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Apple Is Forced By EU To Give 2 Years Warranty On All Its Products 270

Posted by samzenpus
from the genius-bar-working-twice-as-hard dept.
dsmalle writes "Apple has adapted its warranty to cover 2 years, under pressure of the European Union and after European consumer organizations sued Apple. From the article: 'The warranty conditions have been changed and these changes can be found on the website of Apple. Products that are purchased on the website of the manufacturer or in stores are now under warranty for two years, as it is required by the EU warranty guidelines. However, the warranty for Apple products that have been purchased elsewhere will not change and they will only be given a limited one-year warranty.'"
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Apple Is Forced By EU To Give 2 Years Warranty On All Its Products

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  • As An American... (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheNinjaroach (878876) on Monday April 02, 2012 @07:58AM (#39547741)
    This is really amusing to me, that the EU has laws that mandate minimum warranty policies for devices sold.

    Some of the only comparable laws I can think of in the US have to do with automobile emissions systems. If your car starts spewing too much pollution before 90,000 miles, the manufacturer is on the hook regardless of what warranty they sold with the car.
    • Re:As An American... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 02, 2012 @08:01AM (#39547769)

      This is really amusing to me, that the EU has laws that mandate minimum warranty policies for devices sold.

      Actually, it's much more than that.

      Not only was Apple not selling devices with the warranty required by law, but Apple was trying to upsell additional Applecare warranty to cover the mandatory warranty time period.

      Of course, if it's out of warranty, you're probably SOL since Apple designs most of its products to be non-repairable.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by EzInKy (115248)

        So I guess this raises the question of why Europeans bought Apple products despite those products breaking the law? Did they have faith in that their government would enforce the law, or did they simply not care that the law was being broken?

        • Re:As An American... (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 02, 2012 @08:25AM (#39547987)
          Well clearly they just didn't know. Since all the electronics they buy have 2 years warranty (by law) it isn't like they are going to go check that. They wouldn't find out until the thing broke and they needed warranty service. The fact that this even became a big enough deal to make it to the EU legal system means that many Apple products DID fail in less than 2 years (whether it was just battery not holding a charge or something worse) and enough people complained to bring it to the EUs attention.
        • Re:As An American... (Score:5, Informative)

          by UnknowingFool (672806) on Monday April 02, 2012 @08:30AM (#39548021)

          The summary and story is somewhat misleading. Under EU law, Apple has supported 2 years but it wasn't clear to a consumer in the EU. The warranty policy on Apple website listed 1 year.**
          **Local warranty laws apply. Your country may support a longer warranty.

          Worse yet, they were selling extended warranties which adds more years but not clearly stating that consumers already got 2 years. There wasn't consensus about the length from some anecdotal testimony so Apple may have to review this with all of their employees. This stems from the earlier Italian ruling. Italy did not rule that Apple was breaking laws by not offering a 2yr warranty but rather it was somewhat confusing to the customer and that an asterisk on the warranty agreement wasn't good enough. Needlessly upselling also was noted.

        • Re:As An American... (Score:5, Informative)

          by skovnymfe (1671822) on Monday April 02, 2012 @08:31AM (#39548041)

          In the EU, you can't change the laws by writing terms on your website, or providing some arbitrary "agreement" with the product. All it takes is for someone to challenge it, and Apple will get a slap on the wrist and get told that the law applies.

          And now that someone did challenge this 1 year warranty "agreement", Apple has got their slap on the wrist and changed their heinous ways.

          That's all there is to it really...

        • Most people don't think about warranties unless and until the product stops working. At that point they'll dig out the paperwork and see if they're covered.

          They probably don't know that 2 years is a mandatory warranty period. And wouldn't think about the warranty period at time of purchase unless the retailer brings the topic up.

          The EU law is there to ensure that product vendors don't take advantage of this lack of foresight by consumers. And because it's a common market to ensure some consistency of treatm

        • IF Apple had REALLY refused to honor the 2 year minimum warranty (devices are supposed to work for their expected life) then IF the customer knew his rights, he would simply have demanded his rights and Apple would have lost the case on every level.

          The PSP had a very bad screen and Sony tried to make claims that cheap devices could have a number of defective sub-pixels. In Holland, the consumer program Kassa ("Cash register but also what we say when Americans say "Caching") arranged that Sony had to replace

          • > Apple can try what it wants but if anyone makes a simple complaint, Apple is going to lose. Even this new thing is meaningless. In Europe, you got two years warranty at least. Take Apple to court, you will win since the law leaves no room for interpretation.

            Some people prefer not having to take a seller to court in order to have the law honored. Most people do not have the time nor the inclination to bring a random seller to court. So this matters because it settles the record straight for all consumer

        • by gl4ss (559668)

          well, apple is still liable to the extend the law requires(well, the retailer is, but apple was acting as the retailer in this).

          bigger shit is stuff like installing them with moisture sensors that are trigged before the device is sold to consumer, selling devices that they claim are meant to not work under 0c and so forth(though I think about that there's some consumer protection decision that if it's a fucking mobile PHONE there's the assumption that you can use it outdoors during winter too).

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        True apple fans upgrade before the warranty expires!
    • by MightyYar (622222)

      There are states with strict implied-warranty laws - I think as long as 4 years. Some states won't even allow as-is sales!

    • by squiggleslash (241428) on Monday April 02, 2012 @08:13AM (#39547879) Homepage Journal

      You know, I've lived in both the UK and US, and I've immersed myself in both cultures, and I still don't understand why Americans on Slashdot (only on Slashdot) appear to think it's a big deal that the EU has laws like this.

      This is standard consumer protection stuff. Does the US have a directly equivalent law? No idea, but it doesn't lack laws that are in the same ballpark. Indeed, some, such as the requirement that all electronics be vetted by the FCC and contain shielding to prevent their circuits from accidentally broadcasting something that might cause a little interference on a TV or radio in the same room, seem a tad less understandable than creating a basic standard of merchantability - you have to stand behind your product for two years. Hardly unreasonable.

      What gives?

      • This is standard consumer protection stuff. Does the US have a directly equivalent law? No idea, but it doesn't lack laws that are in the same ballpark. Indeed, some, such as the requirement that all electronics be vetted by the FCC and contain shielding to prevent their circuits from accidentally broadcasting something that might cause a little interference on a TV or radio in the same room, seem a tad less understandable than creating a basic standard of merchantability - you have to stand behind your product for two years. Hardly unreasonable.

        What gives?

        Errr, Europe has the same non-interference/resistance to interference laws that the US have.

        OG.

        • by DrXym (126579)
          The Raspberry Pi was bitten by the european equivalent just last week. It lacked the CE mark it requires for devices that can emit em radiation or be affected by it. I'm actually wondering if the Pi will run afoul of the FCC regs next.
      • I still don't understand why Americans on Slashdot (only on Slashdot) appear to think it's a big deal that the EU has laws like this.

        I don't think that this perception has anything to do with Slashdot. It's certainly a cultural thing.

        If Congress tried to pass something like this, we would never hear the end of "socialist liberal government taking over the free market." Sigh. But as you said, standard consumer protection stuff.

        • Re:As An American... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by BasilBrush (643681) on Monday April 02, 2012 @08:35AM (#39548067)

          If Congress tried to pass something like this, we would never hear the end of "socialist liberal government taking over the free market." Sigh.

          Absolutely. Because the States is effectively rules by the corporations. Somehow certain consumers would complain about a law that only benefits them. How brainwashed are they?

      • by petes_PoV (912422) on Monday April 02, 2012 @08:26AM (#39547997)
        The EU has consumer protection laws, the USA has class action lawsuits and guns. It probably balances out in all but bodycount.
        • by ericloewe (2129490) on Monday April 02, 2012 @08:33AM (#39548059)

          Too bad the US allows companies to force you into no-sue contracts (like Sony and EA have done).

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            For many other sates, but at least for california, those no sue clauses are unenforceable and void precisely because they are not legal.
            • by compro01 (777531)

              For many other sates, but at least for california, those no sue clauses are unenforceable and void precisely because they are not legal.

              Nope. The supreme court ruled last year in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion that the Federal Arbitration Act preempts any state laws to that effect and thus they can force you into their choice of arbitration providers.

            • by StikyPad (445176)

              Not true. [reuters.com]

    • I wouldn't call it amusing, but it's pretty much normal here in Europe.

      Why should a company be allowed to sell something with a 90-day warranty? That's simply absurd.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        I find this aspect of Apple pretty hilarious actually. For a brand that is supposed to be "superior quality", they sure don't stand behind it. If they were worthy of the propaganda, this would not be an issue at all. 4 year warranties would be standard.

        You would never have to worry.

  • by MightyYar (622222) on Monday April 02, 2012 @07:59AM (#39547749)

    For once, the headline is understated.

    It really doesn't matter what Apple's warranty duration is, because there seems to be a statutory warranty of 2 years in at least part of the EU.

    What this story is really about is Apple selling 2-year AppleCare plans in places with statutory warranties of 2 years, which is pretty darned slimy IMHO.

    • by poity (465672)

      Is it possible to downgrade your warranty in the EU? I think the 2 year mandatory warranty is only useful to make companies with less than stellar brand recognition invest in the quality of their products. For well-established companies, their image is too important to not strive for high quality.

  • That is something I really like when buying electronic equipment within Europe, knowing that warranty is always 2 years (with exceptions like batteries). How does it work out in other places?

    • by Splab (574204)

      Some years back I read that manufactures tend to ship their best runs to the eu because of our warranty requirement. I can't think of a single electronic gizmo I've bought the last 10 years that didn't make it way beyond the 2 years.

    • In other places Apple/*insert whatever company you want here* sells crap with short warranties (some as short as 90 days) and the consumer gets screwed over.

  • Silly headline.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 02, 2012 @08:01AM (#39547773)

    .... Just silly... Apple wasn't "forced by EU", was forced by the EU directives that were transposed to law in all EU countries. The headline should be: "Apple forced to abide the law in EU countries".... since it wasn't until now. It's not something that just happened to "fall" on our laps here in EU countries just now... it's decade and an half old law.

    • by cbope (130292)

      Where are my mod points. Oh wait... AC

      Anyway, this is 100% correct. Apple has been skirting EU law for some time, and there have been various lawsuits in some EU member countries against Apple for pulling these stunts.

      Now, there are teeth.

  • by pelorus (463100) on Monday April 02, 2012 @08:02AM (#39547779)

    This hasn't changed anything. What's the point of a warranty that lasts two years which covers defects that were present on delivery?
    (See http://www.apple.com/uk/legal/statutory-warranty/)

    Apple should be forced to stop weaselling and just give us what the law requires.

    -- An Apple Fanboi

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 02, 2012 @08:15AM (#39547899)

      What's the point of a warranty that lasts two years which covers defects that were present on delivery?

      "Defects present on delivery" IS what the law requires. However, the intended interpretation of this is that a product is defect if it cannot sustain two years of regular wear and tear without breaking. As such, bad soldering causing your screen to stop functioning after 19 months is considered a defect present at moment of purchase.

    • by MartinSchou (1360093) on Monday April 02, 2012 @08:19AM (#39547935)

      What's the point of a warranty that lasts two years which covers defects that were present on delivery?

      That IS what a warranty is. You seem to be mixing up insurance and warranty.

      Otherwise, what's to prevent me from breaking the display and claiming it should be covered by the warranty?

    • That *is* what the law requires. A warranty is to cover defects of workmanship or materials of the product as shipped. That means that if the product goes wrong within the warranty period, and it hasn't been mistreated or suffered accidental damage then it's deemed to have not been of sufficient quality when manufactured and repaired or replaced.

      Extended warranties sometimes go beyond that, such as Apple's own 1st year warranty or Applecare extended warranty. But they are not required by law.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      it doesn't matter if the defect only manifests itself later - the thing is that the defect isn't because the consumer drilled it or something.

      of course.. haha.. apple will can claim that walking outside here and back is enough to break it..

  • by AwaxSlashdot (600672) on Monday April 02, 2012 @08:06AM (#39547809) Homepage Journal

    Apple was forced by EU to be more forthcoming about warranty policies.

    Apple provided warranty, as a MANUFACTURER, is limited to 1 year and Apple pushed it warranty extension for 2 to 3 years (2 years for iOS devices, 3 years for Macs). It covers a range of issues that can appear after the sell.

    EU wasn't really happy with this because EU law mandates a 2 years warranty by the SELLER, for issue existing before the sell. EU thought that Apple was forcing clients to get a warranty extension even if they were entitled to a 2 year coverage (similar but not exactly identical).

    Now Apple clearly states this distinction.

    So if you bought your Apple product in another shop, after 1 year, you need to get in contact with that shop, that will contact Apple to identify the issue and see if this is linked to a preexisting problem or link to your usage. In the later case, your "seller provided" warranty won't help you.

    • by Bert64 (520050)

      Having a 1 year warranty on a phone made sense back when mobile contracts typically lasted 1 year...
      But now that mobile contracts are typically 2 years, it should be a legal requirement that any warranty last for at least as long as the contract terms if not longer.

  • by rsmith-mac (639075) on Monday April 02, 2012 @08:16AM (#39547905)

    As usual, TFS and TFA got it all wrong.

    As so clearly painted out on Apple's website [apple.com], there are two factors in play.

    1. Apple's 1 year warranty
    2. EU Consumer Law regarding to product quality at the time of sale

    Apple's warranty continues to stand at 1 year. If anything short of intentional damage happens in that one year, you get full Apple tech support.

    EU Consumer Law meanwhile covers a 2 year period, and as the weaker program takes effect during the second year of ownership. Pay attention here, this is important: if the buyer can prove the product was defective when it was sold, then and only then can they take the product to the seller (who is not necessarily Apple) for coverage. This is not the same as a 2 year warranty as you do not get any direct support from Apple - no phone support, no Apple Store, no authorized service providers; you get what the seller can provide, unless that seller is Apple. And even then Apple will not give the buyer the same treatment as a full warranty, and the burden of proof is on the buyer to prove that the product was defective at the time of sale.

    For a real warranty over 1 year you still need to purchase an AppleCare plan. That gets you full and direct Apple support, and more importantly there is no burden of proof on the buyer to prove that the product was defective at the time of sale.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      For a real warranty over 1 year you still need to purchase an AppleCare plan. That gets you full and direct Apple support, and more importantly there is no burden of proof on the buyer to prove that the product was defective at the time of sale.

      The burden of proof is on the seller for the first 6 months, and on the buyer afterwards. Still "burden of proof" doesn't mean it's required to provide evidence of a production defect. Most judges will take the absence of evidence of abuse on the device as proof enough that the issue is due to a production defect. After all either it's not working correctly due to a production defect, or is not working correctly due to damage and damage is easy to demonstrate.

      Note that components are supposed to last 2 year

    • The legalese sounds horrible but you don't have to prove anything beyond the fact that the product only saw regular use.

  • by unami (1042872) on Monday April 02, 2012 @08:16AM (#39547909)
    everything i buy here in europe here has this two-year seller's warranty. and always had. apple didn't sell things with one year warranty because they couldn't do it - even if it was stated otherwise on their warranty card - it was alway protected under the two year seller's warranty. and this warranty has always been different from the manufacturers warranty.
  • How about "Apple has to comply with the laws of the countries they do business in"?
  • by Lumpy (12016)

    Honestly, if apple was to say, "Oh ok, in fact world wide 2 year warranty" they would have created a gigantic PR buzz that would have hurt everyone else at ZERO cost to them.

    Honestly, the failure rate difference between 1 year and 2 years cant be big enough to cost them anything. It's almost a Zero cost to them with gigantic gains in PR if they embraced it.

    Plus it would give all their competitors gigantic headaches.

  • by zerojoker (812874) on Monday April 02, 2012 @08:23AM (#39547971)
    Since there seems to be much confusion, I'd like to add a few points to this article. There are two notions of warranty in Europe.

    1.) A mandatory warranty that all _sellers_ of goods have to give by law, which is valid for two years. This covers only problems that existed prior to the purchase. So for example, if some part breaks simple to being worn out, the _seller_ has no obligation to cover it. If a problem occurs within the first six month after purchase, it is assumed by law that the problem existed prior to the purchase. The burden of proof that the problem did not exist prior to the purchase is up to the _seller_. In practice, such proof is difficult, and thus _seller_ will usually handle the problem. After six month up to two years, the burden of proof is up to the buyer. Since again, this is almost impossible to do without an expensive expertise, this effectively limits this warranty up to six month. Note that this is an issue between the _seller_ and the _buyer_, even though if a defect occurs and the seller is not the manufacturer, say the seller is amazon, the seller when faced with a defective product will claim the same warranty to the manufacturer. Some might have other agreements with the manufacturer.

    2.) Almost all manufacturers give on top a voluntary warranty to the customer of two years. This warranty is completely voluntary, and the customer has no real legal means to enforce it.

    What happened here is that Apple is one of the very few manufacturers who only give voluntary warranty of one year. They (essentially the apple store) tried to sell additional warranties for up to three years (Apple Care), but without making it clear, that the buyer can anyway claim warranty against the seller of goods for up to two years (even though, this is hardly enforceable after six month, unless it is a problem so widespread that it would, say, lead to a class-action lawsuit in the US). The judges asked Apple to make this more explicit. Instead, Apple finally went ahead and introduced voluntary warranty conditions that are similar to any other manufacturer in Europe.
    • Any half-decent manufacturer will replace a broken product within two years with few to no questions asked (assuming the product wasn't subjected to anything out of the ordinary, of course).

  • Not only an idiot, but a bloody f***ing stupid idiot of the highest magnitude.

    Apple hasn't given in to any pressure, and Apple hasn't made any changes whatsoever. What Apple has done is presenting on a website what rights Apple customers have towards the seller of a product (whoever is the seller, and whoever makes the product), what rights Apple as the manufacturer voluntarily gives to buyers of Apple products (One year. ONE year. Not TWO years you bloody idiot submitter), and what rights Apple gives yo
  • i am not saying they made a bad product, but they charge way too much for their products, i dont buy electronics to make a fashion statement, i buy an electronic product because it has a functionality that suits a purpose, and i find better value in alternatives to apple's products
  • by ledow (319597) on Monday April 02, 2012 @08:52AM (#39548243) Homepage

    An alternative title would be:

    "Apple made to comply with existing laws that are quite reasonable, everyone else complies with and which aid the consumer."

    So I don't really see what the fuss is about. If you're building expensive devices and putting them into people's hands, expecting them to last two years isn't a hardship, unless your business is BUILT upon their obsolescence. In which case, this is a win for the consumer is stopping you doing things like that.

    "Apple FORCED to make devices that last more than a year on average". Gosh. The horror.

    And every other electronics manufacturer trading in the EU has to do the same and has done for a while now. Hell, I can get CARS with a five year warranty, and there's no end of things that could go wrong on them and it costs the manufacturer 10 times as much if they do go wrong or they have a design flaw.

    "Apple THREATENED WITH LAWSUIT if they don't give consumers a good deal"

    Well.... bloody good job!

  • All Apple has done is clarify consumer's rights wrt to defects that exist at time of purchase. Apple is not saying they'll fix any problems that arise as they would with Applecare, they're saying if a defect is present when you buy an item that the seller is responsible for fixing it. Unlike Apple's warranty, you don't get worldwide coverage no matter where you bought it, nor is Apple obligated to fix it if you take it to an Apple store but bought it elsewhere.

    So while it is nice to have such consumer prot

  • Why would the EU require them to have a warranty longer than their lifespan?
    Apple pumps out a new version, what, every month?

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