Italy Fines Apple $1.2 Million Over AppleCare Sales

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Today, Italy’s antitrust body has fined Apple, Inc. $1.2 million (900,000 euros) for pushing customers to buy its AppleCare Protection Plan without adequately disclosing the support that already comes with their device. In Italy, companies are actually required by law to provide two years of free support to customers, which, according to the Italian Antitrust Authority, was not clearly explained to Apple customers either online or at the point-of-sale.

The report, available via a news blip on Reuters or as the full press release translated from Italian here, specifies that the fines are being leveraged against three of Apple’s local divisions: Apple Italia, Apple Sales International and Apple Retail Italia.

400,000 euros of the fine is for failing to inform customers of their right to two years’ free support provided by Italy’s Consumer Code law, instead only recognizing the one-year manufacturer warranty. This practice occurred on the websites at store.apple.com and apple.com and at the point-of-sale, says the group states. In other words, customers were sold the AppleCare service even though that protection would overlap with the guaranteed free support provided by law.

The remainder of the penalty (500,000 euros) was for selling the AppleCare service itself, after failing to properly disclose the protections, as noted above.

Italy says that Apple will need to update its website within 90 days with information about the existence of the two-year guarantee.

This is not Apple’s only legal trouble in the EU. The company is also involved in patent litigation with Samsung and in a price-fixing case with e-book publishers.