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iTunes guilty of breaking Norwegian law

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The Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman has ruled that the Apple iTunes service breaks the law, and has given the company two weeks to fix the problem.

In January, the Consumer Council asked the Ombudsman to look at iTunes because of concerns that it breaks consumer protection law.

Today's decision backs that complaint.

According to the ruling, iTunes breaks section 9a of the Norwegian Marketing Control Act. The regulator said it was not reasonable that the consumer must sign up to a contract regulated by English law, rather than Norwegian law. It also said iTunes must accept responsibility for damage its software may do, and said it is unreasonable to alter terms and conditions after a song has been sold.

Consumer Council senior advisor Torgeir Waterhouse told the Reg: "The Consumer Council has asked Apple to respond as to whether iTunes should work on other platforms - they have until 21 June to respond. After that the Ombudsman is likely to set another deadline and then start fining the company."

Waterhouse said the Ombudsman is not a toothless watchdog - back in April it fined Ryanair €62,500 for illegally charging refund fees.

The council is not only concerned by iTunes. It says several other download services in Norway also break consumer protection law and it expects the Ombudsman to take similar action against them.

Apple has to respond by 21 June or face fines.

More from the Consumer Council here. ®

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