EU to probe Apple over ambiguous warranty advertising

Bloomberg reports today that EU Justice Minister Viviane Reding is calling for local authorities in the European Union’s member states to see whether Apple complies with local laws pertaining to product warranties. If they determine that Apple did not advertise its warranty policies appropriately, the company could face an EU-wide probe into its practices by all 27 of the European Union’s member states.

Apple already clashed with Italy, where authorities found it guilty of selling its $99 a year AppleCare coverage even though a two-year warranty is mandated by the European Union, for which Apple was fined $1.16 million and even faced temporary closure of Italy operations…

Bloomberg reports that EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding wrote the following in her letter to member countries:

Apple prominently advertised that its products come with a one-year manufacturer warranty but failed to clearly indicate the consumers’ automatic and free-of-cost entitlement to a minimum two-year guarantee under EU law. These are unacceptable marketing practices.

Apple’s EU statutory warranty page cites EU consumer law which covers defects in the product at the time of delivery, while Apple’s one-year limited warranty and the extended warranty AppleCare protection plan (purchased separately) cover defects arising after the buyer gets the device.

Apple’s products sold in the European Union have a one-year manufacturer warranty and Italy previously forced Cupertino to communicate the fact via stickers on packaging.

Wow, I must say I’m stunned.

I’m based out in Europe and having the EU Justice Commissioner write a letter specifically addressing this issue and specifically mentioning Apple by name definitely puts Apple on the defensive.

I also think that EU is right.

Apple deserves to be investigated because, based on my personal experience and stories I’ve heard from friends in other European countries, Apple indeed isn’t terribly focused on communicating its warranty policies to buyers with clear, unambiguous messages.

Is your experience with Apple concerning warranty different than mine?