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back to article Belgian watchdog barks at Apple: Take care when you flog that warranty

A Belgian consumer group is taking Apple to court for providing customers with "unclear" information on product guarantees. By law, all electronics sold in Europe are required to have a two-year warranty. But Apple sells its own extended warranty, AppleCare Protection Plan, which offers an extension to its one-year limited …

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Facepalm

Idiots

Did Italy not teach them anything?

Maybe not idiots. Perhaps Con-Artists / Chancers.

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above the fold

above the fold

On what sized screen?

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Trollface

"Apple has not replied to our request for comment."

You know, this has become one of those "who's going blink first" things. One day you'll forget to ask them about something. That day might be before or after they forget to pretend you don't exist.

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Re: "Apple has not replied to our request for comment."

The day they do give a reply is the day the central heating repair man will be going to fix the devil's boiler

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Joke

Now now, Apple always obeys EU law, Belgium is just upholding it wrong!

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Anonymous Coward

needless to say

you said :D

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Stop

Here we go again

The level of protection offered by the EU warranty isn't as high as Apple's own. Providing they honour the legal minimums for their customers (they only need cover items sold in their own stores, not at 3rd party outlets for instance) there's nothing to stop them offering extended warranties with better coverage.

The Belgians seem to be complaining only that this information isn't sufficiently well publicised in store.

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Re: The Belgians seem to be complaining only that this information

Thanks for pointing that out, I failed to comprehend the article so missed it's central point.

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Re: Here we go again

No, the level of protection offered by EU warranty is different.

The whole point of a 2-year EU warranty is to cut down the 1-year churn on devices where no care is taken during their production to ensure they can run for a reasonable lifespan when they can't usefully be recycled. The problem is that Apple wants to claim that the EU warranty only applies for design-type faults (eg "oh look the Nvidia GPU in your machine is defective by design, we have to replace it") while the general interpretation is that it covers you for any fault developing within 2 years of purchase so long as you haven't misused it (including accidental damage, etc). To put it another way - Apple want to interpret the EU ruling as being equivalent to the Sale of goods act (which is the bane of everyone who's ever bought an electronic device, because it only offers protection if you can somehow prove that there's a flaw in the design; no protection whatsoever if it turns out that the use of cheap solder or crap caps means that after a small fraction of its expected life the thing goes bang and won't turn on, unless you've got access to the blueprints or an exceptionally honest engineer from the manufacturer in question).

Apple's terms on the 1-year warranty may be "better" than the terms on the 2-year EU-mandated warranty. I am confident in saying that for the majority of consumers, duration is the single highest concern for their mandatory warranty cover. Better terms on a shorter warranty are of use to no bugger except Apple, because it helps promote the 3-year lifespan they seem to have in mind for all their products.

I agree that there should be no barrier to Apple offering improved service offerings at a premium - in fact, I wish they would. I would be much happier dealing with them at work if they'd offer a paid-for NBD on-site hardware support service (ideally incorporating the idea of certain components being CRUs rather than FRUs) with 3-5 year durations. But they don't seem in any way interested in doing this, instead routing everything through a 1-2 week CAR operation (or worse, asking you to "just pop into your nearest Apple Store" - a tedious waste of time with a laptop, and a tedius massive ballache of a waste of time with yet another dodgy Thunderbolt Display).

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Re: Here we go again

"it helps promote the 3-year lifespan they seem to have in mind for all their products"

3 years? Bit much? 3 months if you're lucky (anecdotal experience of how often my flatmate buys a new macbook or iphone).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Your flatmate...

... for the cost of all those Macbooks, I'll paint an Apple on a Chromebook for him and be on call 24/7 as his own personal Jobs. No, that's not including the after care, I'll just tell him he is holding it wrong if he calls for IT assistance. ;)

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Re: Here we go again

"The Belgians seem to be complaining only that this information isn't sufficiently well publicised in store."

No, I think the Belgians are complaining about the statement that consumers only have one year of warranty when EU law dictates that they have 2 years of warranty. Apple is being economical with the truth (presumably because they want to sell more extended warranties). The stupidity of this is that some of those who have purchased extended warranties may claim now or in the future that they were misled into buying them and reclaim their money.

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Anonymous Coward

I'd take Apple support over pretty much anyone else. iPhone developed a fault (after being dropped) - Apple store fixed there and then. Friend got a slight crack on his 3GS - they replaced it. Colleague had Samsung go faulty - no phone for over 3 weeks.

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Try Canon for real service.

Faulty camera, model discontinued.

Replaced for free with current version about 3 models higher. Wasn't even an SLR, or a 'valuable customer' model like a 7D or 1D.

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Wow, what a stunning

lack of relevance to the article in question. Take your crusade against Samsung elsewhere.

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@AC 15.36

I notice you don't mention whether you'd paid for Apple+ on the iPhone you dropped (or whether your friend had done), since the industry standard across the board is that accidental damage isn't covered under normal warranty.

On a more significant basis, I understand that we all make choices based on the data available, but two anecdotes are almost as far away from statistically valid samples as you can get (with the furthest away being no anecdotes). As a sysadmin in a small team supporting a couple of hundred people between us with a mixture of predominantly Dell & Apple hardware (with a few Toshibas and Samsungs thrown in) my experience over about 5 years and probably over 1000 machine purchases in total is that Apple's phone service is very good, but the level of service they offer for hardware issues simply doesn't compare to that offered on business-class products by other companies. NBD Onsite Support for at least 3 years is the standard here, and Apple fall far short of it with their "Drag it into the nearest shop, or go for 1-2 week Collect and Return" offering. Fine for consumers who are willing to accept that, shoddy for anyone who expects business class service for the business-class prices charged by Apple.

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Anonymous Coward

Sounds rather similar to what they did with the Samsung "we're really sorry!" bit

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the worst for customer service

After spending 4, 500 euros on 4 imacs and the funny 3 year warranty the apple store (a premier apple store) wouldnt deliver them 5km to us without an extra payment and when we turned up to the store to get them they said they werent even there but somewhere else (another store)

Will never buy apple again despite what the over pampered creatives ask for

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Anonymous Coward

Re: the worst for customer service

Was that a reseller - not sure I have ever heard of a genuine Apple Store delivering anything?

Don't worry I'm sure if you had bought a Dell - Michael would have hand delivered it and helped you set it up!

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Re: the worst for customer service

@AC 16.01

You do realise that Dell offer 5-year on-site NBD service for their business-class laptops, as well as a "have the OS configured before it's delivered" option?

Dell's consumer support is quite crufty at times, but for their business machines the service is damn good.

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Re: the worst for customer service

If the goods were defective or not fit for purpose in accordance with the directive, then you should bear no costs.(Article 3, Rights of the consumer, 3 &4).

You should claim for costs in the small claims court if they were in breach of the directive , or their warranty (you will need to read the contract).

Your countries consumer law may give you added advantages, but may not be less effective than the EU directive.

If in doubt, contact the EU help desk, a friend of mind got a replacement filter for a chip fryer, despite the fact filters are not covered (because a lot of them are expendable, but this one was metal)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: the worst for customer service

But of course they charge for it?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: the worst for customer service

As for Dell - just checked out their Ultrabook and the b'stards only give you a 1 year warranty as standard - shurely shum mistake? As for software support fagettaboutit - 90 days - unless you pay more (i.e. just like Applecare).

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Anonymous Coward

Plenty of companies try and flog you extended warranties - is this really a story. Went to buy a hard drive from Amazon - it came with a 3 year warranty as standard but they still dared to offer me an extra one and lo-and-behold their warranty was more prominently featured. Dastardly.

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Devil

So perhaps EU law needs to be enhanced such that an advert or offer of any kind of additional warranty or support includes a table of what's already included. You see plenty of these when it suits companies to promote the Pro version or similar.

I'm not really suggesting this is a good idea, but perhaps some Apple marketing bod might have lunch with an Apple legal bod and suggest they can head off these lawsuits and market enhanced support at the same time. Yeah, like that's ever going to happen at Apple. "We don't mix with the underlings"

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What is needed

is for the directive and national consumer laws to be bought to the attention of consumers, ie in the paper, on tv etc.

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Theywant your money.

Apple care?

Not really.

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Anonymous Coward

John Lewis do this - they make a big deal that they offer a 2 year warranty as if it's something 'better' when in fact they probably have to - although the reality is the 2 year EU warranty provides a pretty basic warranty whereas people like Apple and John Lewis provide more.

If a Samsung failed after just shy of 2 years I expect it would go back to Samsung and get repaired but would not be surprised if like a previous phone I sent them it too several weeks. Whereas if your Apple iPhone fails you are more likely to be able to go to a store and get it repaired / replaced there and then.

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@AC 09:12

The difference here is that the John Lewis 2 year warranty on electrical goods is free, and this 2 year warranty gives slightly more than the EU mandated minimum. You CAN take out further extensions, and pay extra for their super-duper-cover-everything warranty as well, but those cover significantly more than the EU requirement.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @AC 09:12

Yes it's free but they make out it's something 'more'. I know loads of people who said they were going to buy their iPads from John Lewis as you get a 2 year warranty - which clearly you get anywhere (in the UK / EU).

Apple warranty is already substantially better than the standard warranty provided by most vendors - they seem to replace or repair most things there and then. They replaced a hard drive on a friends macbook - charged him barely more than a bare drive would have cost at the time, reinstalled the OS and explained how to recover his data using Time Machine.

My iPhone camera lens dislodged after I dropped it - 20 minutes at the Apple store and they replaced the camera and lens - had that been pretty much any other phone it would have been sent back to the manufacturer and if Samsung are anything to go by that would be about 3 weeks with no phone.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @AC 09:12

A lot of Apple Care warranties extend the period as well and if it means getting it fixed quickly with genuine parts by the manufacturer I'm happy to pay a slight premium. If I was going to be without my smartphone for more than a few days I would end up buying another which would be hugely costly - so for the equivalent of a couple of quid a month extra on a iPhone 5 I'm happy with that.

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Anonymous Coward

The principle of things like Apple Care is no different to someone like HP with their Support Pack. Yes they have to provide a basic warranty for 2 years but Apple Care / Support Packs often extend this to 3 years and / or provide more features. For instance I remember HP Support Packs would give longer terms or on-site warranty or super fast on-site (at more cost).

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The amazing thing is it's Belgium !

Sent my bro in Bruxelles a link to this story. He responded that Belgium has appalling consumer rights and his experience of Apple was abysmal.

Laptop with Apple Care failed, at first claimed that hard drive was cause (self evidently not true) then that memory was the problem but, as non Apple memory had been fitted (by an Apple dealer), warranty was invalid.

My bro, with experience as a senior bod at UK Dept of Trade and representation to EU, read them the Riot Act and they changed their tune.

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