AppleCare warranty under fire by European Union officials

AppleCare warranty under fire
At issue: the way AppleCare advertises its program

It looks like AppleCare, the extend protection program from Apple that fixes your Mac and iOS devices beyond the standard warranty, needs some fixing of its own, according to European Union officials.

Specifically, European Union Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding takes issue with the way in which Apple prominently advertises its paid AppleCare program, but fails to equally inform users of the EU Statutory Warranty.

"Apple prominently advertised that its products come with a one-year manufacturer warranty but failed to clearly indicate the consumers' automatic and free-of-cost entitlement to a minimum two-year guarantee under EU law," Reding said to ministers in the letter obtained by Bloomberg News. "These are unacceptable marketing practices."

The EU law states that consumers are protected for up to two years from defects that are present when they take delivery of their Apple device. It's up to the seller to provide this coverage at no additional cost.

The standard warranty covers defects that arise after consumers take the delivery for up to one year and the paid AppleCare Protection Program does the same for two to three years depending on the product.

AppleCare fine print lost in translation

Apple gets its message across very clearly in each of the 27 EU member states when it comes to the complementary and optional AppleCare warranties.

In Reding's home country of Luxembourg, for example, the Apple Protection Program website uses easy-to-read bar graphics to indicate both the standard warranty and extended warranty support.

It's not until consumers scroll down to the fine print and click a link to a new page that they are told about the EU Statutory Warranty.

Because there's no graphic for the EU law, understanding the country's language is essential to knowing about the free program.

Reding isn't the first to point out Apple's support message inconsistency. The same matter was at the heart of a € 900,000 ($1.16 million US; $1,117,365 AUD; £718,906 UK;) fine that Apple had to pay Italy last December.

Via Bloomberg, SlashGear

Matt Swider