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Apple Facing Potential Suspension of Italian Sales Amid Warranty Concerns

Late last year, Apple was fined $1.2 million by Italian regulators over warranty-related issues, with Apple being cited for not adequately disclosing standard two-year warranties required to be offered with new products sold in the country.

Following the ruling, Apple temporarily added disclosures to its Italian online store even as it was appealing the decision. Apple officially lost its appeal earlier this year, with the company being required to pay the previously-assessed fine.

Reuters now reports that Italian regulators remain concerned about Apple's sales and marketing tactics and are considering additional fines and an eventual temporary ban on Apple's ability to sell products in the country as further sanctions.
The AGCM said in its monthly bulletin that Apple was continuing to adopt unfair commercial practices in Italy and noted this could eventually lead to the closure of its Italian operations for up to 30 days.

The U.S. group has 30 days to respond.

The AGCM alleges that information provided by Apple about an extra guarantee scheme encourages customers to buy the service without clearly explaining that the company is obliged to offer a two-year free warranty, the source said.
Italy is not the only country where Apple is facing criticism over its warranty policies. Earlier this year, consumer groups in eleven European Union countries filed letters of complaint with their respective regulatory agencies asking them to take action against Apple's misleading warranty sales tactics in light of the EU's requirement for a standard two-year warranty. The company clarified the differences between EU protection and Apple's warranty policies, but concerns about its disclosures apparently still remain.

Update: Apple takes issue with the Italian antitrust authority, saying in a statement:
We have introduced a number of measures to address the Italian competition authority concerns and we disagree with their latest complaint.

Top Rated Comments

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29 months ago

NONSENSE. It's not APPLE'S job to inform the Italian public about standard Italian law. It's their government's job. What are they doing, aside from the whole underage scandal thing?


It's Apple (and whatever other company) job to inform in a right way and not to try to obscure the law term to sell extended guarantees.
Rating: 34 Votes
29 months ago

Exactly. I'm a proud Italian-American. I love Italy and it's culture and people. But their government and economic policies are so backwards.


It is an EU directive, not an Italian law, try again
Rating: 34 Votes
29 months ago
I can't believe what I'm reading here...

First: This is European law NOT Italian.

Second: If you Americans are willing to pay so much money for gadgets that are only garrantied to run for...what?...90 days...go ahead...no wonder NOBODY except Americans purchase ****** American cars...

Third: The law actually states that in the first year of warranty the producer has to prove the user was handling it wrong, whilst the second year the user has to prove there was a material problem.

Fourth: I just purchased a new MacBook Air and decides against paying over 200€ for one additional year of warranty. What's the chance of a part failing in three year when it hasn't in the two years before? It's more like you have accidental damage or it get's stolen. I rather use the money to buy an insurance in that case.

Fifth: We have a lot of gadget that last decades...think Miele Washmachines...I actually expect them to hold out that long and Miele actually does give you their own 5 year warranty on it as many other manufactures do...Apple is cheeping out on everything to keep their high profit margin. They could easily give you a 5 year warranty as well, but why bother if you have sheeps like you fools you actually think THIS is the reason why Italian economy is bad.

Sixth: On that matter. It is actually a crisis of mostly banks here in Europe...and guess where it started: America...Sublime credits anyone? Just so that you guys can buy crappy houses and ****** car's that you really couldn't afford (including Apple products) the entire world economy has been screwed...So do us the favor and think before giving smart answers...

Seventh: Oh and Apple product are more expensive because of our VAT...we have 19% here in Germany...US has what?...0-10%?
Rating: 32 Votes
29 months ago

Requiring 2 year warranties is stupid. It just raises prices for everyone. Let people choose if they want to pay for that extra 2 years of warranty instead of forcing them.


A 2 year warranty also helps weed out the planned obsolescence of some products.
Rating: 29 Votes
29 months ago

Apple is getting in trouble because customers can't read?


Apple is getting in trouble because its executives can't read. The law.

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I think Apple should call their bluff and just pull out of Italy, including closing all of the iTunes, app and book stores.

I rather suspect it wouldn't be long before there was a new set of regulators overseeing that section of the Italian government.


How is that better than following the law like any other company and actually making a benefit to the consumer?
Rating: 27 Votes
29 months ago

Apple is getting in trouble because customers can't read?


No, they're in trouble because they were still pushing customers toward AppleCare when it was largely worthless.
Rating: 23 Votes
29 months ago
Apple, you need to follow the laws of the country you are trading in. If you can't, then stop trading in that location.

Consumer Laws are great, BTW. The u.s consumer laws are lacking.
Rating: 22 Votes
29 months ago

Apple is getting in trouble because customers can't read?


No, because they're trying to make you believe that you only have a one year warranty.

NONSENSE. It's not APPLE'S job to inform the Italian public about standard Italian law. It's their government's job. What are they doing, aside from the whole underage scandal thing?


True. But the point is that Apple is lying about the warranty laws in EU.
Rating: 20 Votes
29 months ago
Oh my! Some people here have absolutely no idea what they are writing about...

2 year "warranty" is not a warranty per se. The European Union mandates that every new product (with some obvious exclusions such as food) has to be able to work for 2 years on normal wear and tear. New cars 3 years, used cars 6 months, to name the major exceptions. Also, the first half a year, the seller has to show that the buyer was at fault in case he wants to deny an exchange, after that, within limitations, the consumer has to argue that the product was at fault and caused the malfunction. Most of the times, this makes no difference. Almost all retailers will just replace within the first 2 years. This is national law in basically all European Union countries even though it is in the National Laws. It follows the EU guideline. BTW: This does not apply to commercial customers: a company buying phones is not protected the same way - they always have to show they were not at fault and can actually waiver the standard warranty in favor of better prices.

The higher prices people mention have nothing to do with that. VAT in the United States is about 0-10% (if you include local VAT), in the European Union 17-25%, roughly speaking. This accounts for the price difference. Also: In Europe, prices shown include VAT, in the USA usually not.

Now, about what Apple is at fault off according to the ruling:

By law, the company issuing a "extended warranty" including e.g. replacement if customer was at fault, switch outs instead of send-in repair etc. - has to inform the customer about the differences between what the company is required to do by law and what the benefit of the extension is. This did and does not happen in a majority of the cases and this is a violation of the law. Simple as that.

And then the ones talking down the Italian economy: The per capita debt is way below the US debt. ($36,841 ITA vs. $50,266 USA) and the % of GDP is about the same (108 ITA vs 103 USA). Please, don't start to argue about the latter; Germany has 142% and pays 0% intrest on new debt... there are simply other factors as well - and the Italian economy is not that bad. They just have different problems than the USA, but unless you are a macroeconomist and really have extended knowledge about that, don't just bash Italy. Don't forget: The last recession was caused by the American Real Estate crisis - not by Greece, Iceland, or Ireland...
Rating: 20 Votes
29 months ago

your cars and washing machines, and we'll keep our computers. How's that?

Apple computers are made in the US now? When did that happen? :p
Rating: 19 Votes

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