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Apple Sued By Belgian Consumer Association For Not Applying EU Warranty Laws 290

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the regulation-is-only-ok-if-it-benefits-us dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Following the recent Italian case, Apple is now being sued by the Belgian consumer association 'Test-Achats' (french/dutch website) for not applying the EU consumer protection laws by only giving a one-year warranty on its products. At the same time, Apple is not only refusing to give the mandatory two-year warranty but is also selling the additional year of warranty with its Applecare products. If the consumer association wins its case, Apple could be forced to refund Applecare contracts to its Belgian customers while providing the additional year of warranty for free."
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Apple Sued By Belgian Consumer Association For Not Applying EU Warranty Laws

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  • So wait . . . (Score:5, Insightful)

    by greenreaper (205818) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @12:14AM (#39410285) Homepage Journal
    If they lose, basically all they have to do is do what they should have been doing already? No fine or anything? I'm surprised more people aren't trying to get away with it.
  • Test-Achats (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Avarist (2453728) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @12:16AM (#39410291)
    As a Belgian I've seen Test-Achats do many very good things in the name of the consumers to protect them over time. It's no surprise either that not everything that gets accepted in the US gets through in Europe. My question tho would be if the US has anything similar that actively defends the consumers? Non-governmental that is.
  • Re:Test-Achats (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @12:29AM (#39410351)

    My question tho would be if the US has anything similar that actively defends the consumers? Non-governmental that is.

    Unfurtunately there are too many f*ckwits who believe everything they are told by the 1%-ers ["giving good warranties would be bad for big companies which means it would be bad for Americans"] and only vote on the basis of whether their candidate supports killing live people (AKA "execution") or unborn entities (AKA "abortion") or how the candidate thinks that life was created (or evolved).

  • Re:Too long? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordLucless (582312) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @12:47AM (#39410429)

    Isn't it unreasonable to require a warranty longer than a year for a consumer product? Realistically, if the device you bought is defective you should realize it within a few months.

    That's not the purpose of a warranty - at least, not the sole purpose, and not in my country (Australia). The mandatory warranty period is designed, not only to ensure that the product is fit for use at the time it's sold, but also that it meets a certain minimum level of durability and quality components.

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EdIII (1114411) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @01:02AM (#39410509)

    If there was no regulation on a warranty it would continue the race to the bottom in a short term grab for more cash.

    It's *not* heavy-handed at all. If you can't manufacturer a product to last 3 years, or at least within a certain failure rate, you are cutting corners and fucking the consumer.

    2nd hand sales have always been exempt, and the warranty has always followed the product. In some cases it took me getting to a few supervisors, but I have never failed to get an RMA for a product in warranty without any proof of purchase. The product itself is proof I am covered under the warranty.

    I don't know what consumer products are intended to last less than two years anyways. If you mean some sort of consumable than that is usually exempt from any kind of warranty. In fact, if it is not intended to last for a certain period I believe that is called an expiration date. Products like that clearly do not have a warranty in a classical sense.

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @01:03AM (#39410511)

    What is the justification for this kind of heavy-handedness?

    Consumer protection. Enacted by a government formed by the very citizens the law was enacted to protect. You (most likely) and I (for sure) are from the US; we're not use to government working *for us* though, so I'm not shocked you're unfamiliar with the concept.

  • Re:Too long? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by registrations_suck (1075251) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @01:13AM (#39410543)

    Isn't it unreasonable to require a warranty longer than a year for a consumer product? Realistically, if the device you bought is defective you should realize it within a few months. But certainly a year is long enough to notice a defect and get a replacement/repair.

    I have a Macbook Pro 13". Just outside of the 1-year warranty period, one of the memory slots has mysteriously gone bad and no longer works (yes, it's the slot, not the memory). Also just outside of the 1-year warranty period, the DVD drive died. About the two year mark, the internal hard drive cable (yes, the cable) died. Memory slot? Hard drive cable? That's nothing put poor design or faulty manufacturing. No WAY those are any kind of user abuse issues. The DVD drive at least has some moving parts - not that that is any excuse either. I agree, there are plenty of abusers out there who break their shit and then cry "warranty" - but there are plenty of other legitimate cases too. All of that said, I don't think a government has any business dictating warranty periods - it's something the free market should determine.

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @01:51AM (#39410699) Journal

    Warranty is simple, it is the period of time in which you can REASONABLY expect a product to keep functioning. 2 years isn't even the upper limit, for things that you can expect to function for longer, like a washing machine, a car etc etc, it is far longer. However, after 2 years, the warranty does go down, cosmetic issues are no longer covered but if after two years your washing machine falls apart, it should STILL be repaired for free.

    What the little sheep mosb1000 doesn't get that warranty is NOT about DOA, devices that are broken when you buy them, but about devices that break down to fast. Warranty is repair of any issues in device that occur that are not part of its normal deterioration of its expected lifetime.

    Simply put, if I buy a oLed tablet, the blues going out after a period of time is not covered under warranty since this is to be expected. The paint on my car going off after a decade (if that is still normal) is not covered since that is expected. Rust holes forming after 5 years in a decent car IS covered since this is not to be expected anymore.

    This also allows some devices to fall under 2 years, under 1 year and even shorter. If you buy a led blinker for your bike, coming back in 1 year that the battery is empty isn't covered of course. Complaining that paper decoration runs after only one winter in the rain is likely not to covered either no matter how much you sue.

    But a normal customer should be able to use a device in a good condition under normal use for a reasonable amount of time and if that isn't possible, this should either be reflected in the price, have a very good reason or the producer should repair it.

    Only complete and utter sheep think otherwise.

  • by whoever57 (658626) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @02:12AM (#39410767) Journal

    Longer warrantees directly translate to higher costs

    Only in the short term. Longer warranties translate to products designed to last longer which then have a lower cost of ownership. Of course, if all you care about is getting the latest shiny object from the factories in China, then you probably don't care about the warranty. But, consider that if you plan to sell your device and buy a new one, longer product lives translate to higher resale value.

  • by Patch86 (1465427) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @02:48AM (#39410921)

    The law is supposed to ensure that when you spend £150 on something, it is supposed to work for at least 2 years (excluding anything you do to break it). That is not an unreasonable expectation. Any company that is unable to promise that their high-end electrical products will last for 24 months really don't deserve any sympathy.That is already quite a low expectation of build quality.

    You might have a point if you're talking about throw-away cheap electronics which you don't need to last 2 years; but Apple certainly don't fall into that category.

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cbope (130292) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @03:06AM (#39410965)

    You see, here in the EU we actually have something called consumer rights. Our politicians are not completely owned by corporations as in the US, and corporations cannot screw over the consumer without consequences.

    An electronic device is considered "durable goods", and as such comes with a 2 year warranty in the EU.

    Why do you jump to defend the corporations that are trying to screw you with defective or poorly made merchandise?

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @03:22AM (#39411005)

    These clowns are absolutely unbelievable sometimes. No wonder they get screwed over by companies so badly over there - some of them seem to LIKE it.

  • Re:So wait . . . (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FireFury03 (653718) <slashdot&nexusuk,org> on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @03:42AM (#39411079) Homepage

    Nah. They probably just charge more in the EU to cover the extra year of warranty.

    Doesn't work like that. Products are sold based on what the customers are willing to pay, not based on the underlying cost of the product. So unless the extra year of warranty significantly changes what customers are willing to pay, the prices will stay the same.

  • by headLITE (171240) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @03:43AM (#39411085)

    Was about to post this... the summary gives an entirely wrong idea. All four linked sources have it right, but slashdot being slashdot manages to get it all wrong...

    Note that in some countries this is also a language issue. There is a difference between defects liability (two years in the EU, applies to the business that actually sold you the product, first six months the burden of proof is on the seller) and a warranty (a promise that a business may make as part of a business transaction, such as the one year warranty that Apple provides voluntarily but that is not required at all by EU law). In German these are also clearly distinguished ("Gewährleistung" vs. "Garantie") but in French, for example, as far as I know it's one word for both ("garantie").

    So the problem here is that Apple is being misleading due to a language issue and failing to explain the difference between different types of a "garantie". There isn't really a story in this anyway, anyone who knows how warranties and defects liability work in the EU knows that Apple as a manufacturer can only be offering a voluntary warranty, and that the store where you actually buy the product is subject to defects liability, and it's not Apple's job as a manufacturer to explain that on its web site.

  • Re:So wait . . . (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @04:19AM (#39411229)

    Customers are willing to pay their own kidneys for apple products. Maybe they'll toss in an extra spleen too.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @05:30AM (#39411459) Homepage

    There isn't really a story in this anyway, anyone who knows how warranties and defects liability work in the EU knows that Apple as a manufacturer can only be offering a voluntary warranty, and that the store where you actually buy the product is subject to defects liability, and it's not Apple's job as a manufacturer to explain that on its web site.

    As long as Apple sells directly to customers, that's absolutely their job to explain the difference. Besides even if your rights are guaranteed in law I think all companies have a responsibility to clearly say what rights you have by law, that the warranty is not a replacement for that and what it actually offers that isn't already guaranteed by law.

  • Re:Test-Achats (Score:4, Insightful)

    by snakeplissken (559127) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @11:29AM (#39413801)

    You can't differentiate fetus from new born or infant for any definition of moral agent and therefore person.

    Of course you can differentiate, what you can't do is tell precisely in practice when an embryo crosses that definitional line from blob of cells through fetus into (in your words) moral agent. So I can say that I believe 24 weeks is too late for abortion, and that 4 weeks is definitely okay but inbetween gets tricky depending on your definition of "moral agent". Of course religious folk who believe that "moral agency" begins at conception due to the existence of a a "soul" are begging the question since they assume that moral agency is a property of something that isn't physically detectable in even an adult human. I have great sympathy for those who believe that abortion is murder, it must be awful to believe that. However if it wasn't for religion there could be a useful ongoing debate in society about what constitutes humanness and the obligations that might put on a pregnant woman. There might also be far more done to help women avoid being pregnant in the first place. Imagine a world in which medical science makes it impossible for a woman to be pregnant against her conscious sound informed will. Might not society's expectation of her attitude towards abortion be stricter than I think it should be today? However to move towards such a world requires acknowledging pregnancy avoidance as a legitimate goal of sexually active women and of their right to be sexually active in the first place!
    Also a debate about humanness might also inform the debate about death and what it is to say that "a person is dead", something that is also not universally agreed upon.

    snake

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