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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, 01:05 PM   #4
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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   #5
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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 15, 2013, 01:09 PM   #6
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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, 01:11 PM   #7
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Interesting how people here back up the big corporation (apple) over the people

Oh wait this is macrumours
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 01:14 PM   #8
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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, 01:18 PM   #9
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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, 01:20 PM   #10
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No matter how much I love Apple products, I don't understand why we're forced to accept the AppStore policies if we use the AppStore, but however Apple isn't forced to adhere to law in every country they operate.

I think this shouldn't be a matter of consumer groups claims, but simply that if you bought an Apple product in Europe and it fails during the second year, you should go to Apple and ask for the (mandatory by law) 2-year warranty. If they don't accept, then sue them.

I don't understand why selling on a country doesn't imply you accept that country law, while using the AppStore implies you accept the AppStore policies. Just absurd.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 01:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inlinevolvo View Post
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.
Well, the people who frequent a tech site like Macrumors would probably be more au fait on device warranties than the general public; particularly since Macrumors have run several stories on the issue over the last few months.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 01:22 PM   #12
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 01:25 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by bassfingers View Post
[...] 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, 01:27 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Radio View Post
Interesting how people here back up the big corporation (apple) over the people

Oh wait this is macrumours
None of the reactions before yours are backing up Apple?
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 01:29 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by asiga View Post
No matter how much I love Apple products, I don't understand why we're forced to accept the AppStore policies if we use the AppStore, but however Apple isn't forced to adhere to law in every country they operate.

I think this shouldn't be a matter of consumer groups claims, but simply that if you bought an Apple product in Europe and it fails during the second year, you should go to Apple and ask for the (mandatory by law) 2-year warranty. If they don't accept, then sue them.

I don't understand why selling on a country doesn't imply you accept that country law, while using the AppStore implies you accept the AppStore policies. Just absurd.
I think the EU ruling is actually screwing the customer.

The problem is that the 2years only covers original defects not things that break. If you have a nervous tick, and press the home button a bazillion times, thats not covered. Break the screen, NOPE! Thats probably normal wear and tear and you being a spaz.

Apple care covers the normal wear and tear. I have had Apple replace a phone that stopped where the home button randomly stopped working without any questions because it was under applecare.

Now Apple can tell those in the EU to go to hell. I'm not saying they will, but I think AC gives you a bit more options.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 01:37 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Windlasher View Post
[...]
The problem is that the 2years only covers original defects not things that break. [...]
Yes, the 2years warranty covers things that break, except if you're talking about wear.

For example, if a laptop battery loses a fraction of its capacity during these two years, it's considered normal wear.

But if the battery dies and needs replacement, it's not a cause of wear, because batteries are expected to last more than two years. So this is covered by the 2year warranty.

But, yes, AppleCare sometimes covers slightly more, but just slightly more. For example, if my Macbook Air lost 10% of battery capacity on two years, AppleCare won't replace it.
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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, 01:51 PM   #18
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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.
I think he was referring to the difference between Apple's warranty, and the "protection" (I use the term loosely) provided by the EU.

Basically, under its warranty or AppleCare Plan, Apple will repair any defects that arise.

Under the EU consumer law, before 6 months, Apple is obligated to repair any defect. After 6 months, Apple is obligated to repair any defect that you can prove was there at the point of purchase (i.e. is an inherent fault). For the most part, this is incredibly difficult, and is such a long winded process it's not worth the effort.

I'm not quite sure how the EU/the lawyers can justify suing though. It's clearly on Apple's website, and as far as I know, there's no need to inform purchases of every one of their consumer rights at the point of purchase. Ignorance is no excuse.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 01:53 PM   #19
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Well, this is kinda of the same as driving over the speed limit. I might do it once in a while, but If I get caught, then I'll handle the consequences.

So, if any company is found to be non conforming to local law, then they should be sued and comply to the verdict.

That said, those being this might be money grabbing, but still, just comply with local law. If you don't, then learn to live with the consequences.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 01:59 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by inlinevolvo View Post
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.
Turning your point around a bit, I don't live in the US but I know that they have $2 notes ("bills") over there. Apparently a lot of Americans don't know that. Common knowledge may not always be as common as you think
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 02:02 PM   #21
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 02:03 PM   #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.....
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, 02:09 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Brian Y View Post
[...]
After 6 months, Apple is obligated to repair any defect that you can prove was there at the point of purchase (i.e. is an inherent fault). For the most part, this is incredibly difficult, and is such a long winded process it's not worth the effort.
I live in Europe, and if a component of a product fails during the first two years, and such failure cannot be explained by normal wear, it's covered by the 2year warranty.

If a battery fails, it's covered. If a display fails, it's covered, if anything that it's expected to last more than 2 years fails, it's covered.

You don't need to prove it was defective at purchase point, because if it lasts less than its expected lifetime, it's logical to imply that it was defective at purchase point.

I'm talking not as a lawyer (I'm not a lawyer), but as my experience as consumer.

Also, I must say I've used the 2year warranty very little times in my lifetime. I believe less than 5 times, because all products last more than two years before failure, at least from my experience.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 02:11 PM   #24
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This just screw it up for everyone.

After all this, Apple will put pressure on its employees to make sure that they only service their products to the extent of the law and no more as they are already loosing out.

I am sure prior there have been numerous cases where geniuses did more than needed.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 02:11 PM   #25
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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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