Apple under fire over “unfair” warranty sales

Consumer groups across Europe have slammed Apple over what they call “misleading practices” in the way it provides warranties.

The criticism comes ahead of an appeal later this week over a €900,000 fine handed out in December about the way Apple sold its AppleCare Protection Plan.

After a case brought by the Italian consumer body Altroconsumo, the Italian Competition Authority fined Apple €900,000 for breaching EU-based legislation on unfair commercial practices.

The Italian authorities found that Apple advertised its products as coming with a one-year manufacturer warranty, without clearly indicating consumers’ automatic and free entitlement to a minimum two-year guarantee under EU Law.

Consumers should not be misled and confused as to fundamental EU consumer rights because a company wants to sell their commercial warranty services

The tactic meant customers were pushed towards buying additional cover, the ruling found.

As the appeal looms, 11 national consumer groups are backing the original complaint, and calling for Apple to stop its “unfair practices”, said Monique Goyens, director general of the European Consumer Organisation.

“Consumers are entitled to clear and unambiguous information on all product characteristics, including the legal and commercial guarantees,” she said.

“In the EU, consumers are entitled to a minimum two-year legal guarantee,” she said. “Consumers should not be misled and confused as to fundamental EU consumer rights because a company wants to sell their commercial warranty services.”

Apple has yet to respond to a request for comment.

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