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:
- http://finance.yahoo.com/news/apple-says-disagrees-italy-antitrust-155542267.html (Apple response)
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.