April 3, 2012
In the European Union, consumer electronics must come with two years of free warranty protection. However, Apple has yet to do so, despite revising its warranty, according to the Dutch consumer group Consumentenbond. Because of this, the Cupertino, California-based company could face a lawsuit, according to TNW. In the EU, as in the U.S., Apple provides a one-year limited warranty for the company's iPhone/iPod touch, iPad and Apple TV products. For additional cost, consumers can extend their warranty another two years through the company’s AppleCare extended warranty program. After going to court (and losing), Apple revised its warranty policy in the EU to reflect the two-year requirement. The company also had to pay $1.2 million in damages. Despite this, Consumentenbond believes Apple is still providing customers with insufficient information about the EU’s consumer protection laws. As such, they are asking Apple to provide “more and better information.” They state:
“Apple is still not providing information about specific Dutch consumer laws that relate to the warranties it offers. That means consumers are not getting all the information they require before purchasing an Apple product”.
At issue is what defines a two-year warrantyAccording to MacObserver, the EU's biggest concern is that language in Apple's current warranty doesn't matchup with the zone's requirements. Apple’s warranty only covers products after a customer takes delivery. The EU, meanwhile, requires the warranty begin when the customer takes delivery.
“By Apple’s definition, only defects actually present at the time of delivery will extend the warranty to two years, but, if that’s the case, the customer would already qualify for service under Apple’s one-year warranty. The only beneficiaries of the new policy, as currently worded, would be those consumers who notice a defect at delivery but fail to seek a repair or replacement within the first year. EU’s case law, however, has declared that general defects arising within the first two years of ownership to be a result of the manufacturing process and thus present upon delivery. This interpretation may force Apple to further modify its warranty program in order to avoid additional legal action in other EU member states.”Assuming Apple doesn't revise its policy again, Consumentenbond, and perhaps the entire EU, will sue. Our advice before making a purchase is to consider the governmental warranty protections in your country. After all, these are the ones that are law, regardless of what Apple's own warranty may state. In this case, it sounds like EU members don't have to purchase AppleCare to get two-years of protection. Hopefully, Apple and the EU can come together and resolve this without yet another court case.