In March, Apple was defeated in Italian courts for violating a European law that states that companies should offer a free two-year warranty for faulty products. Apple was fined €900,000 ($1.2 million) for only offering a one-year warranty and selling a two-to-three year warranty to customers. Consumer groups in Germany, The Netherlands, and Spain also asked regulators to get Apple to change its warranty offering.
Before the ruling, Apple offered a one-year warranty for free, but customers were invited to pay for AppleCare for protection in the second and third year. The company attracted criticism for making customers pay for AppleCare when the two-year warranty required by law in Europe should have covered them. In fact, it did cover them, if they chose to pursue it. Apple was found guilty of misleading customers by suggesting selling a three-year protection plan on a product that is technically for two years.
Apple has now posted an explanation in the legal section of its website. The company says: “When you purchase Apple products, European Union consumer law provides statutory warranty rights in addition to the coverage you receive from the Apple One-Year Limited Warranty and the optional AppleCare Protection Plan. Non-Apple-branded products purchased from Apple are also eligible for coverage under EU consumer law.”
The company goes on to summarize the differences between the EU Statutory Warranty, the Apple One-Year Limited Warranty, and the AppleCare Protection Plan. The distinctions here are attracting yet more criticism.
Under EU law, Apple now offers to repair or replace a product within two years if “defects present when customer takes delivery.”
Under the company’s own one-year limited warranty, Apple will repair or replace a product if “defects arising after customer takes delivery.” This is available for one year from the date of purchase.
And under the AppleCare Protection Plan, Apple will repair or replace a product if “defects arising after customer takes delivery.” This is available within three years of delivery of a Mac or Apple display, or two years after delivery of an Apple TV, iPad, iPhone or iPod.
It is the distinction between when and after that is causing concern, with many pointing to the fact that many issues arise some time after delivery but are not caused by the user.