/ Technology

Do you really need Apple’s extended warranty?

Broken iPhone

An Italian watchdog has fined Apple €900,000 (£754,930) for allegedly pushing customers into buying its AppleCare technical support service. Have you ever bought an Apple warranty and found it to be unnecessary?

Italian laws require companies to offer a two-year warranty on products free of charge. The Italian anti-trust watchdog says Apple didn’t make this clear when selling its own AppleCare product.

The Italian Competition & Market Authority concluded that the information provided by Apple was organised in a way likely to lead consumers to believe that they were entitled only to Apple’s one-year commercial guarantee and related after-sales services.

It also said Apple didn’t adequately inform customers that they could already benefit from a two-year legal guarantee. The Authority found this to be a misleading and aggressive selling practice. In short, it seems, Italian customers paid for protection they didn’t need.

Do you need an extended warranty?

It’s easy to see how people are tempted to buy extended warranties, such as AppleCare. After all, when you’ve spent hundreds of pounds on a shiny new gadget, you want to protect it – I know I do. But you don’t need an extended warranty in order to do that.

In the UK you already have some protection under the Sale of Goods Act (SOGA). If the item you purchase is not of satisfactory quality, not fit for purpose or doesn’t match the pre-sale description the retailer is obliged to repair or replace that item for free during the expected lifetime of the product (up to a maximum of six years).

If the fault becomes apparent within the first few weeks after purchase, you can get a full refund. These rights don’t cover accidental damage, or damage caused by you – but surprisingly, extended warranties don’t always cover you for these either.

Is AppleCare worth paying for?

Apple isn’t alone in cashing in on extended warranties; as we’ve previously reported, the market in this country is worth £750 million, according to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

AppleCare costs £139 for an extra two-year’s protection for an iMac, £40 to cover an iPod touch or iPod classic, and £61 for the iPhone but is it worth it? We’ve looked at the Apple website and details of its extended warranty. Given you get technical assistance and support throughout the warranty period, the extended warranty clearly offers you more than your minimal legal rights.

But most Apple products would be expected to last at least two years, and the extended warranty does not cover accidental damage or wear and tear, so the question is, how much more does it offer? We doubt it’s as much as you think it is.

We’d like to hear from you about your experience with Apple. Did you buy AppleCare because you thought that without it, you’d have no comeback if your Apple product broke? When you’ve bought AppleCare in store, did the salesperson tell you about your Sale of Goods Act rights?

How do your experiences with Apple compare to other companies? Do you think the Italian decision is a bit harsh on Apple?


I’ve been told today at the Apple Store in Solihull that my MacBook Pro, purchased December 2010 that harddrive failure is not covered by SOGA. Is that correct?

Got it back and it won’t even start up.

You certainly cannot buy AppleCare now that the one year warranty has expired.

At this age you will probably be expected to provide evidence that the fault existed at the time of manufacture, which could be difficult and costly. Unless you bought the machine directly from Apple, you should try the retailer since negotiations should always be made with them. I have relationships who have had generous goodwill with Apple products.

It may be better to cut your losses and have the drive replaced.

The one thing I really want Which? to do is to push for the SOGA to be replaced, because although the consumer does have rights, it is far too difficult to take advantage of them.

Best of luck from another MBP user.

I suspect that it isn’t the HD that is faulty and it’s a problem with the graphics card. There is a lot of information online regarding a problem with my model and Apple have confirmed it. Getting the Apple Store to acknowledge this may be inpossible. As you say, proving a fault existed when purchasing is very difficult. Having said that I’ve now got a MBP that won’t even boot up after repair. I’d like to argue that 18 months doesn’t meet the ‘durability’ statement of the SOGA satisfactory quality criterion.

Gary says:
27 October 2012

I purchased an apple iPhone 4 in May 2011, this became faulty within the first year and apple replaced the iPhone for a reconditioned unit.

I’ve since noticed a fault with the vibration motor. I booked in with apple at solihull and have just returned home a very unhappy customer. I was advised that the phone was purchased in 2010 which is incorrect, I showed my receipt but was told “well your still past the years warranty, so that will be £120 to repair” I asked about the Sales of goods acts to which he replied. “This doesn’t count, you only have two options, Pay £120 or have a contacted with a network provider”

I then spent 30 minutes on the phone to the customer service department explaining the situation; the guy informed me that i would be transferred to a senior advisor. After a father wait I was given the same information and also told that he couldn’t help because it’s not a technical issue. What a waste of 2 hours.

Grace says:
29 April 2013

My iMac 27″ 3.4 GHz quad-core i7 was rendered useless at all due to a graphics card total failure last week, exactly 32 days after Apple’s 1-year warranty expired.

The Apple iMac is a high end very expensive product that should last a few years under normal usage and not 13 months! It is clear that the product I was sold was not of satisfactory quality to start with and therefore I have rights under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 that obliges Apple to repair my product or refund me proportionally if products fails way before what we could call a reasonable life-span.

I booked an appointment last Saturday 27th April 2013 and I was denied repair. They said I needed to pay for it. They also did not honour my rights under SOGA and said I could follow via legal department if I wanted but that that would be highly unsuccessful, because I need to show the problem was there at the time of delivery.

Now, the computer hasn’t been opened, tampered or misused and this can be certified by Apple anytime. If the graphic card was not of satisfactory quality due to failure after 13 months and it has been there since the iMac was delivered to me and the iMac has been updated via Apple’s App Store regularly, then the problem was there since the very beginning and it was a matter of time to have it shown up.

I can’t see how Apple can denied service in this case and stand above the law laughing at all of us who goes through this terrible issues. Is the SOGA a joke?

Is there any organism I can present my case so I could have my rights respected by Apple?

Thanks for any help.

London, UK

Two things;

You have two years warranty now in the EU.

Did you buy with a card? If so speak to them as they are jointly liable.

Tim Ashton says:
17 February 2014

I bought seven iPad 2’s for business use including buying Applecare warranties for each of them.

An employee reported his main menu button sticking from the initial issue time. I forgot about it and he delayed reminding of the problem until some six months later. We did an internal exchange and I returned the unit to Apple, arranging all that was easy. Apple then contacted me to say the warranty was void on the unit because the case damaged and to repair that they would charge some £175. Not happy I had the unit returned.
The mark the voided my warranty was precisely to a corner of the aluminium case (no screen damage) and using an engineers vernier calliper the ‘damage’ measured 4.38mm long x 2.35mm wide and of unmeasurable depth being as the mark was so light.The mark is typically what most people will pick up on the casing during normal use unless its wrapped in cotton wool!
I was so unhappy a moment on YouTube revealed ‘sticky’ menu buttons common, and a 15 second recalibration of the button fixed the problem.
Applecare….in short don’t do it!!!!

Angela Huntington says:
28 July 2014

I took out a 2 yr contract with vodafone about 18months ago. The power button on my iPhone 5 stopped working just after a year.
I thought that it only had 1 yr warranty but then was told it should be covered for 2 years.
So I looked on the Vodafone website and it says apple on give 1 yr????
Is this legal?????
What should I do?

In the EU you have 2 years see – http://www.apple.com/uk/legal/statutory-warranty/

Angela – Try letting the battery run down completely, then charge the phone and try the power button. Turning off power can work miracles with electronic gadgets.

Unless you have evidence that you have two years’ cover or have paid Apple for AppleCare then you must assume that the warranty has expired.

Your contract is with whichever company you bought the phone from – the retailer. The retailer could be Vodafone itself or from a company that sold the phone on the Vodafone network. You have rights under the Sale of Goods Act but the retailer is likely to deny this or say that you must contact Apple since the warranty has expired. That is not true and I suggest you print off something about the Sale of Goods Act to prove the point. Both Which? and Trading Standards have useful information on their websites. Be polite but positive. If you have no success, try again when a different store manager is on duty. Don’t hesitate to pick a busy time when there is the danger that new customers could be put off making purchases by overhearing that they can look forward to little support if they have a problem. The most you can expect is a free repair.

If you live near an Apple Centre you could call in and hope that you are one of the lucky ones who are given free repair/replacement outside warranty, even in cases of accidental damage. But Apple has absolutely no liability to help.

Best of luck.

Simon Brown says:
12 November 2014

I have a MacBook Pro that I purchased in July 2010, and which started to crash when plugged into a projector (this was around April 2013). I attributed this to an incompatibility issue at first, but subsequently experienced system crashes triggered by graphics-heavy apps like iPhoto and Spotify. I visited the Genius bar twice with the issue in the last 12 months, when they failed to resolve it, and have taken the laptop to a further two independent repair companies – the most recent of which has traced the problem to the Nvidia graphics card, and a manufacturing defect. On their website http://support.apple.com/en-gb/TS4088 Apple are evidently aware of the problem (why didn’t they write to me an recall the MacBook?) and appear to have ring-fenced their liability for repairing my laptop to within 3 years of the purchase, and indeed reiterated this policy on my visit to their store this morning (12/11/14). It has taken over a year for me to find out what the problem is, and the last 18 months of use have been miserable and frustrating. I’m hoping that the Sale and Supply of Goods Act is going to assist me in securing a repair or replacement.. Anyone know if I stand a chance?

“I’m hoping that the Sale and Supply of Goods Act is going to assist me in securing a repair or replacement.. Anyone know if I stand a chance?”

Not being on the legal side but based on the fact that Apple have acknowledged a manufacturing fault and that the Sale of Goods and Services act covers 6 years I would suggest that you have a fairly good chance.

Apple are a brilliant company i am extremely glad i purchased the extended warranty called apple care as thier customer service have helped me many times even replacing my mouse and keyboard free of charge sorting various problems out they are allways there and polite customer service they excell at they telephone you and they make you feel like your allways there number one concern apple care is worth every penny.

I have purchase mid 2010 mac book pro. I 2015 this graphics problem occur. I have purchase care plan. Apple did not response to me that there is a know problem. I find that because of the plan they should replace it also know. The problem was know already then.

Hi Pradiepkoemar – The graphics card problem affected later models than your computer. Full details are on the Apple website: https://www.apple.com/uk/support/macbookpro-videoissues/

in my opinion extend warranty is important part for every hardware. I understood it when my ups was broken. I spent a lot of money for repair. And they, just for fun, looked how much the extra warranty costs the price is not so high. Frankly speaking, it costs cheaper then my repairment. So my advice, buy it for sure!

Martin Watson says:
22 October 2016

In my personal experience, I cannot rate Applecare highly enough, they have been absolutely awesome in their support for my 4 years old Macbook Pro, always courteous, helpful, patient and informed, even after my extended warranty had expired. It is for that reason above all others that I would never go back to a MS PC.