Apple 'extends' European warranties: Complaints already flood in

Apple 'extends' European warranties: Complaints already flood in

Summary: Apple has modified its warranty policy after being fined $1.2 million by Italian authorities for "misleading" customers. But what's changed, and why are many still angry?

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In light of heavy criticism and an Italian lawsuit in which Apple was told it breaches European law over the warranties it services, the maker of shiny rectangles has modified its policies to include warranties for two-years, rather than just one.

Apple silently flipped the switch on a new policy that seemingly throws in an additional year to its standard warranty in line with Europe's two-year warranty law.

Despite EU law, Apple gave customers only one year of warranty. If you wanted another year, you would have to shell out for an AppleCare plan. Italy found that Apple was wrong, and finedthe company €900,000 ($1.2m) for "misleading" customers.

"When you purchase Apple products, European Union consumer law provides statutory warranty rights in addition to the coverage you receive from the Apple One-Year Limited Warranty and the optional AppleCare Protection Plan," Apple says on its European websites.

Even items that are sold but not Apple-branded are eligible for the two-year warranty.

But it doesn't change much. Just because Apple says so means nothing. EU customers already had this statutory right. Apple could, however, refuse to repair or replace a product bought from it if customers did not own a costly AppleCare plan.

But criticism has already fed online forums and news sites over the lack of clarity the policy gives.

While European consumer law says a repair or replacement can be given if "defects present when customer takes delivery", while Apple's limited warranty and AppleCare plan says when "defects present after customer takes delivery".

While it may seem like one word is changing, that one word means the difference between "defects in manufacturing" to "it's the user's fault". You rarely find problems with devices after you open the box. It's a few hours, days or weeks down the line when faults and problems emerge if there ever are any.

This seems contrary to EU case law which assumed defects within the first two-years are as a result of the manufacturing process, rather than it being the customers' fault.

Apple did not respond to questions at the time of writing.

Image source: Apple. Article source: Google+.

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18 comments
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  • Wow I so want to live and work in Europe....

    Holidays a plenty. Better working conditions, HEALTH CARE!! (Big one for we who are born with disease). And now two year warranties where it would see the assumption of failure even after a year or more are assumed to be the manufacturer. I can't loose in Europe!!!

    Pagan jim
    James Quinn
    • Assuming you can get a job.

      Take a look at European unemployment rates.
      baggins_z
      • that's the beaty

        that's the beauty about healthcare. It's there for you, even if you don't have the money (job). And comparing the current overall unemployment rates for Europe with those from the US, I'd say we're doing better than you guys :-) Don't forget, even if a country like Greece is going bankruptcy, there are still 26 other countries in Europe to choose from ;-)
        belli_bettens@...
    • james

      hi
      health care is paid by state and supplemented by folks and their companies, or?
      lots of people in germany buy or want to purchase private extended care.. to move up in queues, etc..
      definitely better than in the USA - but problems on healthcare are universal - no competition that is apparent to the consumer...
      no other business, well - one that isn't a cartel - is run such a way!
      germans want to spend as much as possible/needed to live forever.. don;t we all !!! ;0

      anyhow - you are "loose" in europe - not sure if u need to be captured, but best wishes all the same
      pedrostee
  • Don't speak too soon.

    Universal healthcare is not available free at the point of delivery, everywhere in the EU, but most cases are covered. Unfortunately, here in the UK, the present Conservative government seems intent on dismantling the Health Service to mimic the US insurance lead model. :-(
    Anyways, the Warrenty extension to two years is good news for UK buyers and should now cover my 1st generation iPad whose home button is beginning to show problems after 18 months of almost 24/7 continuous use - sometimes it just doesn't function at all. It would be nice to get an upgrade to the iPad 4g...one can only hope.
    frogspaw
    • Oh yeah..... get a life.

      Healthcare if you pay through the nose privately; or go for the state lottery system... who can wait six months, maybe more, for real problems???? At least the present bastions have some sense about them and are trying to deal with the issues.

      your ipad will be in the bin before you get a scan here! And to be fair, with technology going at the pace it's going its redundant in two years. I read an article last week that reported insurance claims for faulty itoys increased 40% when a new model was released. What does that tell us about users/society?

      Most gadgets are getting to junk status before the warranty is expired now.
      pjmckay
  • Poor Apple

    They thought they could misled and bully Europeans like they are accustomed to do in the U.S. :(
    markbn
    • Hardly "poor" Apple:) Just saying....

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
  • Madness

    This is why people need to get some REAL computer knowledge. Buy a computer and you get a 1 year warranty and cheap components (ie. weak power supplies, cheap cases & keyboards, etc.). This is probably why Microsoft will not support a pre-installed version of Windows as they have no control over the hardware. Build a computer and all of the parts come with, on average, a 2 - 5 year warranty. Warranties and OEMs are a rip off. To date I have never seen an Apple desktop power supply that wasn't 960 watts which means they probably all have the same power supply regardless of what else is inside and, unless you know what you're buying, it's either too big or too small and will not last for more than a few years. My modded systems tend to last for decades as I can always upgrade the parts when neccessary.
    kennyrosenyc
    • 960? That's insane

      I've got a full sized high end gaming desktop that I built myself with a 750W PSU, and even that's way more than I need (didn't realize til after I hooked it up to a meter though). If they've got a 960 on everything, I can see why they might have a reputation for being pricey.
      Aerowind
    • 2 Year warranty as standard - WTF

      Zack, It's not quite as clear cut as you are making out in your article.

      12 months warranty is still fairly commonplace in the UK, and it's a pain in the arse pushing past this.

      http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-1677034/Two-year-warranty-EU-law.html

      Doing all your shopping in the ever excellent John Lewis might just be easier.
      neil.postlethwaite
    • Decades???

      LOL.. go back a decade and we might see a 486 or AMD threat to global warming trudging along. My first PC was a mere two decades ago (and a bit) 50 MHz 486(maybe 386??). 960W... wow what a waste of energy; that's around 20 pounds a week.

      Go treat yourself to a modern system. I'm on a WHS 510 low power, 80w Laptop supply and some of the kids have the Asus Atom 525 micro PCs. My workhorse has more power but given that most of the world can survive on an iPad these days I think we can agree MOST folk can survive on low power, viewer type devices these days. My kids love the PS3, the Wii, their Nintendos but increasingly the Asus Transformer and iPad at home.

      Warranties??? Relatively worthless past a year in my view. Unless it's a system it just isn't worth replacing one bit when you might as well just upgrade the failed piece. Chances are it's a piece of junk after a year, or too cheap to be worth worrying about.
      pjmckay
  • The warranty shell game - is it under 1, 2, or 3?

    The EU stipulates that, as Apple???s warranty states, the two year guarantee is for defects which existed at the time of sale, and that burden of proof shifts to the buyer after 6 mos. However, especially since Apple locks up their boxes so tightly, it becomes easy to argue that most defects that reveal themselves after 6 mos. existed previous to the sale if there is no obvious physical breach or damage. And the fact that existing defects do not always appear immediately and may present themselves at any time during the two year period and still be covered, is altogether lost in translation.

    For example, if the drive in an Imac fails after 18 mos., and the user has not physically accessed the drive, Apple (or the seller) is liable. The wording in Apple???s warranty may lead one to believe otherwise, but when the Imac ceases to work because of the drive failure, the guarantee takes effect: regardless of the fact that the Mac showed no apparent signs of defect up to that 18th month.

    Some devices, such as iphones and Ipods, bristle with tamper proofing, making extremely unlikely any defect arising during the two year period could be anything but an existing defect (again, provided there is no apparent breach or damage.)

    Apple really can???t escape their ultimate liability for the EU ???2 year guarantee??? law; it???s a bit more complicated than Apple lets on. In fact, I believe the language used in Apple???s ???new??? warranty is worded in such a way as to obfuscate EU buyers rights, with the goal of potentially picking up a few more Applecare contracts through fear.

    And don???t even get me started on the UK???s ???Sale of Goods Act??? In many instances it could be argued that Apple products could be expected to last well more than two years. Why else would they push their own 3 year extended warranty for such relatively low cost?

    Ahh, Apple - bite me!
    b.art
  • On the other side of the Pond

    We have better lawyers ... let's get crack'in on an extension of US warranties, too ... except in Texas where courts do not apply.
    SanPasqual
  • Any stats?

    How long do Apple products last?
    trm1945
  • Great news

    b.art is exactly right with all his points. Unlike PC's where fitting in your favourite graphics card on a new motherboard with shaky drivers is 99% the users fault and not microsoft's, it's the same with Apple. Out of the box the kit works as the user cannot manipulate much to make the kit un-usuable.

    He's right about the longevity of their products as well and that's the clincher. Their business model is based on an insurance policy. It's no different from high street stores offering something similar when you buy a PC.

    trm1945 I'd say ten years or more without taking it back once. I've still got a quadra that works. It looks like an Atari 2600 in comparison, but still smaller than the new box PC's.

    Apple, despite all their faults make products that last and their service care is exceptional. I buy both products for my company. Apple I can get hold of in 6 minutes. Microsoft is its antithesis. I can't ask anyone about their products or if I had this product is it better to buy this one, rather than that one. Nothing.

    I've had a few user errors with my iMac like putting in a SD card in the DVD drive {they are an inch apart}. Took it back to the store and the guy shook it out and no charge. Similar problem with a PC and you're looking at 60 euros if you can't do it yourself.

    For me as a Director, I'm supporting people less with Apple than with PC's. This makes my life easier and stress free. So what if people are being dumbed down? What are the benefits? Workers are loose less work and I can set more deadlines, there's less crashes, staff can video conference without having to worry about a camera or microphone driver - excellent as new workers get a Mac and in 25 minutes we can video conference. All workers can multitask without performance issues which hamper PC's. Finally, Mac is a device that encrypts itself from out of the box I'm a happy manager. Now I can feel happier for another year.
    helruna
  • How about Samsung's 12 month warrant?

    1) Zack, you are an idiot and you know that, don't you?

    2) Samsung UK lists 22 types of products which have 12 month warranty in Europe (http://www.samsung.com/uk/support/warranty/warrantyInformation.do). Does it bother you?
    erann
  • Sale of Goods Act 1979,1982

    Hi Zack

    Sale of Goods Act 1979,1982, gives UK consumers protection for up to 6 years. Although proving the goods are faulty seems to be giving purchasers a problem.

    Sale of Goods Act Fact Sheet Subject:

    Sale of Goods Act, Faulty Goods.
    Relevant or Related Legislation:

    Sale of Goods Act 1979. Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994. The Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002.
    Key Facts:

    ??? Wherever goods are bought they must "conform to contract". This means they must be as described, fit for purpose and of satisfactory quality (i.e. not inherently faulty at the time of sale).

    ??? Goods are of satisfactory quality if they reach the standard that a reasonable person would regard as satisfactory, taking into account the price and any description.

    ??? Aspects of quality include fitness for purpose, freedom from minor defects, appearance and finish, durability and safety.

    ??? It is the seller, not the manufacturer, who is responsible if goods do not conform to contract.

    ??? If goods do not conform to contract at the time of sale, purchasers can request their money back "within a reasonable time". (This is not defined and will depend on circumstances)

    ??? For up to six years after purchase (five years from discovery in Scotland) purchasers can demand damages (which a court would equate to the cost of a repair or replacement).

    ??? A purchaser who is a consumer, i.e. is not buying in the course of a business, can alternatively request a repair or replacement.

    ??? If repair and replacement are not possible or too costly, then the consumer can seek a partial refund, if they have had some benefit from the good, or a full refund if the fault/s have meant they have enjoyed no benefit

    ??? In general, the onus is on all purchasers to prove the goods did not conform to contract (e.g. was inherently faulty) and should have reasonably lasted until this point in time (i.e. perishable goods do not last for six years).

    ??? If a consumer chooses to request a repair or replacement, then for the first six months after purchase it will be for the retailer to prove the goods did conform to contract (e.g. were not inherently faulty)

    ??? After six months and until the end of the six years, it is for the consumer to prove the lack of conformity.

    Although proving the goods are faulty seems to be giving consumers a problem.
    concrete lamposts