Apple is creating quite an international stir lately. A Belgian consumer rights agency recently filed an official complaint against the iPad maker for how AppleCare is sold in the European Union. According to TechCrunch, the complaint is that EU residents already get two free years of warranty protection on any electronics device built into their regulations and Apple isn’t doing enough to explain to residents that they don’t need the extended warranty.
Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats filed an official complaint against Apple with the Commercial Court of Brussles for misleading consumers with regards to the AppleCare extended warranty.
The Belgian watchdog group sent a press release stating that Apple does not properly inform consumers about its extended warranty plans, which offer an additional year of protection through the AppleCare Protection Plan. Europeans benefit from a statutory warranty law that automatically gives two years of warranty protection for any electronic devices. Consumers who buy the extended AppleCare plan will be paying for something they already get for free. According to Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats, Apple doesn’t make this information clear enough.
In 2011, Italian courts ruled that Apple’s reference to “legal guarantees” was not enough to clarify what the company actually guarantees with regards to AppleCare. Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats is using the Italian case as precedence and hopes to receive a similar ruling.
This lawsuit is not entirely unlike the woman who sued McDonalds because her coffee was too hot. In other words, frivolous. In the U.S., Apple makes its policies fairly clear. There is detailed information on Apple’s website and on the back of the AppleCare box. The summary clearly states that AppleCare extends the warranty coverage by two years from the purchase date. There is even a pretty graphic if you don’t understand what two years from the purchase date means.
The French-language Belgium Apple website states the same thing. It is true that Europeans don’t need AppleCare since they are already covered under their electronics warranty laws, but Apple isn’t hiding the fact that their extended warranty only lasts for a total of two years (or three, depending on the device) from the device purchase date.
Isn’t there some kind of “read before you buy” law that protects businesses from litigious groups that represent consumers who won’t use their own brains before purchasing things they don’t need?