Belgian Judge Almost Blocked Apple’s Website Over Misleading Warranty Options

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An investigative magistrate in Belgium reportedly considered forcing Internet service providers to block Apple’s website, after claims that the company is misleading customers over warranty options.

Apple has been involved with a long-running dispute with the European legal system over its one-year limited warranty, which it offers as standard to consumers around the world — but which is in conflict with European regulations that allows buyers a minimum of two years’ free protection.

Belgian customers have reportedly been encouraged to purchase Apple’s extended AppleCare warranty, and Apple has been accused of purposely withholding legally-mandated consumer rights information in an effort to upsell.

In early 2013, Belgian consumer protection organization Test-Aankoop filed a lawsuit against Apple for not respecting local laws on warranties. Apple has also been repeatedly fined in other European countries for related issues.

While the Belgian judge in question is supposedly no longer considering barring Apple’s website altogether — after realizing the impact this would have on iTunes users and others — less extreme options may still be pursued.

Apple updated its European websites last June to show customers that they were entitled to two-year coverage under EU law. Further action, however, may be required.

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About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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