Apple faces fine and temporary closure in Italy for not offering free two-year warranty

Apple faces fine and temporary closure in Italy for not offering free two-year warranty

While Apple might be scoring major legal victories against Samsung in the U.S., authorities in Italy are threatening to impose a 300,000 euro fine and temporary closure of local operations if Apple doesn't offer a free two-year warranty on iPads, iPhones, and other products.

The Autorità garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM, or the Guarantor Authority for Competition and Market) enforces the law which requires retailers to offer a free two-year warranty on electronics. Apple has already sucked up 900,000 euros in fines for not telling customers about their right to a free second, and instead try to up-sell them with the extended warranty. Even after that fine months ago, Apple hasn't changed their tune, and now the AGCM is threatening a closure of Apple operations in Italy for up to 30 days. In response, an Apple spokesperson has simply said "We have introduced a number of measures to address the Italian competition authority concerns and we disagree with their latest complaint."

This is vaguely reminiscent of what was going on in Australia and Apple's marketing of the new iPad as 4G (despite it being incompatible with LTE networks). It's a given that Apple will fight government impositions that could limit their profitability, but there comes a point where it's hard to argue with the lawmakers. It's great that Italy's government has consumer interests at the forefront, and that they're willing to protect them even if it's at the cost of Apple's goodwill. It's worth noting that Apple's customer care tends to be above and beyond what you normally get from electronics manufacturers, so I could see how the costs associated with that care might not allow Apple to offer basic warranty beyond the first year.

Any Italian readers in the house? How have you found Apple care? Has the lack of two-year warranty really stung? Those of you elsewhere, wouldn't it be nice if we got a two-year warranty without having to pay more?

Source: Reuters

Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

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Reader comments

Apple faces fine and temporary closure in Italy for not offering free two-year warranty

16 Comments

Sure it would be great if we could have two-years warranty worldwide and without presenting any purchase proof, only our authentic Apple's hardware. You are so great, so just do it Apple!

I've never had to show proof of purchase to get any of my Apple devices fixed/replaced over the years.

Give Italy what it wants and then markup all the accessaries
to make up for the added cost. Government shouldn't mess with
free enterprise, the customer always loses.

On the surface, yes, that makes sense.  *BUT* can you and I say "Let's make our own phones with a built-in two year contract to compete?"  All these patents, and liscensing make the cost of entry too high for a "garage startup", so Apple, Google (Android, as search can get competition), Microsoft, and RIM aren't in the "free market".  So the government would be right in getting in the way here.
 
My 2 cents (shortened since this isn't a political blog).

I'll also add that Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile wouldn't have competition without the government. MetroPCS, Cricket, and so on are only there because the government said "We gave you (the big 4) tax breaks to expand, and you guys padded your wallets, so you have to allow 3rd parties in" or something like that.

Apple does offer the two year warranty. It's the law there. The conflict is over whether Apple tells anyone about it and still advertises apple care as if it's just one year.
I suppose the issue is does paying for applecare offer more than what Italy requires in a basic warranty. I also don't know if this is applecare PLUS which also is a type of insurance.

Similar issue in Australia. They get away with AppleCare because it has phone support, the extended warranty part of it is very line-ball.

It's the consumers responsibility to be informed. If you buy something you don't need because you didn't do your homework that isn't Apples fault, it's yours. Of course I do believe that Apple should be honest about it's intentions and inform the consumer (even though they should already know) that they already have a 2 year warranty!

I don't see in this case why the customer should have to be informed if it's the law that companies are legally required to do this.
It's the law = DO IT.

I am European and the two year warranty is the law in all of the EU. Italy is just enforcing a European directive regarding the two year warranty just like all other European countries do.
Furthermore Italy and most of the EU countries are very focused on consumers and consumer rights, and as an EU citizen this suits me fine. And all it requires it proof of purchase. :)
FYI I own several Apple products and have been lucky enough not to ever need any Apple support over the years.

I am Italian.
The problem is that, according to the EU, the warranty on electronic products IS two years. Everytime you buy an apple product the clerk suggests you to buy the Apple Care services claiming that the warranty only lasts one year. That is false advertising. Moreover if your product is more than one year old (but less than two) at the Apple Stores they try to make you pay for the repairs. Again, you are paying for something that you have already paid for when you bough the product.
That said, Apple customer service is probably the best on the market but that doesn't mean thay can lie to unaware customers (wich are the majority) to break a EU law.

I'm italian, no, here now Apple didn't get you 2 years of warrenty even thought it's compulsory. and Infact Apple products costs 30€ more than in other EU countries.

Italy's warranty programs are among the worst in the world. I know--because my parents always complain about trying to get appliances repaired. Many repair providers either don't have the tools/parts or expertise to repair them. Personally, I purchased a couple of defective shirts from one of their retail stores and couldn't exchange them because the package was already opened--store policy. The Italians are good at making non-Italian companies provide the type of services/warranties that their own will never provide. Besides, it knows Apple is an American company that should be taken advantage of--at all costs. For my Italian friends--ma quanto siete furbi!!