11 EU countries complain about Apple's advertising of warranties

Europe's consumer watchdog urges countries to look into Apple's advertising practices

By Jennifer Baker, IDG News Service |  IT Management

Europe's top consumer watchdog received complaints from 11 different countries about Apple's advertising of product warranties.

As a result of these consumer group complaints, Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding has asked Consumer Protection ministers in all 27 European Union member states to look into Apple's advertising of product warranty practices.

Several members of the European Parliament also complained about Apple, saying that the computer giant failed to notify buyers of their entitlement to a minimum two-year warranty as required by the E.U. Sales Guarantees Directive.

The Commission is concerned that Apple's policy of prominently advertising that its products come with a one-year manufacturer warranty may have misled customers by failing to clearly indicate the consumers' automatic and free-of-cost entitlement to a minimum two-year guarantee.

If found guilty, Apple could face a range of different sanctions as the E.U.'s consumer legislation is enforced differently in different member states. The European Commission itself cannot investigate companies in the area of consumer legislation, but could launch an infringement procedure if there is proof that a member state systematically fails to enforce an existing law.

In a statement issued on Monday, the Commission said: "Consumers need to be confident that their rights apply regardless of the country in which they shop."

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

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