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 PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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 News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?