chain of Apple resellers have not been able to get iPhone 4S handsets during the all-important fourth quarter. The lawsuit is just the latest as resellers bristle from Apple’s increasingly aggressive move into retailing and in pursuit of small business.

The lawsuit also claims eBizcuss spent $6.5 million to bring the stores’ point-of-sale systems up to Apple’s snuff. Additionally, Prudent claims the Cupertino, Calif. company is taking small business customers by undercutting his prices. “The proposals submitted to Apple commercial enterprises are lower than the prices at which we buy the equipment,” according to the lawsuit reported by France’s Le Figaro.

In 2009, Apple opened its first retail store in France at the Carousel del Louvre in Paris. The lawsuit charges the company then began favoring its own retail locations over those of resellers. Earlier this week, Apple’s retail operations in Italy came under fire after one government arm fined the company $1.2 million for what was described as “unfair” practices that did not fully explain product warranties.

  • VGISoftware

    This is ridiculous. Apple resellers exist only at the behest of Apple in any event. So what do they expect to gain with a law suit–a slap-on-the-wrist fine? This is just characteristic French angst. Quel dommage! Boo hoo.

    Apple has proven to itself and all that it alone knows how best to sell its own products. Resellers may yet be viable in some niche markets but not many, I’d say.

  • Simon John Othen

    youre a blind american imperialist mate…..why do you have it in for the french……..if you opened a store and your supplier started under cutting you what would you thin to it ?

  • cassandralite

    Considering how murderously (metaphor alert) Apple treated its longtime third-party American retailers when it decided it wanted to sell direct, this is small beans.  Really, it’s hard to think of a more predatory company. 

    Good for Apple for putting itself in a position–with great products and even greater marketing–to do that.  But if this were any other company in any other industry, the same people who adore even the smell of Apple’s farts would be screaming “Unfair!”

  • MacRat

    This happened in the US as well.

    Mac stores with horrible customer service got upset when Apple started opening stores and of course customers started running to the better experience.

    For example, one of these stores in California was like going to a bank. Customers had to sit at a desk and tell the store employee what they wanted to buy and then had to wait while a time consuming invoice was typed up. If you were just coming in to buy a small accessory, the staff was always “too busy” to sell it to you.

    Yes, this store sued Apple also.

  • VGISoftware

    ANY company, whether or not Apple, should have good control over its products from beginning to end (in the hands of consumers and including customer support), which most definitely includes retail/sales. If being “fair” includes coddling third-party resellers to allow them to “do it their way”, then to hell with that–especially when Apple’s own retail system is so much more efficient, effective, and productive.

  • MPD01605

    Carousel *du* Louvre. #corrections

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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