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Friday, December 21, 2012, 08:38 am PT (11:38 am ET)

Italian authorities fine Apple another $264K over product warranties

Apple's changes to its product warranty policies in Italy have been enough to satisfy investigators, but not before the company was slapped with one final fine totaling $264,000.

A year ago, Italy fined Apple 900,000 euros, or $1.2 million, in response to complaints of "unfair commercial practices" related to the company's AppleCare product warranties. The Italian Antitrust Authority deemed that Apple did not provide adequate information to customers about the length of product guarantees, because local laws require companies to protect buyers with a free two-year warranty.

Even after being hit with that fine, Apple continued to offer customers AppleCare to purchase a two-year warranty rather than receiving one for free. That prompted Italian investigators to again threaten Apple in July.

Italy


AppleCare warranties were eventually pulled from Apple's retail shelves in Italy last month in response to continuing antitrust concerns associated with European Union warranty laws. Customers can still purchase AppleCare from the company's website, where a disclaimer notes that the product's "benefits are in addition to two-year warranty from the seller under the Italian legislation to protect consumers."

While that change made Apple in compliance with the law, the Italian antitrust agency still opted to fine the company an additional 200,000 euros, or $264,000, according to The Next Web. That fine covers the period from March 28 to Nov. 10 in which Apple was not in compliance with local laws.

Authorities arrived at the 200,000 euro fine through a collection of six total fines. Each of Apple's business units in Italy will also share the fine: 120,000 euros to Apple Sales International, 40,000 euros to Apple Italia Srl, and 40,000 euros to Apple Retail Italia Srl.

While Apple has settled its dispute with Italian authorities, the company still faces a class-action lawsuit that was filed in October. That complaint alleges that the company continued to violate the EU's warranty regulations after it was fined last December.