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Old Jan 15, 2013, 12:54 PM   #1
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Consumer Group Targets Apple's AppleCare Practices in Belgium




Apple is once again being targeted for its AppleCare policies in Europe, this time by Belgian consumer group Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats.

The organization filed a complaint against Apple yesterday with the Commercial Court of Brussels (via TechCrunch), claiming that the Cupertino-based company has not followed local consumer protection laws and has withheld information from consumers.

While electronics in the United States typically come with a one year warranty, the same products are also subject to a mandated two year coverage policy in European Union member states, although there are substantial differences between warranty coverage issued by Apple and the longer consumer protection coverage issued under EU directives.

According to the organization, Apple has failed to adequately disclose the details of the law to consumers, instead choosing to push its AppleCare Protection Plan extended warranty.

Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats was originally one of 10 European organizations that teamed up to reprimand Apple for its AppleCare practices, but the consumer group decided to move on with an official suit because Apple has "remained deaf" to demands.

Apple faced a similar lawsuit in Italy, which was resolved just last month. Apple was forced to pay more than $1.4 million in fines, in addition to modifying its website and ceasing the sale of AppleCare in Italian Apple Stores.

Article Link: Consumer Group Targets Apple's AppleCare Practices in Belgium
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 12:56 PM   #2
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Are European consumers generally uninformed misfits? I don't live in Europe and even I know about the 2 year warranty. Just another frivolous suit to line the pockets of lawyers.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 12:59 PM   #3
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Are European consumers generally uninformed misfits? I don't live in Europe and even I know about the 2 year warranty. Just another frivolous suit to line the pockets of lawyers.
We all know in the UK - it couldn't be made any more clear. Just a bunch of tools trying to make money.

The issue is Apple advertises it as "you need our applecare otherwise after 1 year you wont have any warranty". They could make it a bit more clear that it's on top of the EU warranty.

That being said, nobody really has a clue what the EU warranty covers and what it doesn't. The idiots in Brussels dont really care about actually following through with anything unless it makes them money.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 04:43 PM   #4
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That being said, nobody really has a clue what the EU warranty covers and what it doesn't. The idiots in Brussels dont really care about actually following through with anything unless it makes them money.
Those idiots of the European Union don't write laws. They write regulations and directives which union members should implement as they like (the directive is somewhat the minimum). It's because of Euro-Skeptical nations like the UK there are no such things as European laws concerning product warranties.

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The EU financial crisis has been brewing for decades due to business unfriendly legislation with fewer and fewer of the population paying for more and more of the populace. And no, I don't watch FOX news.
Yeah, it's just working out fine for you: Debt Clock.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 05:03 PM   #5
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Either way, in practice, most companies just give you a 2 year warranty no questions asked. Everything is covered except for intentional damage or things like dropping the product on the ground or into water.
Apple is just being a dick about the second year. Like they always do. Whether or not they are following the law doesn't really matter. What this is about is the "spirit of the law". Apple only follows the letter of the law. This seems to be somewhat a difference in mentality between Europe and the US. People in the US are more inclined to follow the letter of the law while in Europe we prefer to side with the spirit. (disclaimer: I can't prove this statement, but it's just a gut feeling).

I've never heard, or experienced, of a company asking you to prove that a defect was already present in the second year. They just replace it and follow the spirit of the law.
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 11:43 AM   #6
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The issue is Apple advertises it as "you need our applecare otherwise after 1 year you wont have any warranty". They could make it a bit more clear that it's on top of the EU warranty.
The issue is - speaking as a Belgian citizen - is that everything comes with a 2 year warranty (with some exceptions) That is how it is and it has been for more then 30 years.

1) When Apple products break in the second year they refuse to repair it under warranty. In the end getting stuff repaired mostly involves threatening with a lawsuit before Apple comply.

2) They tell people that if they want to have warranty in the second year, they need to buy Applecare. Which is false!

That is plain against local law. Easy as pie.

Quote:
The idiots in Brussels dont really care about actually following through with anything unless it makes them money.
Those idiots in Brussels don't have anything to do with Test Aankoop but then again you are from the UK. When it rains in London it is probably also because of Brussels.

BTW the EU directives is something that member countries should at minimum implement. The EU directive for the most part is what we had for some time now. As far as I know, the warranty laws in the Netherlands and even the UK are a lot stricter as there is a pseudo expectancy in how long an appliance should work. A 2000 euro costing laptop shouldn't break in the first or even second year.

Then again I'm a normal Apple user, for me it isn't a religion as such. And I have applecare btw just because I don't want to bicker with Apple when something goes wrong.
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 01:10 PM   #7
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This is probably because some incompetent people at Apple Inc. never took the question seriously. And now the market share for tablets is dominated by Android. After selling my Ipad 2, I am seriously considering a Galaxy Tab 2, because a) I will not have to replace my tablet if I use all the memory b) I won't have to use Itunes to copy my music and films...
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 02:36 PM   #8
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Is this real? Do shops require you to prove the cause of failure? Did you ever go to court when a product failed under warranty?

I'm 40 now, and never, ever, in my lifetime was I told to prove anything when a product failed under warranty. Just go to the shop with the product, tell them the product failed, show them the warranty sheet, and never had a question from them. They'd send it for repair (or tell me the closest service facility otherwise), and that's it, free repair, case closed. No questions, no court, no whatever. At least this has been the way of doing things for these 40 years, but I'm talking from personal experience, of course.
It happened to me many years ago. I bought a very expensive VCR from Dixons, which stopped working suddenly just over a year later. I took it to a local repair shop thinking it just needed a quick service and was told by it that there was some unusual soldering around the motor, which looked as if it had been done after the VCR had come off the production line. This botched post-production work had caused the motor to fail prematurely in the opinion of the repair shop and I was advised to go to Dixons as a repair would be costly.

I spoke with Dixons customer service based in Uxbridge at the time. I was told that Dixons would not repair the VCR under warranty as these were very "reliable" and the fault must be due to me. Almost in the same breath, the CS flunkey told me that Dixons would be prepared to repair it for a cost and that I was not to worry as the procedure would be a "usual repair" for this model of VCR. Clearly, Dixon's CS had never heard of the maxim "Liars should have good memories". Nonetheless, CS would not budge even when confronted with its duplicity and refused to refer me to management. I was told that if I was not satisfied I could take Dixons to court.

Unfortunately, both Jessops and HMV have gone into administration this week whilst DSG is still soiling the High Street with its presence.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 01:05 PM   #9
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Are European consumers generally uninformed misfits? I don't live in Europe and even I know about the 2 year warranty. Just another frivolous suit to line the pockets of lawyers.
Wether it's due to lack of knowledge, or something else, I've overheard several Apple store staff give away misleading information. Personally, I had a staff member and their manager (I requested confirmation) inform me that the UK Higher Education warranty scheme (which offers 3yr hardware warranty & 1yr telephone support free) doesn't exist. In fact, it does - you just have to order over the phone or online.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 01:09 PM   #10
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Wether it's due to lack of knowledge, or something else, I've overheard several Apple store staff give away misleading information. Personally, I had a staff member and their manager (I requested confirmation) inform me that the UK Higher Education warranty scheme (which offers 3yr hardware warranty & 1yr telephone support free) doesn't exist. In fact, it does - you just have to order over the phone or online.
I often experienced apple staff (including apple geniuses) misleading customers in their stores. I actually think this is good and customers should be made clear what they purchase before they purchase so they can perform an educated decision. I don't think businesses should exploit the naivety of their customers.
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 07:31 PM   #11
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I often experienced apple staff (including apple geniuses) misleading customers in their stores. I actually think this is good and customers should be made clear what they purchase before they purchase so they can perform an educated decision. I don't think businesses should exploit the naivety of their customers.
yeah totally

In Cardiff, UK Apple store one of the guys what ever they called, I call them seller, one day he just open GOOGLE and typing my questions to get the answer. But, I didn't ask anything Android related, just asked him some obvious question about macs (to be hones, sometimes I go and just ask them random questions).

yes, remember, I think they called a "Specialist"
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 08:19 PM   #12
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On a different (but related) note, Switzerland is another country has just extended defects liability period from one to two years as well. This was not mandated by EU directive sureley somewhat politically "inspired" by it.

However, Apple still makes a difference:

http://www.apple.com/chde/legal/statutory-warranty/

The situation is a mess - and a highly publicized one at that, with mass media prominently denouncing these differentiation as "scam". They are have specifically been targeting Apple and Apple resellers to make an example. Of course, anything Apple doesn't just make good headlines - their "premium" image also lends itself well to the topic at hand. Anyway, even the more obstinate electronics resellers have introduced two year-warranty periods as a reaction, effectively ending the differentiation between "warranty required by law" and their own, according to sales terms.

We all know that Apple likes their products and associated warranties uniform across the globe. And their decision-making is heavily US-centric. But frankly, with pretty much any country in Europe now requiring two years in consumer protection laws, I think they should come forward an extend their standard warranty to (these same) two years in Europe. Of course, that would make current AppleCare somewhat pointless, at least at current prices. But right now, it's just too much of a mess:

- One year manufacturer's warranty (worldwide, from Apple)
- Two years warranty by many resellers (which, granted, many other European resellers don't). Though Apple Stores as sellers are notable exceptions from that.
- Two years defects liability required by Law
- Three years manufacturer's warranty by purchasing AppleCare

Do I like explaining these fine differences to customers? No, I certainly don't. It just makes their products look bad.

Last edited by AppliedMicro; Jan 16, 2013 at 08:26 PM.
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 07:55 AM   #13
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yeah totally

In Cardiff, UK Apple store one of the guys what ever they called, I call them seller, one day he just open GOOGLE and typing my questions to get the answer. But, I didn't ask anything Android related, just asked him some obvious question about macs (to be hones, sometimes I go and just ask them random questions).

yes, remember, I think they called a "Specialist"
Yeah right specialists.

Last time I was at the apple store the so called "specialist" told a woman who wanted to upgrade to ML from SL, that she had to purchase Lion first and could not upgrade directly to ML. I also experienced other mis-guidance resulting customers having to spend more money than necessary.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 01:09 PM   #14
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next stop, Greece

they insist of having a 1-year warranty in Greece while EU demands a 2-year stretch.

yes, Greece is still in the EU. For now.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 01:14 PM   #15
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Oh goodness, how dare apple not tell customers about the 2-year warranty which only covers *ORIGINAL* defects. Therefore covering nothing.

After the first year of AppleCare, Apple has no obligation to service a machine. (unless the customer can prove that the computer shipped with said defect)

Apple also has no customer service obligation to supporting machines for customers who do not pay for the support

EDIT: in response to Radio:

several reasons:

1. Somebody has to pay for everything. The 'people' never get anything for free

2. If apple is forced to go beyond the EU regulation for customers, it devalues the AppleCare others purchased

3. Haven't europeans figured out what happens when they try to give everyone everything? They wind up like Greece. Somebody pays for everything. Whether they agree to it or not
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 01:25 PM   #16
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[...] how dare apple not tell customers about the 2-year warranty which only covers *ORIGINAL* defects. Therefore covering nothing.
This 2-year warranty is the same as AppleCare's, because if a product fails in the second year and the failure cannot be proven to be caused by wrong use of the product, it's assumed to be caused by original defects.

The same applies to AppleCare: If I drop my iPhone and the display glass breaks, AppleCare won't cover it. Just like the European 2-year warranty.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 01:37 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by bassfingers View Post
Oh goodness, how dare apple not tell customers about the 2-year warranty which only covers *ORIGINAL* defects. Therefore covering nothing.

After the first year of AppleCare, Apple has no obligation to service a machine. (unless the customer can prove that the computer shipped with said defect)

Apple also has no customer service obligation to supporting machines for customers who do not pay for the support
This is not correct. What constitutes a covered repair under AppleCare is the same in year two and three as in year one. What's not covered is physical abuse/accidental damage (meaning you broke it rather than it just broke) and consumables such as batteries losing performance at a normal rate over time. If a hard drive fails in the third year and you didn't cause it by abuse, it'll be covered. AppleCare also includes phone support 12 hours a day and 7 days a week for all three years.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 02:03 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by bassfingers View Post
Oh goodness, how dare apple not tell customers about the 2-year warranty which only covers *ORIGINAL* defects. Therefore covering nothing. After the first year of AppleCare, Apple has no obligation to service a machine. (unless the customer can prove that the computer shipped with said defect) Apple also has no customer service obligation to supporting machines for customers who do not pay for the support.....
The respective warranties of the US and Europe are apparently distinct in what's covered.
APPLE should do the right thing and clearly and unambiguously explain this to their European customers, and adjust their European warranty coverages accordingly.

Failing this, sooner or later we can look forward to more countries joining the bandwagon, and charging APPLE with unfair APPLECARE policies.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 02:11 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by bassfingers View Post
Oh goodness, how dare apple not tell customers about the 2-year warranty which only covers *ORIGINAL* defects. Therefore covering nothing.

After the first year of AppleCare, Apple has no obligation to service a machine. (unless the customer can prove that the computer shipped with said defect)

Apple also has no customer service obligation to supporting machines for customers who do not pay for the support

EDIT: in response to Radio:

several reasons:

1. Somebody has to pay for everything. The 'people' never get anything for free

2. If apple is forced to go beyond the EU regulation for customers, it devalues the AppleCare others purchased

3. Haven't europeans figured out what happens when they try to give everyone everything? They wind up like Greece. Somebody pays for everything. Whether they agree to it or not
Problem is, Apples Warranties are the among the shortest around while their profit margin is the highest. So it sound like you are already paying for something that you are not getting.

Longer warranties also make it in the interest of manufacturers to make their products to a higher quality so they don't have failures.

In New Zealand we have "The Consumer Guarantees Act" which has all sorts of implications, one is it must be "durable", i.e. have a reasonable expectation of life, for computers this can be up to 5 years. I had a new motherboard fitted in a MacBook that was 2 1/2 years old for free under a claim. Retailers still try and sell extended warranties here, and some will even blatantly lie and tell you the CGA is the same as the warranty.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 05:33 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by bassfingers View Post
Oh goodness, how dare apple not tell customers about the 2-year warranty which only covers *ORIGINAL* defects. Therefore covering nothing.

[...]

3. Haven't europeans figured out what happens when they try to give everyone everything? They wind up like Greece. Somebody pays for everything. Whether they agree to it or not
Your last point first: Works fine in Norway, and Norway's not exactly bankrupt...

In Norway the laws say that if you can expect a product to last more than 3 years, then they are covered for 5 (yes, five) years. This of course does not apply to batteries, which are expected to deteriorate. But say a Macbook from 2009 fails to start up tomorrow (and it hasn't been subject to more than normal wear and tear), I could bring that in and then the law says that Apple can choose to either: Repair, upgrade or give me my money back.

Of course, most people don't, as they want new stuff every year. Still, a court order last year decided that mobile phones are covered by 5 year warranty. And you can claim that prices go up because of that. But I'd rather hope that quality goes up...

On top of all this, I've heard very misleading nonsense from Apple store employees about Applecare. But of course it has its place as it covers much more than just normal wear and tear.
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 02:50 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by bassfingers View Post
Oh goodness, how dare apple not tell customers about the 2-year warranty which only covers *ORIGINAL* defects. Therefore covering nothing.

After the first year of AppleCare, Apple has no obligation to service a machine. (unless the customer can prove that the computer shipped with said defect)

Apple also has no customer service obligation to supporting machines for customers who do not pay for the support

EDIT: in response to Radio:

several reasons:

1. Somebody has to pay for everything. The 'people' never get anything for free

2. If apple is forced to go beyond the EU regulation for customers, it devalues the AppleCare others purchased

3. Haven't europeans figured out what happens when they try to give everyone everything? They wind up like Greece. Somebody pays for everything. Whether they agree to it or not
I have often overheard Apple store employees and 3rd party resellers push the AppleCare (the ´+´which covers accidental damage is not available in regions I frequent). It's clear that this is a major profit centre for them, and previous Apple retail employees have stated that management looks favourably upon those that manage to sell this to customers.

Although there are plenty of stupid laws, and I tend towards libertarianism,

1. Yes. The EU regulation is meant to protect consumers by forcing companies to honour good engineering practices and not produce crap. Similar to laws regarding food. Else producers would quite happily mix animal dung into your food supply if they have a chance to get away with it.

2. Apple has been proven to mislead customers by implying that they have less rights than they are entitled to, and by trying to sell an extra warranty which covers *little* extra. Lying to customers is typically frowned upon by the legal authorities.

3. Agree. Everyone has to pay, back to point 1. the regulations are to prevent the Corporatocracy that is increasingly onerous. Look at the crap being sold as "food" on the shelves of a typical Walmart. Look at the fines levied against single moms that download a CD from internet (here the lobby groups have won, for now). Look at the Ford Pinto.
Companies already have departments that purposefully design-down equipment to ensure that it just barely meets the 1-2 year warranties (c.f. lightbulb industry, printer industry, washing machine industry). How ****** sick is that?

Yes, regulations are needed, and yes it costs money for companies to implement those regulations, because I don't think it's a smart idea to live in a world where everything is traced back to money, where shorting is legal and where there is no regulation.

Race to the bottom.
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 07:50 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by bassfingers View Post
Oh goodness, how dare apple not tell customers about the 2-year warranty which only covers *ORIGINAL* defects. Therefore covering nothing.

After the first year of AppleCare, Apple has no obligation to service a machine. (unless the customer can prove that the computer shipped with said defect)

Apple also has no customer service obligation to supporting machines for customers who do not pay for the support

EDIT: in response to Radio:

several reasons:

1. Somebody has to pay for everything. The 'people' never get anything for free

2. If apple is forced to go beyond the EU regulation for customers, it devalues the AppleCare others purchased

3. Haven't europeans figured out what happens when they try to give everyone everything? They wind up like Greece. Somebody pays for everything. Whether they agree to it or not
WiFi on my iPad 2 died about 2 weeks ago. It's in its 17th month since purchase. Service center already acknowledged it and it's sending me a replacement unit.
So stop talking out of the sky.
Of course it works.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 01:18 PM   #23
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next stop, Greece

they insist of having a 1-year warranty in Greece while EU demands a 2-year stretch.

yes, Greece is still in the EU. For now.
Primacy of EU law applies. 2 year warranty in Greece.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 02:18 PM   #24
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Primacy of EU law applies. 2 year warranty in Greece.
Primacy of everybody else's interest over my own in this country...
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 02:32 PM   #25
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Primacy of EU law applies. 2 year warranty in Greece.
A couple of things come to mind:

1. I often see Europeans complaining that they pay higher prices than we in the USA do. Based on this law, they should be paying more.

2. If it's an EU-wide law, than they should be sued on an EU-wide basis, rather than having to go through a bunch of repetitive lawsuits by various governments on a case-by-case basis. This system seems quite disfunctional.
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