APPLE HAS BEEN ORDERED by an Italian court to cough up a fine of €900,000 over the way it sells Applecare warranties.
The case began a year ago after an investigation into Apple's warranty selling practices. The central issue was the way Apple sold its Applecare service cover package. Italian consumer law mandates that goods are automatically covered by manufacturers against defects for two years by default, so it was argued that buying a warranty on a new product was a waste of money.
In fact the minimum warranty for products sold anywhere in the European Union is two years. But Apple argued that its Applecare package offered additional benefits, over and above the cover offered under Italian law. However, the court ruled that the company was not making this point clearly enough and ordered it to change the wording of its Applecare offering to let buyers know what they are getting.
Repubblica.it reports that the court ruled that Apple had not made it sufficiently clear to consumers that they already had a two-year warranty.
"The issue at stake accurately inform users that they didn't need to buy the AppleCare warranty unless they wanted its additional benefits, above and beyond the already mandatory two years of defect coverage," according to The Next Web.
The ruling marks the latest stage in a long legal process. The case is not necessarily dead as the California company still has the option to appeal the court's ruling.
An Apple spokesman said, "We believe our warranty policy in Italy complies with local requirements and respects consumer rights. Apple does not agree with the decision issued by the Italian Competition Authority and has filed an appeal."
The spokesman added that the appeal of the Italian court decision is set to be heard on 9 May. µ