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Monday, 02 July 2012 10:21

Apple falls foul of Italian regulator

Written by Nick Farrell



Ordered to be nice to customers


Fruity cargo-cult Apple is in hotwater with Italian anti-trust regulators for treating its customers like something you scrape off your shoe in the Via Corsa.

The AGCM competition and market authority has told Apple to stop mucking around and trying to get out of providing its customers basic rights. It is threatening Apple with more fines of up to 300,000 euros ($381,000) if it does not offer local customers a free two-year warranty as demanded by Italian law.

Apple has a policy of ignoring consumer law in Europe and has fallen foul of regulators before. Apple's view is that if its products were meant to last two years, its god Steve Jobs would have designed them to last two years. Apple fanboys are meant to buy a new version of the toy every year. Italians believe that if you buy an expensive toy it should last longer than two years and those who buy them should get two years of free assistance, irrespective of other warranties offered by a manufacturer.

So far the AGCM competition and market authority has already imposed fines of 900,000 euros on divisions of Apple.  Apple has been offerong a paid technical support service and hoping that customers don't know that they are legally required to free assistance. Months after the previous fine, Apple has failed to comply with the antitrust request. Jobs' Mob offers a free one-year guarantee scheme, which can be extended to two years on payment of a fee.

The request to comply, sent in recent days, will be made public by the AGCM next week and the U.S. group has 30 days to respond. Apple appealed against the Italian antitrust fine but lost in court earlier this year.

It will be interesting to see how patent the Italians are with Apple. The fact that the company shows nothing but comtempt for Italian laws, fines, anti-trust rulings and their customer's rights would normally result in a book being flung at the company.

Nick Farrell

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