In Belgium, an investigative magistrate has reportedly considered forcing Internet service providers (ISPs) to block Apple's website, after hearing claims that the Cupertino, Calif. company is misleading consumers over its warranty options.
Apple's long-standing dispute with the European legal system concerns its one-year limited warranty, which is offered to customers around the world. In Europe, however, buyers are legally entitled to a minimum of two years of free protection, and Apple hasn't always been forthcoming in informing consumers of this.
Instead, customers in Belgium have rather been encouraged to purchase Apple's advanced warranty offering – AppleCare – in order to protect their products beyond the company's free one-year warranty. The company is accused of “deliberately” withholding information from consumers in an attempt to upsell, and earlier this year we explained how one consumer group had decided to sue Apple over the situation.
Our article noted at the time:
The suit was filed with the Commercial Court of Brussels. Test-Aankoop believes that Apple has deliberately withheld information about the official EU directive to customers, which automatically extends warranties to two years. They believe that Apple withholds this information in order to sell the company’s extended warranty program, AppleCare.
The report adds, however, that the judge is now looking at less extreme options, “after realizing that restricting access to Apple websites would affect iTunes users and other customers in a myriad of ways.”
For now, we'll have to watch this space. Apple updated its European websites last June in order to highlight that customers were entitled to two-year coverage under EU law, but it may be that further action is required.
We'll keep you updated.
In the meantime, see: Corning SVP Calls Sapphire Glass Expensive, Heavier, Environmentally Unfriendly, The Spotlight Is On Spotliter, Now With Support For Photos As Well As Videos, and and TV-Tracking App Trak TV Show Gets Redesigned For iOS 7 As It Goes Universal For iPad.