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July 5, 2012

Apple 1 Year Warranty and European Laws And a Mail I Got

Italian regulation authorities are in a direct fight with Apple over the terms its hardware warranty, which has to be 2 years according to European regulations. Apple just emailed me my 1 year warranty is now gone...

Italian regulation authorities are in a direct fight with Apple over the terms its hardware warranty, which has to be 2 years according to European regulations. While all other hardware manufacturers have embraced European mandatory 2 years warranty on production defects, Apple has a different view. They claim that a construction defect should show up within 6 months. Otherwise it wasn't a construction defect, but something that happened later on.

I'm not a layer, but in my view if a hard driver or another component needs to be built to last two years, if it brakes before that terms it was either mismanaged (like if you hammer on the PC or throw it in water) or it was defective. In any case, last year Apple was fined 900.000 Euros (yes, well over a million dollars) and asked to change this business practice and inform its customers. Given it hasn't apparently done so, they are facing not only a new fine, but a stop of all sales nation-wide for a month, a fine that was never sanctioned in the past. You can find references here:

Why am I blogging about this? On one side, because this is happening in Italy but regulators from many other European countries are evaluating similar actions, given that this is a European law. Second, because last week I received a nice letter from Apple, with this tone:

"The one year limited warranty included with your Mac is about to expire. This is your last chance to buy the AppleCare Protection Plan, which provides..."

The email goes on explaining the advantages of the paid-by protection plan, with text that is likely the same all over the world. At the end of the email, however, there is a rather prominent notice in small print, stating that:

"The advantages of the 1 Year Limited Warranty and of the AppleCare Protection Plan are in addition to the consumer rights of your country. According to the law [date, number, section] consumers have up to 26 months to to notify the vendor of defects that were in the product when it shipped. It's expected that defects in shipping products will show up during the first 6 months. A user who wants to take advantage of the legal warranty against Apple should refer to one of the Apple Authorized Repair Centers to make sure the defect already existed in the shipping product."

I really think this is ridiculous. Suppose my Mac hard disk breaks or the my Mac CPU overheats. I should go to a repair center, they'll say it is my fault... and so how do I prove it is due to a defect of the shipping product? To me this is clearly in violation of the spirit of the consumer protection law. Also, they claim my product should be fixed by the vendor, not the producer. Given that large chains have good deals with Apple, it is probably easier for them to pay (or let the user loose his battle) than to try to fight for a consumer right.

When super rich people or companies behave with so much arrogance, I don't find them defensible.





 

12 Comments

Apple 1 Year Warranty and European Laws And a Mail I Got 

Interestingly.

I bought a Dell Alienware expensive laptop.. it too only 
came with a 1 year warranty, pay up a LOT of money to 
continue support - so Apple arent alone.. Wonder why 
Dell get away with it then? 
Comment by Liz on July 5, 21:46

Apple 1 Year Warranty and European Laws And a Mail I Got 

maybe a link to the applicable directive:
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?
uri=CELEX:31999L0044:en:HTML

please note it is applicable to consumers....are you sure apple considers 
you a consumer....or a professional.... Professionals are less protected 
by the law, as the legislator assumers professionals are able and are 
knowledgeable to negotiate their contracts. No particular experience 
with Italy, but in some continental countries the directive would not 
apply to you, as the courts will  consider you a Professional beyond any 
doubt...using the equipment concerned to give world-wide state of the 
art presentations etc... 

Your wife could buy .... but ...without any VAT reclaim and/or fiscal 
deduction .....

Your wife could buy....and subsequently sell to you.....unfortunately 
many countries do not allow such "sales" between married people....

Your girlfriend could buy....and subsequently sell to you...yes...this 
should give 2 y warranty and should give VAT reclaim and deductibility 
....make sure you have a good contract with the girlfriend....
You probably cannot repeat this type of construction....as a repetitive 
sale would make your girlfriend ....a professional ;-) ;-)

Don't say law studies ain't fun...................................

  

Comment by Helper [] on July 5, 22:56

Apple 1 Year Warranty and European Laws And a Mail I Got 

I'm 100% with you! I'm running a 2nd company here in
Germany that sells mobile phone contracts. We have a
couple of cases where the iphone died electrically
after 12 to 14 months and where Apple refused to take
over warranty in compliance with german law. The
consumer is not an expert and has no chance to prove
that the defect existed at the time of purchase. End
of story: we had the iphones repaired at our expenses
by an independent phone repair shop (they did a good
job, btw). The problem is created by a law that was
meant to protect the consumer but then turned into the
opposite by forcing the consumer to prove something
that he is never able to prove. Apple just takes
advantage of this ridiculous law
Comment by Joe Meyer [] on July 6, 06:04

Apple 1 Year Warranty and European Laws And a Mail I Got 

I apologize *before* asking you a simple question: why 
do you buy Apple things?
Comment by fabio vitale on July 6, 06:20

Apple 1 Year Warranty and European Laws And a Mail I Got 

 I find Apple a terrible company. They want to control 
every aspect of the software and hardware and that is 
always a bad sign. As I needed to develop something 
for IPhone I had to sign for their developer account. 
All I can say is that that was the worst developer 
experience of my life. So many chores and so many 
bureaucracy. 

If you are a company you need to send them translated 
documentation about your company in order to get the 
account!! If you live in Slovenia like me you have to 
scan and fax them the application!! In 2012 you have 
to fax the application with your credit number on to 
the biggest application company in the world. 
Ridiculous.

Oh and don't get me started on how painfull it is to 
finally make a damn build for the IPhone. Just a 
testing build that is. I for sure won't ever buy an 
IPhone or a Mac. Honeslty I just don't get all those 
Apple fans. Thank you, but I will stay with Android 
and Linux (and Windows). Compared to Apple, Microsoft 
seems like a lamb.
Comment by Iztok Kacin [http://www.cromis.net] on July 6, 06:22

It's a US attitude, not just an Apple one 

I experienced the same behaviour from HP. They were 
going to refuse to fix a printer within the two-year 
period (it turned out a reset from the hidden 
maintenance menu fixed the problem, thereby I didn't 
need to "fight"). While Japanese companies (i.e. 
Canon, Citizen) gives you a warranty with the a 
clear "2 year European warranty". Probably they build 
better products and don't need to deceive you. US 
still didn't learn.

Anyway, it is true that the "Codice del Consumo" 
says "vendor", not "manifacturer" (see "art. 132"). 
But for products bought from an Apple store or 
website, Apple *is* the vendor also.

The small printing in the Applecare mail could hit 
the "deceiving commercial practices" rules (see "art 
21")
Comment by Luigi D. Sandon on July 6, 08:30

Apple 1 Year Warranty and European Laws And a Mail I Got 

 How do you feel being a layer? :-)
Comment by Leffy on July 6, 09:18

Apple 1 Year Warranty and European Laws And a Mail I Got 

I think a stop of all sales for a month would be a
great thing. The million they have to pay are just ...
peanuts for them I think.
Immagine a european company would violate an american
law beeing present in the states. I don't think,
america would be very "kindly" ...
JM2C
Comment by Fritz Franz on July 6, 09:54

You should speak with your wallet! 

 I really don't know why people buy Apple products. Is 
it the best phone or tablet out there? Ok, fine by me. 
But the fact that Apple has draconian commercial 
practices is undeniable. I'm sure you can replace your 
iPhone for another device from a vendor that has more 
respect for customers and laws.
Comment by Alexandre Machado on July 6, 11:12

Unacceptable 

My primary reason for not supporting apple is their
ethics. This is another example. Regardless, they're
being revered by what can technically be defined as
slaves!
Comment by Hein du Plessis [http://cde.co.za] on July 6, 11:44

Apple 1 Year Warranty and European Laws And a Mail I Got 

That's one of many reasons I will never buy any Apple
stuff... They are so arrogant...
Comment by Stéphane WIERZBICKI on July 6, 11:51

Apple 1 Year Warranty and European Laws And a Mail I Got 

'Warranty' in fashion of - the customer does not have
to prove anything*) is still 6 months. What has
changed is, if the customer can prove that it's
Apple's fault the warranty is applicable for 2 years.

*) This is the improvement. The fact that over a
period of 6 months the initial assumption is - the
shortcoming existed on handing over the goods. In the
past the customer always had to prove. In practice the
situation has not been handled a different way ...
within the first months no one asked. Proven practice
is law today.

Consumer protection is another story.

What has changed too - you have to check the device
within 60 days and not 8.

This is applicable for Software too... this is why you
should have a statement in the contract. The customer
accepts ... if a test ... within a certain period ...
otherwise it's accepted as working ...
Comment by Michael Thuma on July 8, 16:42


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