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Apple fined $1.2m for flouting Italian warranty law

iPhone maker must also admit blunder on website

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An Italian regulator has fined Apple €900,000 ($1.17m) for trying to sell a two-year extended warranty when customers were entitled to such a thing for free under Italian law.

Apple offered a one-year warranty, with an option to extend that cover under an AppleCare Protection Plan, but Italian law says that all goods have to come with a two-year warranty, and (critically) it is up to the retailer to inform customers of that fact.

Apple's online store failed to do that, and so has been fined €400k for failing to provide the two-year warranty, and another €500k for inducing customers to sign up to extended cover they didn't need.

The fines are further divided between Apple Sales International, Apple Srl Italy, and Apple Retail Srl Italy, with Apple Sales International taking the brunt of the cost as the fine is calculated on a percentage of turnover.

The ruling also states that Apple stop misleading people within 90 days, and post an extract from the ruling on its web site. Apple hasn't responded to our questions on the matter, but no explanation has appeared on Cupertino's website just yet.

Warranty requirements vary across the EU, and Apple isn't the first company to get caught out, but in most instances a gentle reminder is all that’s needed. Electrical retail chain Comet was doing much the same thing in Italy, but managed to update its website and retail outlets fast enough to prevent any fine, so one has to wonder why Apple didn't manage to do the same.

It's easy to accuse Cupertino of American arrogance in failing to respect local laws, but that seems unlikely and an American corporation certainly makes an easy target for a regulator seeking political points, not to mention nine hundred thousand euros. ®

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