Brussels (dpa) - The European Union should do more to ensure that
Apple Inc offers customers a mandatory two-year warranty on products,
EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said Tuesday, in an ongoing
row with the U.S. computer giant.
"In at least 21 (of the bloc's 27) EU countries, Apple is not informing consumers correctly about the legal warranty rights they have," Reding told a European consumer summit. "This is simply not good enough."
In 2011, Italy's antitrust regulator fined Apple 900,000 euros (1.16 million dollars) for misleading consumers on post-purchase assistance and product warranties.
Apple advertises that its products come with a one-year warranty, while encouraging customers to extend this period by purchasing its "Apple Care" programme.
But the company had "failed to clearly indicate the consumers' automatic and free-of-cost entitlement to a minimum 2-year guarantee under EU law," the commissioner wrote to EU consumer ministers last year.
Despite urging member states to follow Italy's example, Reding said her letter had little effect.
"The approaches to enforcement turn out to be very diversified and inconsistent at a national level," Reding said Tuesday, according to an advance transcript of her speech. For this reason, she said, "the commission cannot sit on the sidelines on enforcement issues."
"I believe that the commission has to take a more prominent role in monitoring and coordinating coherent enforcement of EU consumer rules by the member states," she added.
Reding said consumer associations in Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and Portugal had recently filed lawsuits against Apple, while a collective action against the company started in Italy in October.
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