Apple’s AppleCare Protection Plan has come under fire once again in Europe after Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats, a Belgian consumer watchdog, filed a complaint against the way in which the Cupertino company markets the product in Europe.
Customers within the European Union are entitled to a free two-year warranty with any consumer electronics purchase, but Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats claims that Apple’s warranty marketing doesn’t properly explain these rights to Belgian shoppers.
TechCrunch reports that Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats teamed up with ten other entities in Europe to file complaints about the way in which Apple operates its AppleCare warranty plan, and after receiving little cooperation from Apple, the group has decided it is time to take its complaint to court.
The Belgian watchdog cites a similar lawsuit in Italy — regarding exactly the same issue — as a precedent. In that case, Apple was forced to pay a €900,000 (approx. $1.2 million) penalty and modify its practices for the Italian market. So why are the company’s AppleCare plans such a problem in Europe.
Well, extended warranties are a great way for companies to make a quick buck. While they give customers peace of mind and ensure that their gadgets are repaired or replaced for free outside of their standard one-year warranty, many customers never need to take advantage of them, and so they end up losing the money they paid for them.
In the European Union, customers get a free two-year warranty for every consumer electronics device they purchase. However, not everyone is aware of this, and they purchase extended warranties under the assumption they have just one year of cover.
Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats is the second European watchdog to claim Apple keeps quiet about the two-year warranty in an effort to sell AppleCare protection — which only offers an additional 12 months of cover for customers in the EU (because they have the first two years as standard).