/ 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 bought a late 2008 MacBook Pro, before the first year was out I had 2 super drives and motherboard replaced. I took out extended warranty before the first year was out (which you can do as you don’t have to buy at time of purchase).

Subsequently during the extended warranty period I had a set of fans, another motherboard, 2 more super drives, the charger and a battery fail.

The total cost of the repairs were in excess of the original purchase price – I got a good deal IMHO.

ChrisW says:
31 January 2012

Wow… I had similar problems with an HP laptop. I had the extended warranty for it, but by the third time it went out I put it in File#13 and solely went with a desktop.

You cannot say that an extended warranty is worth it when your hardware craps out like that, because the purpose of buying extended warranty is solely to NEVER use it… or at least hope so.

Ramas says:
7 July 2012

Doesn’t sound like you got a good deal.

First of all the laptop had an inter alia of faults from the motherboard to the battery. I wouldn’t want a faulty laptop.

Second of all you would have been covered any way by the Sales of Goods act 1979 for 6 years.
If I was you I would have asked for a refund or replacement. The warranty was unnecessary.

You actually got ripped off.


@Ramas – the sale of goods act gives you 6 months cover where the supplier has to prove the fault was NOT present at the time of manufacture, thereafter you have to prove it.

The law has now changed since I purchased in the EU everyone now has 2 years warranty.

BTW I don’t feel I have been ripped off considering the workload I place on this machine, for the first 3 years of its life I used it for 15 hours a day 7 days a week.


If you are not technical & not used to the equipment you are treated by Apple Care often out sourced as if they will give you no help unless paid a fortune . Often they fail to sort out. What I have found though that is excellent is the store service technical & educational is often free but you have to get the equipment to them , which if you have disabilities can be an effort.

Eileen says:
20 May 2012

Don’t agree .i paid about £70 when I bought my apple I Mac for one to one as teaching at their Apple store at Lakeside in Essex .I only used It twice in the whole year as I had a accident and broke my arm and was off work for almost 6 months .Than my brother had uncurable leukemia and I had to fly abroad to see him in his final days.And to top it off my husband has stage 3 heart failure.Hence I could not attend to any more one to one sessions.I spoke to manager X at Apple Lakeside store for extension.Can you believe it she only extended it for 1 month.How heartless is that.I even told her I can show her all the hospital letters. I cannot cram 1 years one to one in 1 month.She said I wlill need to pay the extra £74 if I needed more time.Perhaps I got a bad apple.Just my luck.I am so so disappointed with APPLE LAKESIDE.


In the last 20 years I have bought nearly 20 Apple laptops and desktop computers for work and home use and most of them have been heavily used. I have sometimes purchased AppleCare warranties (mainly on the work computers) but I cannot remember ever having to make a call outside of the 90 days telephone support included with all new machines. AppleCare has been a waste of money for me, but I do know others who have found it useful and have avoided expensive repair costs.

David has had far more problems with his one computer than I’ve had with mine in 20 years.

Apple should include a 3 year warranty as standard with all computers. If the quality is as good as I have experienced and they don’t misuse then it should not cost them much. Unfortunately I know several people who have had misused laptops replaced free of charge by Apple, which has to be paid for by customers who take more care.


I think its fair to say that my machine was one of the first unibody machines and so …


I think you are right, and buying brand new models of any computer is risky.

I have had to pension off a unibody machine because the hinge broke. The computer still works perfectly but if I continue to use it the fragile screen connections would break. Repair would cost over £400 (to replace the case lid plus display) and I doubt that it would have been covered by an AppleCare warranty. So much for unibody machines being tough! I am being very careful with my new replacement MacBook Pro. I’m annoyed about this, but it’s the first major problem I have had with Apple equipment.