EU asks member states to investigate sales of AppleCare

By on October 1, 2012, 6:30 PM

European Union Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding is urging member states to investigate whether local Apple retail stores are supplying buyers with adequate information regarding warranty coverage at the time of purchase. It is their belief that customers aren’t getting all of the facts with regards to EU law that dictates customers have the right to a minimum two-year warranty on the types of products that Apple sells.

Reding points out that Apple does a good job of advertising the fact that their products are backed by a one-year manufacturer warranty but they don’t make it clear that consumers are additionally entitled to the two-year guarantee under the law. This could potentially lead consumers to purchase Cupertino’s AppleCare Protection Plan under false pretenses.

Apple was fined $1.2 million for similar business practices in Italy late last year. Regulators there discovered Apple had failed to make customers aware of a mandatory two-year warranty and instead were urging customers to purchase Apple’s protection plan. Italy’s Antitrust Authority fined Apple €400,000 for misleading consumes about the warranty and €500,000 for selling AppleCare to uninformed buyers.

Apple spokesperson Alan Hely declined to comment on the investigation but did refer media to Apple’s EU statutory warranty page. The page points out that EU law covers defects in the product when the customer takes deliver. Apple’s warranty and AppleCare protection plan, however, cover defects arising after the buyer takes ownership of the device. Maybe it’s just me but there doesn’t really seem to be much difference between the two.




User Comments: 12

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Tygerstrike said:

Ok first of all as someone who sells phones, let me be the first to say that customers are some cheap SOBs! When someone comes in and wants a phone 10 to 1 they just want a "FREE" phone. Second, customer would prefer to gamble with thier phones. No matter what is said, they dont want warrenty protection. Then when they break thier new toy, they come back in stating that we didnt offer the warrenty or they wanted the warrenty and we didnt put it on for them. Two very obvious lies due to the fact that cellphone sales normally have some form of commision per item attached, including warrenties. Now this may be different in EU and partnering areas. But from my experience customers are generally cheap, they dont pay attention when you are doing the activation for them.

Win7Dev said:

^ What he said. Although apple care is more like "give us more money because we don't want to help you unless you pay three times the value of the product".

Guest said:

I must disagree with the previous posters above me. Every single extended warranty that I have ever bought was just a massive waste of money. I have never used any of them. Bought it for my HDTV (when they first came out), regular old phone, ps3 (original phat version), iphone 4, laptop and desktop probably nearly a thousand dollars worth of warranties and they were never used.

Do you want to know the reason why people want free phones? Its because we have to enter into a huge contract for service. No one want to be locked down for 2-3 years or pay a penalty. Pay as you go phones are a great idea, unfortunately they don't include my phone.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Though I generally loathe the EU in Brussels for being normally ridiculous in these sort of pursuits I do applaud their willingness to actually hold Apple accountable for their sometimes questionable business practices which is something the U.S. seems incapable of. (To be fair though its probably because Apple is a U.S. company that the EU homes in on it)

2 people like this | avoidz avoidz said:

Ok first of all as someone who sells phones, let me be the first to say that customers are some cheap SOBs! When someone comes in and wants a phone 10 to 1 they just want a "FREE" phone. Second, customer would prefer to gamble with thier phones. No matter what is said, they dont want warrenty protection. Then when they break thier new toy, they come back in stating that we didnt offer the warrenty or they wanted the warrenty and we didnt put it on for them. Two very obvious lies due to the fact that cellphone sales normally have some form of commision per item attached, including warrenties. Now this may be different in EU and partnering areas. But from my experience customers are generally cheap, they dont pay attention when you are doing the activation for them.

No wonder I dislike so many of you salespeople. Insulting your customers like that.

Jay Pfoutz Jay Pfoutz, Malware Helper, said:

I didn't think it was an insult. Customers are generally cheap. However, fair market is indeed fair market.

Real businesspeople know this.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Yeah, customers are cheap, and stupid. Most have no idea what they want, what they need, and what they buy. However, being one of those that does research before buying, I often find sellers are either completely stupid or lying through their teeth. At best, they haul boxes, but they have no idea what's in them. If they were really tech savy, they wouldn't be selling stuff. (Occasionnaly you might get the exception to this rule, but usually only in small, privately owned special stores - where you pay over the top.)

And Apple is just like any other seller: it doesn't matter what the customer buys, as long as they give you their money, expect as a little as possible in return and still leave with a feeling they have been helped. "You don't sell a product, you sell an experience" (or lie, depending on your point of view).

andy06shake said:

I would have you sacked if you attended me in a phone shop with that attitude. Dont you know the customer is allways right? Let me guess you work for commision? Hate you boss not the customer mate IMHO.

ReederOnTheRun ReederOnTheRun said:

I'm not too surprised Apple would trick customers into paying for extra protection that they don't need. Keep in mind this is the same Apple that gives its employees a script to play on customers' emotions.

Jay Pfoutz Jay Pfoutz, Malware Helper, said:

Customer may be always right, yes, but if stores don't earn profits, then where is the store going? Definitely not making enough sales to stay open.

The retailer is always right on the price, while the customer is always right on the service. Remember that.

Tygerstrike said:

@Dragon...

Even thats not always true. 9 times out of ten the customer is COMPLETLY wrong. They either want something for nothing, or they will throw a scene. Unless ANY of you have had to work retail or customer service, you really shouldnt post. Your general ignorance of the situation blinds you to the reality of the job. Ppl are cheap tight fisted and generally a scrooge when it comes to purchases. We are not in a economy that ppl feel they can spend that extra 20 bucks to protect thier phone witha case of some form. No, they would rather gamble that they wont drop thier phone, technically a statistical improbability, then do the barest minimum on thier own. Then come in a complain and lie to get thier way. If you as a person havent done this, im sure you have watched others do it.

Also you have to remember, its thier game. The cellphone carriers make the rules. We just have to follow them. Even if you get a pay as you go phone, its still owned by one of the monster cellphone compaines.

Jay Pfoutz Jay Pfoutz, Malware Helper, said:

Customer experience, my friend, is why Google is the #1 internet company, because they LISTENED to their customers. Facebook has been failing to meet customer demands, making tons of people mad, and causing Facebook executives to make rash decisions such as purchasing Instagram for 1 billion dollars.

I worked as a salesperson, where I sold high definition televisions, ranging from 19" to 64", and sold two-to-three every week. How? Customer experience. I got on our intercom 2-4 times per hour, announced deals, and customers flocked over to check it out. I approached them, as they were looking at the one on sale, and asked them what they're looking for in a TV.

Not only did I get them to buy the TV, I also sold a wall mount, and protection plans that cost $19.95 or $29.95. Customers want to know that if they make the investment, they will get exactly what they bargained for. Which means if we're selling a TV for $400 off, a customer will ask what's wrong with it. Wherefore, if it was $100 off, they'd be like HOLY CRAP! With selling a wall mount and protection plan, they actually paid almost how much the TV was originally.

It's all about the customer experience, which caused me to be able to sell not only the TV, which most people get skeptical of buying anyway, but also wall mounts and protection plans. There's no excuse for why the customer shouldn't be first. Because even if the customer is wrong, doesn't mean you're right either.

I have plenty of years in sales and services, and own two companies. Customers are always right about the service, retailers are always right about the price. Period.

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