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.

  • S J

    They have been fined in Italy for this, twice, but because the fines were just $1.2 million, it had no impact on them and they are still evidently playing the same game, so if you want to make Apple sit up and listen, make the fine around $10 billion. With this corps arrogance, only severe penalties will work and they need knocking down a peg or two with the way they treat the legal system.

  • Whocares

    Entire Belgium sale is less than the state of CA. Just pull out of that country and let them use Samsung’s

  • lucascott

    This judge is like so many others. He doesn’t actually know what the laws in question state and how they are NOT what Apple’s warranty or Apple Care are.

    The laws folks are talking about are consumer protection laws. They go against the seller, which often isn’t Apple but the carrier etc. They are over issues present at the time of sale and in almost every country in the EU after six months the customer is required to prove that the issue was there when they bought it.

    The warranty and Apple Care are against Apple and independent of when the issue happened. You can walk in and say that your speaker stopped working. It was fine for 363 days but now it doesn’t work and Apple will replace the speaker without issue no matter where you bought it and so long as you didn’t drop the phone or it is dripping water there is no cost

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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