Italy fines Apple over protection plans

Apple has said it will appeal €900,000 in fines imposed by Italy’s competition authority for allegedly selling consumers protection plans for its products without adequately informing them of a statutory two-year warranty.

The Antitrust Authority said Italy's consumer code gave buyers the right to two years of free care for their products, but three Apple divisions in Europe had been less than clear about this in information given in Apple stores in Italy and on its website.

Instead, Apple had emphasised its own one-year guarantee for its products and had been selling extended protection through its AppleCare Protection Plan to buyers, meaning the protection bought overlapped with the extra year provided by law.

“We believe our warranty policy in Italy complies with local requirements and respects consumer rights. We plan to appeal the decision,” said an Apple Europe spokesperson when reached for comment.

Apple Italy, Apple Italy Retail and Apple International Sales were fined €400,000 for failing to adequately inform consumers about the two-year guarantee and €500,000 for inducing them to sign up for overlapping protection plans as a result.

The authority said it had opted not to fine Apple the maximum €500,000 for the first offence as Apple had made changes to improve information for consumers during its investigation.

Apple Sales International has 90 days to change the terms of its AppleCare Protection Plan so that it recognises the existence of the two-year guarantee.

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