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Monday, October 01, 2012, 05:16 am PT (08:16 am ET)

EU judge recommends review of Apple's advertised warranties

The chief justice of the European Union has said that Apple's advertised AppleCare product warranties should be examined to determine whether they comply with the law.

EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding wrote a letter to the 27 countries that are members of the EU that was obtained by Bloomberg. The letter called Apple's marketing practices "unacceptable."

"Apple prominently advertised that its products come with a one-year manufacturer warranty but failed to indicate the consumers' automatic and free-of-cost entitlement to a minimum two-year guarantee under EU law," Reding wrote.

AppleCare Italy


The letter comes after the Italian government fined Apple $1.2 million earlier this year for not providing customers with accurate information regarding mandated product guarantees and warranty stipulations. Apple was investigated for "unfair commercial practices," and was found to have pushed its paid two-year AppleCare warranty on customers, despite the fact that EU laws require companies to offer the same protections without charge.

In response, Apple featured a "communication to protect consumers" in Italy in January. In complying with the court order, Apple began informing customers at its online store about the legally mandated two-year warranty.

While Apple's warranty trouble has been primarily in Italy to date, the letter from Reding suggests that those issues could spread to other countries in the EU. Each country in the union has different sanctions for violations of consumer protection law, but the EU cannot investigate a company itself for misleading advertising.