In case you hadn’t heard, Apple was previously hit with a $1.2 million fine from Italian regulators for failing to inform consumers of a two-year guarantee mandatory by EU law. Okay everyone makes mistakes and Apple is an American company that could be given the benefit of the doubt in this case, right? Well Bloomberg is reporting that EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding is calling for an investigation by all 27 EU states:
“Apple prominently advertised that its products come with a one-year manufacturer warranty but failed to clearly indicate the consumers’ automatic and free-of-cost entitlement to a minimum two-year guarantee under EU law,” Reding said to ministers in the letter, which was obtained by Bloomberg News. “These are unacceptable marketing practices.”
Its important to note that Apple does offer one year manufacturer warranty so its not like they leave their customers hanging out to dry. The EU has a higher standard and focuses on consumer interest far more than the U.S. does. This is another example of the EU making sure companies work not just in their own interests but the consumers. We’ve seen the EU step up in the case of Google and certain anti-competitive behavior, Microsoft is no stranger to getting bitten by the EU’s watchdogs.
Apple Care is a source of great pride for many Apple users and it very well can be deceiving to the consumer to think that they only get one year instead of the mandatory two. What makes the situation dicey for Apple is that they prominently promote the one year of Apple care. Had this just been a situation of fine print they could have feigned ignorance but by repeatedly and prominently promoting the shorter term of Apple Care they instead appear to be quite bold in their deception.
So will we see another apologetic letter from Cook? Time will tell.