Italy goes after Apple over warranty issue

Apple is disregarding Italian consumer law, the competition and markets authority says

In a case that could have implications for Apple's business across the European Union, Italy's competition and markets authority has opened new proceedings against Apple for failing to respect the country's consumer law that gives a free two-year warranty for electronic products, a spokeswoman for the Antitrust Authority confirmed Tuesday.

"Apple has 30 days to present its counter-arguments and it could face a fine of up to €150,000 (US $189,000) for each of the two practices under examination," antitrust spokeswoman Emanuela Goggiomani said. "If the company continues to breach the Antitrust Authority's order, further proceedings could lead to a 30-day suspension of trading in Italy," the spokeswoman said.

Goggiomani said the Authority had waited to see whether the Regional Administrative Tribunal (TAR) of Lazio upheld a $1.2 million fine it imposed on Apple last December for breaches of Italian consumer law and whether the company modified its behavior following confirmation by the court in May.

"We checked what Apple was doing and found that it was completely inadequate. The two-year warranty is the implementation of a European Union directive, so the case is being closely watched by Antitrust Authorities in other European countries," Goggiomani said.

In a statement published on its website, the Italian Antitrust Authority said information provided by Apple Sales International, Apple Italia and Apple Retail Italia amounted to unfair commercial practice and was likely to mislead consumers in relation to their statutory rights. The companies were imposing "non-contractual, onerous and disproportionate obstacles that hinder the exercise of consumer entitlements," the statement said.

Apple has been criticized for requiring customers seeking assistance under the free national warranty to provide proof, for example through the report of an independent expert, of the existence of a defect. The Antitrust Authority has recognized that Apple has improved its communication in relation to consumer rights but considers that the improvement does not yet go far enough.

"Everything leads us to believe that if Apple doesn't get its act together quickly it risks damaging the extraordinary reputation it has won for itself in the eyes of its customers and, above all, being subjected to special vigilance by our Antitrust Authority," Internet law expert Guido Scorza said in an article for the online Italian edition of Wired magazine.

Apple denies that it is at fault. "We've appealed the recent decision of the court as it was, in our view, based upon an incorrect interpretation of the law. We've introduced a number of measures to address the [Authority's] concerns and we disagree with their latest complaint," the company said in a statement.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Philip Willan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?