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Finnish regulator calls for iPhone refunds

It's cold in Finland, bloody cold

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Finnish iPhone users unhappy at the inability of the handset to operate below zero are entitled to their money back, even if the limitation appears in the small print.

The clarification comes from the Finland's Consumer Agency, as reported by Finnish news agency YLE.fi, in response to numerous questions from concerned Finns who are unhappy that their shiny Apple toys won't promise to work again until the spring, at best. So unless the shop specifically stated the zero-degree operational limit, then the regulator reckons iPhone-purchasing Finns are entitled to their money back.

Finland, like the UK, requires all items sold new to operate in the way they might reasonably be expected to do. Small print can't negate those rights, and it's reasonable for Finns to expect to be able to make phone calls outside, so refunds would seem to be in order. Meanwhile the regulator is preparing a list of questions for Apple about how it trains its staff, and how badly the iPhone breaks down when it gets cold.

Which is, in our limited experience, not at all. We've used iPhones of various models well below freezing, and before Christmas Scottish iPhone owners experienced several weeks of temperatures around -10°C without complaint. Putting the limitation in the small print is obviously a get-out clause from Apple, and probably serves it well in California.

But not in Finland, where (least we forget) the largest payer of taxes is Nokia. We're not suggesting that the regulator would highlight the limitations if the competition just for the benefit of Nokia, but it's a happy coincidence that it works out that way. ®

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