Apple faces website blacklist in 'misleading' warranty claims

Apple faces website blacklist in 'misleading' warranty claims

Summary: The iPad and iPhone maker is facing scrutiny and potential ISP blocks over "misleading" warranties on its products.

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TOPICS: Apple, Apps, iPhone, iPad, Legal
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Credit: Apple

A Brussels investigative magistrate is considering whether to force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block Apple's website in the country due to "misleading" consumer warranty information.

Spotted by Tech.EU, Belgian newspapers are reporting that anger over "misleading" warranty practices and information offered by Apple on the warranty life of its products -- including the popular iPad and iPhone product lines -- may result in the tech giant's website and services entering a block list in Belgium.

One publication, DMorgan, claims that the Federal Public Service (FPS) Economy in Belgium went to the judge to discuss measures that could be taken against the tech giant. The judge in question is considering going as far as asking ISPs operating in Belgium to block the Apple.com website in the interest of "protecting consumers," but no official action has yet been taken.

The complaint, filed a year ago, still has no full-proof solution. Such a block would not only hamper Apple's business in the country, but consumers could potentially find themselves without access to services including iTunes, music purchases, iTunes U and the app store.

If Belgian officials insist on a website block, ISPs including Belgacom, Telenet and Voo would be required to restrict Apple services. The blacklist of blocked websites usually extends only to counterfeit product and torrent search websites -- including Kat.ph, BitSnoop and ExtraTorrent -- as well as proxy websites used to circumvent blocks. 

The core of the problem is that EU law requires a two-year statutory warranty on technology products. Apple, however, only generally offers one year for free. In order to extend warranty on new products beyond a year, customers are encouraged to pay for AppleCare plans.

In the past year, Apple modified its plans to show that EU customers are entitled to two years' warranty protection (.PDF), but Belgian officials are unconvinced this is enough.

This is not the first time Apple has come under fire over its warranty practices in Europe. An investigation by Italian regulators found the company in breach of EU consumer law, and Apple was fined $1.2m as a result. The tech giant appealed and lost.

The European Commission is also scrutinizing in-app purchases offered by companies including Apple and Google. Consumer groups in the U.K., Denmark, Italy and Belgium have raised concerns over the language used by app developers -- "free to download" versus "free to play" -- and believe these language differences may mislead customers in to believing apps do not contain in-app buys.

Topics: Apple, Apps, iPhone, iPad, Legal

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62 comments
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  • Apple is no friend of customers

    This has gone on for a while. Apple has continued to rip off customers on the warranties. Trying to sell them on Apple care when in fact many of these Countries force a mandatory 2 year warranty. Hope Apple get's punished for this. Meanwhile Tim Cook tells investors Apple is not all about profits. Yea, another fantasy pile of BS.
    JohnnyES-25227553276394558534412264934521
    • You know, the great thing

      About a free market is that each individual gets to decide for himself whether or not he has been ripped off. You don't get to decide for him.
      baggins_z
      • In your haste to apologise for apple

        You appear to have missed the point. Apple have been accused of misleading customers. It's a court thing, no apologies need. The clue is in the word "misleading" or were you typing the apology too quick to read the second line in full?
        Little Old Man
        • No, it's just that, unlike you, I don't automatically assume

          a government is telling the truth or that a court is pure, noble, honest and trustworthy. The article states that Apple has the warranty information listed on their site. The government says it isn't bold enough, clear enough or in the customer's face enough. Because this is another assumption governments make: You are too stupid to run your own life.
          baggins_z
          • Yeah right....

            Deaf, blind, mute.
            Koymik
          • Too stupid...

            Someone got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.
            Maha888
          • Apple.

            Baggins you need to read fine print. European law states "a 2 year statutory warranty on technology products".
            Apple only offer 1 year and force you to buy an apple care which is a rip off.
            Here in Australia we also have a "implied warranty" which means a product should work for more than 12 months. So if a product is faulty 14 months after purchase the manufacturer has to fix it. Go see the ACCC website.
            Mudrat70
          • Wrong. In the EU, Apple offer the standard 2 year warranty

            You're just plain wrong.
            .DeusExMachina.
        • In your haste to bash Apple, you didn't even bother to read their warranty

          .DeusExMachina.
    • Ridiculous...

      Your'e not happy with a one year warranty, don't buy it!! Everyone on the planet seems to have a ridiculous sense of entitlement. The solution is very east... for governments and people of Belgium, Italy, Denmark etc that force Apple to offer a two year warranty Apple should mark up the price of the products to include Apple Care and give them a three year warranty. Then when people complain about the higher prices you can thank your government.
      Masari.Jones
      • Wrong Masari

        See the trouble is Telco's make you sign a 2 year contract plan. So as your expected to pay for this over 24 months the warranty should cover the item for 24 months. Some Telco's have deals with some phone makers to cover the 2nd 12 months as long as your still under contract.
        Maybe he should buy a new car and only have warranty till its driven on road then tuff luck.
        Mudrat70
    • Being that AppleCare is three years, what, exactly is your point?

      .DeusExMachina.
    • True and false

      Apple doesn't seem to care about warranties and the like [mostly since Tim cook has been in charge] but the Apple fanbois and fangurls still love their products.
      Gisabun
  • Belgium is

    Falling apart, Apple can wait them out.
    Tony Burzio
    • Well then, maybe the question to be asked should be

      If Apple's products are of superior quality, components, and build as many here proclaim, (when price is questioned) which is why their products last far longer and problem free then their competitor's products, what's the problem with Apple offering a two year warranty as required by the EU?

      If it makes it past the 1 year point, all the odds are in Apple's favor that it will go past the 2 year mark just as easily, so Apple's really not losing anything in terms of warranty repair, considering the superior quality items and what not Apple makes.
      William.Farrel
      • Its True That Apple Products Have Superior Build Quality . . .

        . . . I think they're more concerned with the shoddy Samsung supplied components than anything else.
        Gr8Music
        • Wow, best comment ever

          Their phones are great, it's the stuff inside them that isn't.

          WTF? Seriously, you typed that and still pressed submit? Really? Ever considered going into marketing? I know a fruity brand that really use your skills.
          Little Old Man
          • Congrats Old Man!

            You managed to "zero" right in on that one!

            Yes. Seriously. Yes. Really. Perhaps you don't understand "build quality." Hint: It's not what Samsung makes - it's what Nokia used to be in the before time.
            Gr8Music
          • I see

            your comments are not improving.

            Keep practicing.
            Little Old Man
          • Gr8music

            Guess you failed English at school. It is Great Music not Gr8music. Guess your iPhone keybord can not spell it or is it Siri.

            Are yo uaware that Samsung only supply processors, ram to Apple. The case, glass and other components are supplied by different companies. If Apple was such a great builder of consumer goods, they would have their own manufacture & production lines. Hence they use sub contractor to build their toys.
            Mudrat70