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Old Mar 4, 2014, 10:04 AM   #1
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Belgian Judge May Block Apple Websites Over 'Misleading' Warranty Information




A Brussels judge may block access to all Apple websites in response to a complaint filed by Federal Public Service (FPS) Economy, reports Belgian newspapers (Via Tech.eu). Apple is accused of misleading consumers about warranty protections available for products purchased from Apple's retail and online stores.

The complaint, filed last year, claims Apple advertises its one-year warranty and extended AppleCare warranty, but does not inform consumers of their right to a two-year statutory warranty under EU law. In response to this claim, Apple painstakingly outlined the differences between the company's standard one-year warranty coverage, its AppleCare extended protection plan and the EU's two-year warranty, but the website comparison was not sufficient for the Belgian regulatory group.

The Brussels investigative judge can order Belgium ISPs to blacklist Apple's website as Belgian law allows for the regulation of electronic services in cases where consumer protection rights are being violated. Though he has the power to block Apple, the judge is unsure how to proceed as blocking Apple's website also interferes with critical iOS and OS X services like iTunes and iCloud.

Consumer associations throughout Europe continue to be critical of Apple's warranty policy in its European stores. The company was fined $1.2 million in Italy over the issue and has faced lawsuits in Germany, Luxembourg, and Portugal.

Article Link: Belgian Judge May Block Apple Websites Over 'Misleading' Warranty Information
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Old Mar 4, 2014, 10:07 AM   #2
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The web site comparison looks pretty clear to me.
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Old Mar 4, 2014, 10:10 AM   #3
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Well, since everyone in the EU loves their consumer protections so much, why not just build a 3-year warrantee into all Apple products sold there, and raise the base price to reflect that.

There is no free lunch.
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Old Mar 4, 2014, 10:11 AM   #4
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If I were a slightly more suspicious person, I might start to think there was a vendetta against Apple in Europe.

(Disclosure: I live in the UK)
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Old Mar 4, 2014, 10:13 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by cogitodexter View Post
If I were a slightly more suspicious person, I might start to think there was a vendetta against Apple in Europe.

(Disclosure: I live in the UK)
I think if there is a vendetta, it would be all things from the USA. I am not saying there is, just that in general there is a distrust of the USA in Europe and it is not isolated to a single company.
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Old Mar 4, 2014, 10:17 AM   #6
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that's kinda extreme, isn't it?
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Old Mar 4, 2014, 10:18 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by rmatthewware View Post
Well, since everyone in the EU loves their consumer protections so much, why not just build a 3-year warrantee into all Apple products sold there, and raise the base price to reflect that.

There is no free lunch.
This is already built into the base price which is one of the reasons why we pay quite a lot more than in the US for Apple products. The whole thing is ridiculous anyway as it is perfectly clear on the website what consumers are entitled to in each country.
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Old Mar 4, 2014, 10:22 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by everything-i View Post
This is already built into the base price which is one of the reasons why we pay quite a lot more than in the US for Apple products. The whole thing is ridiculous anyway as it is perfectly clear on the website what consumers are entitled to in each country.
I'd recommend that they should add: xxxx statutory warranty for products purchased from Apple, whether manufactured by Apple or by someone else. xxxx manufacturer's warranty for products made by Apple, no matter where they are purchased.

And a footnote: For items purchased from Apple but not made by Apple, check with the manufacturer for manufacturer's warranty terms. For Apple products purchased not from Apple, you have the same statutory rights against the seller.
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Old Mar 4, 2014, 10:23 AM   #9
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If it was a new law, ok. But Samsung, Acer, HP, Sony, Philips, ... all they give minimum 2 years warranty for years. On all consumer electronics.
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Old Mar 4, 2014, 10:27 AM   #10
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Looks clear to me. Does the Belgian regulatory group suffer from a lack of reading comprehension or are they trying too hard to be more nanny?
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Old Mar 4, 2014, 10:32 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by rmatthewware View Post
Well, since everyone in the EU loves their consumer protections so much, why not just build a 3-year warrantee into all Apple products sold there, and raise the base price to reflect that.

There is no free lunch.
There's a problem: If I buy an Apple product let's say at PCWorld, PCWorld makes money from it, but also has responsibilities. After 12 months I have to go to PCWorld with problems, so the cost involved is with PCWorld. If the warranty was longer, I'd never go with problems to PCWorld, but would always go to Apple, so the whole cost goes to Apple. Accordingly, Apple will not want PCWorld to have as much margin as they have now.

Now I have read of cases where phone shops sent customers with problems to Apple after 13 months, and lied to their own customers about who should help them. And lied further when the Apple genius looked at the product and, as an expert, told the customer that the item should be fixed under statutory rights, but by the store that sold it, not by Apple.

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Originally Posted by porky View Post
If it was a new law, ok. But Samsung, Acer, HP, Sony, Philips, ... all they give minimum 2 years warranty for years. On all consumer electronics.
On some items. Samsung: Batteries = 6 months. MP3, TV etc. 12 months. Some items 24 months. But that has nothing to do with any law!

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Originally Posted by everything-i View Post
This is already built into the base price which is one of the reasons why we pay quite a lot more than in the US for Apple products. The whole thing is ridiculous anyway as it is perfectly clear on the website what consumers are entitled to in each country.
Most of it is 20% VAT, and probably a much smaller amount for statutory rights.
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Old Mar 4, 2014, 10:34 AM   #12
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To me this falls into the "get a life people". If a consumer/regulatory body is that worried about the EU 2 year warranty, then the EU regulatory body should tell companies exactly what they need to display instead of letting a business "guess" how detailed they need to be and then pull this crap.

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Old Mar 4, 2014, 10:37 AM   #13
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I live in Belgium and while blocking Apple websites is a bit extreme, there's still an issue: products purchased on the Apple website still have a 1 year warranty for any support. This can be checked by entering the serial number in their support site.

I don't know if an authorized repair shop would repair devices after the 1 year but before the 2 year mark for free. Some years ago, they refused. Which is not according to the law.

By the way: they could simply block the online store and keep the other apple sites online.
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Old Mar 4, 2014, 10:39 AM   #14
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I do not understand why there is a statutorily mandated warranty period, and especially one that is 2 years long. I understand statutory default warranties, but I cannot see why a seller would not be able to expressly waive that statutory period as long as it is clear to the consumer. Most products in the United States are under warranty because competition incentivizes suppliers to provide a warranty, not because the government mandates it.

Last edited by dustinsc; Mar 4, 2014 at 10:45 AM.
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Old Mar 4, 2014, 10:39 AM   #15
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The webpage seems pretty clear to me.
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Old Mar 4, 2014, 10:57 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by roadbloc View Post
The webpage seems pretty clear to me.
That webpage is not from the Belgian apple site, but from the UK or european version.
The belgian pages are only in dutch or french, and as far as i can see, only mention the 1 year apple warranty.
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Old Mar 4, 2014, 11:04 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by voyager77 View Post
That webpage is not from the Belgian apple site, but from the UK or european version.
The belgian pages are only in dutch or french, and as far as i can see, only mention the 1 year apple warranty.
The OP is misleading then.
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Old Mar 4, 2014, 11:08 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by voyager77 View Post
That webpage is not from the Belgian apple site, but from the UK or european version.
The belgian pages are only in dutch or french, and as far as i can see, only mention the 1 year apple warranty.
Aha... I see. Misleading website and a misleading article.
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Old Mar 4, 2014, 11:22 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by hagar View Post
I live in Belgium and while blocking Apple websites is a bit extreme, there's still an issue: products purchased on the Apple website still have a 1 year warranty for any support. This can be checked by entering the serial number in their support site.

I don't know if an authorized repair shop would repair devices after the 1 year but before the 2 year mark for free. Some years ago, they refused. Which is not according to the law.

By the way: they could simply block the online store and keep the other apple sites online.
In that case, the issue would be with the store and not Apple. The regulators beef would be with stores not following the law or making it clear to consumers what their rights are, not Apple. It's not unreasonable to expect Apple to point out that consumers have rights beyond the 1 year Apple warranty but all claims must be taken up with the selling store, not Apple; and items imported from abroad may not qualify for the further protections.
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Old Mar 4, 2014, 11:24 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by dustinsc View Post
I do not understand why there is a statutorily mandated warranty period, and especially one that is 2 years long. I understand statutory default warranties, but I cannot see why a seller would not be able to expressly waive that statutory period as long as it is clear to the consumer. Most products in the United States are under warranty because competition incentivizes suppliers to provide a warranty, not because the government mandates it.
Most people I know (UK) expect a warranty, and for the sort of items Apple sell they expect it to be a decent length. It's not just about the governments decisions on what is right and wrong, it's about what people want. It doesn't make us right and you wrong, it just makes us different. I suppose we can all get a superior feeling by sitting here and reading about the stupid brain-washed yanks bowing to consumerism, or the Whingeing Europeans wanting everything for nothing, but it makes no real difference, we're just different and find it hard to see each others viewpoint.

From my whingeing European perspective, how do people justify Apple putting their prices up to cover a warranty, if they were legally selling in a certain country and meeting all local legislation, surely they are already charging for the cost of that warranty.
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Old Mar 4, 2014, 11:40 AM   #21
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The web site comparison looks pretty clear to me.
They want Apple to spell out in detail exactly what the protections are, country by country. And to require staff to explain said laws to every customer when they even think about buying something. This whole 'your country may have laws that give you other rights' isn't enough in their eyes.

They also don't want Apple mentioning Apple Care because they don't understand the difference. They think it's just the same as what their laws cover but it's not. They make this mistake because they are too lazy to look into it in detail, which is why they assume customers will be too lazy to look up their consumer laws and want Apple to spell it out.

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There's a problem: If I buy an Apple product let's say at PCWorld, PCWorld makes money from it, but also has responsibilities. After 12 months I have to go to PCWorld with problems,
If you don't get Apple Care. But here is the catch. In most countries after six months it is on you to prove that the issue was there when you bought it to use those legal rights against the seller. Good luck if it was an item you never had a complaint about for a year.

With Apple Care it doesn't matter when the fault happened only how (ie damaged or not damaged by user). They don't care if you bought it at PC World or their store.

So take something like the microphone. At 14 months it stops working. PC World would laugh at me. I had the phone for 14 months and didn't come in to complain about my non working microphone. So clearly it was working they would say and do nothing. And legally can do nothing almost everywhere (only like Poland and the Czech Repub have no proof required laws).

I go to Apple with my Apple Care and I'm out with a new phone, new microphone or whatever is needed.
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Old Mar 4, 2014, 12:07 PM   #22
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So take something like the microphone. At 14 months it stops working. PC World would laugh at me. I had the phone for 14 months and didn't come in to complain about my non working microphone. So clearly it was working they would say and do nothing. And legally can do nothing almost everywhere (only like Poland and the Czech Repub have no proof required laws).
Well, they are (most likely deliberately) misunderstanding something. The fault is not "microphone doesn't work". The fault is "microphone was built with a fault which meant it didn't last the five years it should last, but broke after 14 months". And _that_ fault was present from day one, you just didn't notice it for fourteen months. For proof, you can actually make an appointment with Apple and they can look at it and give you their expert opinion. Since they are not happy if PC World treats people with Apple hardware badly, they are very unlikely to stonewall you.

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Originally Posted by voyager77 View Post
That webpage is not from the Belgian apple site, but from the UK or european version.
The belgian pages are only in dutch or french, and as far as i can see, only mention the 1 year apple warranty.
It's harder to find (Netherlands is fine). Still, there is a link to a page that starts with

Alle producten gekocht van Apple, inclusief niet-Apple producten, vallen onder de wettelijke garantie van 2 jaar van de verkoper tot levering van een goed dat met de overeenkomst in overeenstemming is, bepaald bij de artikelen 1649bis tot 1649octies van het Burgerlijk Wetboek, en de wettelijke waarborg voor verborgen gebreken, bepaald bij de artikelen 1641 tot 1649 van het Burgerlijk Wetboek.

"All products purchased from Apple, including non-Apple products, fall under the (xxx) warranty of two years by the seller that delivery of a good is in agreement with the purchase agreement... " or something like that.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dustinsc View Post
I do not understand why there is a statutorily mandated warranty period, and especially one that is 2 years long. I understand statutory default warranties, but I cannot see why a seller would not be able to expressly waive that statutory period as long as it is clear to the consumer. Most products in the United States are under warranty because competition incentivizes suppliers to provide a warranty, not because the government mandates it.
Because it is unfair to consumers. Because it discourages consumers from purchasing in the first place if they have to fear that warranty was removed without them noticing. Because it encourages sellers to use any tricks they can to hide such a waiver, which means honest sellers are at a disadvantage. It's much better for everyone, including honest businesses, if everyone has to play by the same and open rules. It may be worse for dishonest business, but I don't care about them.

You see, if I go into a store I know what I'm getting. I don't have to watch out for hidden signs that reduce my rights. I go just by the quality and the price of the product, which should be the essential things. I don't have to calculate "how much cheaper should this Mac be at a shop that gives 90 days warranty, compared to a shop that gives 3 years warranty".
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Old Mar 4, 2014, 12:07 PM   #23
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Apple has a bad track record of misleading the consumers when it comes to warranty information in the EU and this is not the first complaint related to that topic.

Fact is that they only improved the clarity of the customer's warranty options when under legal threat. Blocking their web page might sound extreme, but this case is far from being new.

My personal opinion on Apple's warranty options is that given their premium price and their claimed product quality it's difficult for me to understand why I had to pay extra to get what I get for free (or much less) with other products.

For example all my IBM (now Lenovo) Thinkpad notebooks came with the standard EU warranty and had the option (opt in) for next-business-day on-site support for about EUR 150,- (over three years). That's much better value and less costly than the Apple Care Protection Plan for a comparable notebook.
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Old Mar 4, 2014, 12:11 PM   #24
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[/COLOR]

It's harder to find (Netherlands is fine). Still, there is a link to a page that starts with

Alle producten gekocht van Apple, inclusief niet-Apple producten, vallen onder de wettelijke garantie van 2 jaar van de verkoper tot levering van een goed dat met de overeenkomst in overeenstemming is, bepaald bij de artikelen 1649bis tot 1649octies van het Burgerlijk Wetboek, en de wettelijke waarborg voor verborgen gebreken, bepaald bij de artikelen 1641 tot 1649 van het Burgerlijk Wetboek.

"All products purchased from Apple, including non-Apple products, fall under the (xxx) warranty of two years by the seller that delivery of a good is in agreement with the purchase agreement... " or something like that.[COLOR="#808080"]


I managed to find that one to, but strangely enough, if you look for warranty from a different direction, you get this:

"Hardwaregarantie
Apple's Eenjarige Beperkte Garantie - (BELGI╦)
Alleen voor producten van het Apple-merk"

http://www.apple.com/legal/warranty/...-dutch-be.html

Stating only one year warranty
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Old Mar 4, 2014, 12:25 PM   #25
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Reads like by EU Law Apple must provide at least 2 years of warranty support.

So why does Apple even point out 1 year?
(It seems Apple would do better if they offer 2 years there anyway)
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