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EU Says Apple's Warranty Advertisements Are Unacceptable 266

An anonymous reader writes "The European Union believes that Apple should be investigated for the way that it advertises warranties on their products. EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding wrote to the member countries which is 27 to ask them to check whether Apple retailers failed to let buyers know about the right to a minimum 2-year warranty for products such as the iPhone and iPad under EU law."
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EU Says Apple's Warranty Advertisements Are Unacceptable

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  • by dryriver ( 1010635 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @04:04PM (#41517485)
    ...about consumer rights, and about the information it passes to buyers. A lot of Apple fans pay a steep premium for Apple products, assuming that they are "the best", even though that is hardly the case. There really is no legit reason why a Mac will cost 1.5 - 2 times more than a similarly specced Windows PC. ---- There's only one way Apple will go from here if it doesn't implement more ethical policies across the board: Down, down, down...
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm waiting for the Apple fan boy to find the most expensive PC/laptop they can find and post it as an example on how it compares mand then all of the sheep to quickly mod it up. Here's a helpful hint, for every PC you find that is similar in price to a comparing Apple product, almost anyone browsing the internet can find 10 that are much cheaper and with a similar warranty. For those Apple fans that don't have their head in the sand and already know an equal PC can be found much cheaper will throw in the

      • Not to mention the amount of power you can get on the low end of the PC scale is just insane now. I mean you can choose an i3 office laptop or an AMD quad if you want more gaming capable graphics for around $400 now and we are talking 4-8Gb of RAM, DVD burner, 500Gb HDD, nice 17 inch screen, its just nuts. And the build quality on a lot of those are...actually quite nice. I've had no complaints from those who've had me get them one of the new Samsung or Asus quad AMDs and I'm quite happy with my EEE netbook, had it nearly 2 years now without a problem and even the battery is holding up pretty well with over 5 hours on a charge.

        So I find it funny that people talk of a "Microsoft tax" when on basic and home thanks to trialware its actually a "Microsoft tax break" as the trialware actually covers Windows and lets them sell the units for lower prices, while Apple units will be priced at a premium even when the hardware that is in them is frankly old hat compared to the latest Intel and AMD offerings.

        But if you like Apple's sense of fashion, if you need Unix support for some reason, or just perfer OSX and don't mind paying the extra money for the privilege? Then I'm happy for you and hope you enjoy your purchase, I really do. But don't make these crazy logic hoops to jump through to try to justify your choice as its just silly. I mean do you see Ferrari owners jumping through hoops to claim that Ferrari is a "better value" than a Mustang or Corvette? Of course not, so don't jump through hoops Apple users, the only opinion that should matter is your own.

        Of course I have a theory that the reason why they feel they need to jump through hoops is there is a little niggling doubt sitting on their shoulder that keeps whispering "You paid too much" in their ear and the only way they can shut the niggler up is to get people to agree with them, but that's just a theory.

    • by Myopic ( 18616 ) *

      The marginal value of a Mac is the OS, not the hardware, and certainly not the hardware *specs*. If any part of the hardware is superior it is the design not the components. But even the case of the computer isn't so special as the operating system.

    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      When you "fudge" a spec, like screen resolution, then yes. When you match all specs, they are comperable to PCs, in fact, given the difficulty in exact matching, to meet or beat Apple in every way, you generally end up paying more for the PC.
    • There really is no legit reason why a Mac will cost 1.5 - 2 times more than a similarly specced Windows PC.

      This has been debunked _CONSTANTLY_. How is this myth still being thrown about, especially by people who should know better? A similarly specced PC is typically about 10 - 20% cheaper (varying depending on the exact machine you decide to compare). The problem is most people think "same amount of RAM and same clock speed" equals "similarly specced". It does not. If you're going to look at a similarly specced machine, look at a machine with the same connections, the same monitor, the same _EVERYTHING_. Most a

    • And cue, Macs cost the same as similarly specced PCs argument.

      The thing about pricing specs is that you will find 100 different prices for nearly identical specs. But one argument is obvious, the Mac brand is with all of its fanaticism is obviously worth (read: enables them to be able to charge) a 1.5-2 times multiplier. So I do not have to see one specific compared setup to tell you that obviously MACs are overpriced.

  • by abhi2012 ( 2739367 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @04:04PM (#41517491) Homepage
    Apple is going to release a slightly bigger version of the iPhone in 6 months anyway and you are going to throw your old phone out the window. So does it really matter anyways?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2012 @04:06PM (#41517513)

    Good luck to them. Apple considers discovery of flaws as breaches of their conditions of sale

  • by joostje ( 126457 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @04:12PM (#41517575)
    On the plus side, apple will now sue anyone with sleazy advertisements.
  • What about... (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by msauve ( 701917 )
    Does the EU require a 2 year warranty on calendars? How does that work?
    • by mseeger ( 40923 )

      Does the EU require a 2 year warranty on calendars? How does that work?

      Usually well ;-).

      In the first six months, any burden of proof is on the side of the vendor. So unless it's obvious that it wasn't used according to the specs, replacement is painless.

      After six months, the burden of prood switches over to the buyer. Which may be a hassle, but doesn't need to be.

      • Re:What about... (Score:4, Informative)

        by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @05:01PM (#41518163) Homepage

        Not everywhere; here in Portugal the burden of proof never shifts.

    • Re:What about... (Score:5, Informative)

      by sjames ( 1099 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @04:30PM (#41517809) Homepage Journal

      Does the 2011 calendar still correctly show the days of the week and the dates for 2011? If so, not defective.

    • by Hentes ( 2461350 )

      Only on electric devices.

    • Are you deliberately being silly?

      Of course there are goods that expire or perish by their very nature before the 2 years period is over. I doubt I can get my money back on the bottle of milk of 2010 that I recently found in the back of my fridge because it's ... let's not be gross here and leave it at that. That's because it is reasonable to expect milk to have a best before date that's way lower than the mentioned 2 years.

      It is by NO means to be expected that electronic devices last less than 2 years.

      • This is Europe we're talking about - just call it cheese and you are good to go!
        • by Sique ( 173459 )

          No, the EU actually forbid calling products cheese that are not made from fermented milk. There was an issue with so called analog cheese (a mixture of vegetable oil and proteines), which is no longer allowed to be marketed as cheese.

      • by msauve ( 701917 )
        I can think of lots of electronic devices which can be expected to last less than 2 years with normal use. There are whole websites [dx.com] full of electronics which I'd be pleasantly surprised to find still working after 2 years of use.
        • by Sique ( 173459 )

          Those electronics be better not sold by a EU located vendor. Alternatively the vendor stocks three times the items he actually sells for spares.

  • It is not enough to follow the law you need to embrace it and advertise it too.

    Don't get me wrong Extended Warranties tend to be the biggest rip-off because they tend to not cover most of the reasons why your device will break, and cover things that will last forever anyways. However why should apple be under so much pressure for trying to sell as an add on an extended Warrantee. Shouldn't their customers know the law?

    • Re:So... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2012 @04:29PM (#41517803)

      They are selling extended warranties for the period the *law* says they have to cover and hiding the fact the devices are covered. If Apple don't like it, they're welcome to not sell their products in the EU.

    • Re:So... (Score:5, Informative)

      by jkflying ( 2190798 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @04:31PM (#41517817)

      They're trying to make people think that they will have to pay for something when in fact Apple is required by law to provide it for free.

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        But you get a pre-certification of guaranteed no-hassle coverage with the extended warranty. So guaranteeing they have to guarantee it isn't the same thing as forcing them to warranty it against their will according to law.
    • Re:So... (Score:5, Informative)

      by sjames ( 1099 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @04:35PM (#41517853) Homepage Journal

      The law includes a requirement to point out what remedies the customer is entitled to under the law. Probably, that is exactly to prevent sellers from deceiving the buyer into thinking they must pay for an extended warranty. Apple ignored that bit exactly so they could sell the extended warranty.

      • The law includes a requirement to point out what remedies the customer is entitled to under the law. Probably, that is exactly to prevent sellers from deceiving the buyer into thinking they must pay for an extended warranty. Apple ignored that bit exactly so they could sell the extended warranty.

        No, that's what someone is claiming, but not what is actually happening. If you go to store.apple.com/uk and enter "applecare" in the search box, then click on one of the products offered (the first one is applecare for iphone), you see in bold letters (yes, it's actually bold): "Important Note: Apple One-Year Limited Warranty and AppleCare Protection Plan benefits are in addition to rights provided under consumer law. For details, click here." And when you do "click here", you go to http://www.apple.com/uk [apple.com]

    • Do I have to go to law school now just to avoid being ripped off when I go shopping?

      • Ironically, the post RIGHT above yours has(d?) this in it.

          go to http://www.apple.com/uk/legal/statutory-warranty/ [apple.com] which actually explains your rights rather well, and provides links to government websites.

        So, no.

        • It's very misleading because it only covers EU minimum requirements and not the individual country's laws that meet (and, typically, exceed) that minimum requirement. They claim that the statutory warranty in the UK only covers defects present at time of purchase. That could possibly be considered to be true, if you consider bad design to be a defect. The Sale of Goods Act states that the goods must be suitable for the purpose for which sold and must continue to function if subjected to normal operation
      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        Yes. That's the final goal of a "free market". The sellers are free to defraud buyers, and the sellers have their full rights only if they are willing to file lawsuits every time they are wronged.

        What, you don't like a glimpse into libertarian paradise?
    • Their website for the UK shows only a single years warranty on a new iphone 5

      This is a lie, and constitutes fraud as it is attempting to induce you into buying an "extended" warranty

  • by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @04:37PM (#41517879)

    However the issue isnt that Apple is honoring the warranty

    Just the other week I brought in some Apple equipment that had a slight hardware fault (charging problems) that was over a year old but under two years old, and they told me they'd charge for it to be fixed. I'd forgotten about the two year EU warranty (it used to be a year, IIRC). The defect wasn't apparent for the first year or so, but there's no visible damage and I haven't knocked it around at all. Anybody know where I stand?

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      This I think is the issue. At one time Applecare was more than just a warranty. It would fix things like DVD drives that would break with excessive us. Now it is nothing more than a warranty for manufacturers defects, so Applecare has become much less than it used to be. I agree. A manufacturer should be held liable for defects that occur within the expected lifetime of a product, which for a computer is 2-3 years. The extended warranty should cover damage that is not a defect, just stuff that happen
      • by arth1 ( 260657 )

        A manufacturer should be held liable for defects that occur within the expected lifetime of a product, which for a computer is 2-3 years.

        arth1 looks over at his Pentium III box that has been running day and night for a decade now.

        Just because you get used to switching due to obsolescence doesn't mean that the products shouldn't last longer. I know one Fortune 500 company where the 3 year lifecycle for PCs has now been extended to 4-5. In today's economy, that makes sense.

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          In most cases, replacing a crappy old PIII with a modern Android tablet will give you more operations over a year for 1/10th the power. You'd save money paying for the recycle of the P-III and buying a brand new tablet, and have more processing power.

          You are spending more money on electricity than it would cost to replace it with something newer. Your poor choices aren't a great blueprint for others to follow. I've replaced a perfectly good HTPC with a new one, using a laptop processor, and got more pow
          • by arth1 ( 260657 )

            You are spending more money on electricity than it would cost to replace it with something newer.

            The PIII S has a TDP of under 30W. It's not like your average P4 space heater. Electricity is not the concern here.
            Sure, an Atom N470 would give similar performance at less wattage, but that means changing not only the CPU, but motherboard, RAM, RAID controller, drives, PCI cards, and power supply.
            In other words everything. For a system that probably will last fewer years than this one will keep on going.
            What's the environmental footprint of changing all of that, compared to the small amount of electricity saved?

            No, I'll keep my old PC. Because that's the most environmentally friendly thing I can do.

    • Yeah you are entitled to a replacement/repair for free. Tell them that. If they deny it, tell them that you're entitled to it and it's either replacement here and now or you'll phone your solicitor for advice. Make as much noise as possible to show that you're willing to put off other customers.

      I've had to do this 3 times now on my kids iPod failures (knackered cables, battery failure, one 4th gen nano actually melted).

      Also don't buy Apple again.

      We now buy Lenovo laptops, Nokia phones (Lumia) and Archos

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gnasher719 ( 869701 )
      You didn't say where you bought the Apple equipment. Statutory warranties are provided by the seller, not the manufacturer. So if you buy a Mac at PCWorld, it's PCWorld's problem. If you buy a Canon printer at the Apple Store, it's Apple's problem.

      Now in the first 6 months the seller has to prove that the fault wasn't present when you received the item, after that you have to prove that the fault was there when you received it. You also didn't say whether a repair has happened; after a repair it would be
    • Anybody know where I stand?

      Here's what I would do — just my thoughts, not legal advice or anything like that. This is based on a number of things:

      • * I am based in the UK, as my thoughts are based on UK law;
      • * I bought the product as a consumer, and not a business;
      • * Apple was the seller — the party from whom I bought the product. If Apple is the manufacturer, but not the seller, because I bought the product from a third party store, O would need to pursue your claim (which is for breach of con
    • A few companies does this. The trick is to tell them you know the law, and they fold automatically. They just lie initially with the intention to defraud the less knowledgable, once you show you are not an idiot and insist on your rights they usually fold rather quickly.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @05:03PM (#41518185) Homepage

    The European Union is strict about consumer law [europa.eu] so that consumers will be comfortable buying across national boundaries within the Union. It's part of the "single market" concept which defines the EU.

    "A practice is misleading if it contains false or untrue information or is likely to deceive the consumer, even though the information given may be correct. In particular, this information relates to: ... the consumersâ(TM) rights on aspects of the sale of consumer goods."

    Here's how Apple misleads customers: Start at the Apple UK site. [apple.com] Try to find warranty information. The "support" page does not mention a warranty. There's "AppleCare Products - extend support coverage for your Apple products." Going to that page, we see "All Apple hardware comes with a one-year limited warranty (1) and up to 90 days of complimentary telephone technical support.". Down at note 1, in grey 77% white type, there's a link to "Apple Products and EU Statutory Warranty" [apple.com] Only there does Apple admit there's a 2-year warranty.

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter