Italy Thinks Apple Is Ripping Off Customers On Their Warranties [AppleCare]

Italy Thinks Apple Is Ripping Off Customers On Their Warranties [AppleCare]

Apple’s one-year standard warranty is a pretty good deal for U.S. consumers, but for their European counterparts the glass is half empty.

The standard warranty in the E.U. for consumer goods is two years and that’s what is getting the Cupertino company into trouble with AppleCare, the paid extended warranty program.

Cult of Mac talked to Carlo Piana, a lawyer who worked on the EU anti-trust case against Microsoft, about why Italian regulators are after Apple now. 

Regulators have already forced European big-box retailers to overhaul their extended warranty services in light of the two-year guarantee.

To wit, the Antitrust Authority announced in the same press release that it was opening the procedure against Apple that it had secured compliance for better consumer information about the standard 24-month guarantee from seven large chains.

Piana, who was directly involved in what he calls the “first wave” of disputes from the Italian Antitrust Authority over paid extended warranties, says they see it as making the consumer pay for something they are already guaranteed by law.

“The Antitrust Authority clearly maintains that any company selling extended warranties during the two-year E.U. guarantee is actually making the consumer pay for something that they are already entitled to. You can challenge the assumptions…but that must apply to everyone, or else it provides some companies with an unfair advantage.”

Piana says his clients, then leaders on the Italian market, were also forced to change the name of the product. He expects that Apple should do the same as well as informing customers that they are paying for something that, in effect, they are already entitled to.

“It can’t be different for Apple. Either it’s the same for everyone, or no one.”

  • B066Y

    I think Apple should just pull out of selling anything in Italy. I’m all for better warranties (and Apple’s is the best in the U.S. in my opinion) but not if it has to be forced by a government. Government has no place in business.

  • miguel

    Well in that case Apple would have to pull our from all of Europe since this is a European regulation and not exclusive to Italy.

  • Jeff

    You get what you pay for.
    If Europeans want to regulate a 2 year warranty, then apple should just add it to the price of the product for the extra year.I think a lot of Europeans would be pissed off paying more than there American counterparts and not being allowed to save money.Conversely, Apple could sell products in Europe for the price of the item marked up for the additional warranty service. If consumers wish, they can decline the additional warranty and save money.Legislating warranty lengths is stupid.

  • Plantar69

    Besides that they are talking about some European Union law, which affects all the countries members of it, Apple knows how does that law affect their products. They should accept the rules or stop selling their products but they just can’t do whatever they want if that is against the law. Remember that Apple is an American Country that sells their products worldwide, and they must abide the laws of every country they operate, even is it is different to the laws in America.

  • Plantar69

    I meant American Company, sorry.

  • Richard Goetz

    erm … yeah … right … every company that has faith in their products should be able to give a two year warranty. it’s funny that i can buy any cheap laptop in europe and get a two year warranty but if i buy a relatively expensive macbook i’ll only get one year. in my eyes that’s just crap customer service from a company that is know to be able to do better.

  • Plantar69

    That’s the way it works in Europe. For me it is stupid not having a National Healthcare System that allows you to undergo surgery without having to pay anything. The laws are different in different countries.Learn them, follow them or get out of that country. I think European Authorities just make sure that customers don’t get abused by Companies. Also, Sony, HP, Dell, Microsoft,etc. all comply with the law and give that 2 year warranty, why should Apple not do it? Isn’t that getting unfair advantage?

  • Plantar69

    Apple should just follow the laws and decide the price of their products accordingly, not the other way around. And FYI Apple products are ALREADY more expensive in Europe than in the US, and it’s not because of warranties issues.
    I doubt Apple would rise the price of their products just to give that additional year… They would be even more high in price than their competitors…

  • hiash123

    How to Choose A Proper Laser Pointer
    http://www.articles9.net/2011/

  • Fin Devious

    If you buy an Apple product from John Lewis in the UK you will get a 2 year guarantee, It’s not an Apple guarantee, but who cares. Oh and by the way, if you take a cruise on the Cunard Line (Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth) you can buy Apple products tax free. I believe thats about 20% off. A cruise and a cheep MacBook, I’m in heaven….

  • Peter

    Haha another brilliant piece of self-parody on these comment sections. Really, you guys are the best. 

    I think if my Mac broke down after the first year, I’d be pretty unhappy. Essentially I’d be renting it rather than owning it. 

    If you knew anything about capitalism you would know a brand is a promise. If it fails to live up to that promise, then the brand is damaged. I think two years is not much to ask for products that cost north of $1000.

  • davidroccato

    There’s a lot of confusion about it but it’s because of the misunderstanding of the law and the warranties. The EU warranty is not the same for the first 12 months and the 2nd 12 months. So the 2 years are NOT the same. The 1st year is a commercial warranty (covered by the producers), the 2nd year is a legal warranty (covered by the resellers) and cover only the conformity of the products. The problem is for the 2nd year, where the Antitrust wrongly thinks that the service AppleCare doesn’t explain enough well the differences, inducing the customers to buy the service without mentioning that they have already a legal warranty included. But AppleCare cover a lot more than the legal european requirements for the 2nd year. So a problem is that customers are confused about the 2 years warranty and the Antitrust is confused about the service AppleCare. Here: http://www.italiamac.it/applei

  • Plantar69

    Problem is Apple does not even acknowledge that second year warranty, and they must. That way consumers will know they are entitled to that second year. They can explain the differences between those periods, as they do with their applecare program. Problem here is that Apple just doesn’t want to cover that second year. Plain and simple.

  • davidroccato

    The 2nd year is a legal responsibility for the reseller, not the manufacturer, and the legal warranty is a minimum conformity requirement. In the case where there is an Apple Store, that Store will cover the products for the 2nd year in the same way that the other small-medium-big electronic stores. And Apple does it. The Antitrust is not talking about Apple not giving the 2nd year but about the fact that is not clear that the service AppleCare gives something “more”. And it’s not for defending Apple, but I’ve read everywhere around the internet site and for me it’s clear that the service add a lot more than the minimum legal european requirements. There are probably 3 problems: 1) The european law is not clear and too opened to interpretations, 2) The Antitrust doesn’t understand enough well the difference between the simple requirements and the AppleCare Protection Plan, 3) People and resellers are left alone to agree or disagree about any problem in the 2nd year of warranty that include a lot of misunderstanding.  

  • CharliK

    Actually the consumer very well might care. If the law says that after the first year the reseller must cover any labor costs but not parts for repairs that they perform on your machine that’s all fine and dandy. But the parts are expensive. If Apple Care is covering the parts and the labor that’s even better. And that is something consumers will care about. 

    I’ve read the various materials on this and I have to agree with David, Apple is not in violation but the various rules of the game are not clear and that could be where things seem like perhaps they are. So at the least this is good because it will likely force Apple into making their language less legalese and easier to understand why you would want both the legal ‘warranty’ and Apple Care (ie what do you get for the money)

  • CharliK

    At lot of that added cost comes from the governments in Europe levying taxes on imported products. Same in Asia. 

    So if you have an issue with the pricing you might want to check that first before you just label it as Apple greed

  • Dave

    Here’s is a thought for the lame. If you don’t like it don’t buy it.

  • Dave

    Maybe Italy should try Dell’s lack of any warranty.

  • poppa1138

    I miss Wang Computers with their “Wang Care”

  • Anonymous

    Apple isn’t the best by a long stretch.  As yet another part of the value of building your own PC (beyond the lower cost), many component manufacturers (hard drives, motherboard, processors, and video cards) have warranties ranging from 2 years to lifetime.  There *are* a few 1-years out there, but they are the absolute lowest you’ll find.  I personally just had my 3 year old video card serviced under a lifetime warranty, and they even upgraded it to a newer version.

    My TV (Samsung) has a 2 yr warranty, Dell monitor has a 3 year standard warranty (not extended), and on and on.  1 year is about the worst you’ll see in the name brand industry outside of some POS off brand WalMart special with a 90-day warranty.

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Nicole MartinelliNicole Martinelli heads up Cult of Mac Magazine, our weekly publication available on iTunes. You can find her on Twitter and Google+. If you're doing something new, cool and Apple-related, email her.

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