There’s a lot U.S. consumers don’t know about Apple’s ways in other countries. From its outsourced manufacture of iPhone, iPad and iPod to its patent warfare, most of these news don’t really meet the U.S. user. Recent headlines talk about Apple getting fined by Italy for misleading warranties.
When such news make the headlines in print and online mass media, there’s an increasing concern whether Apple is pulling out the same trick all over the world, or just outside the United States market. Or perhaps certain countries have a more resilient legislation or attitude towards Steve Jobs’ hi-tech toys.
Whatever the case might be, when it comes to things such as misleading warranties, maybe all Apple users should take a better look at theirs. The Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato decided to fine Apple $1.2 million for not giving consumers enough information regarding its guarantees.
The Authority accused Apple of misleading warranties, after it had received a number of complaints from consumers and organizations. Italian officials said Apple has neglected to adequately inform its customers they were legally guaranteed two years of tech support under EU regulations. Instead, Apple was only hinting about a one year warranty.
The Italian regulators believe Apple has provided “unclear information on payments for additional assistance offered to consumers”, had not “fully implemented the two-year guarantee by the producer” and as a result raised costs for its customers, who had to pay extra for the AppleCare support program.
The $1.2 million penalty translates in 900,000 euro, out of which 400,000 euro for neglecting to mention the length of the EU guarantee and the rest for offering AppleCare simultaneously with the legal warranty.
On top of paying the fine, the Italian regulator asked the company to publish an excerpt of the ruling on its website to inform consumers and to amend AppleCare within 90 days.
Apple’s divisions accountable to pay the fine are three in number: Apple Italia, Apple Sales International and Apple Retail Italia. Apple U.S. has not released any comments yet, but it has 60 days to appeal the Italian regulator’s decision.
At a time when Apple is fighting hard to win the warfare on patents with its competitors, Android’s Google is continuously on the rise and Amazon’s Kindle is set to take its share of the tablet market, this type of news is damaging.