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?