Apple in the EU: Having Trouble Getting Out of Trouble

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is having trouble getting out of trouble in the European Union. The EU’s justice Commissioner Viviane Reding claims that Apple hasn’t righted its wrongs.

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The issue arose last year when Apple was accused to misleading EU consumers about the warranties on its products. While the company’s website showed that consumers were entitled to a free, 2-year warranty under EU law, the retail stores were less clear.

Apple retailers may have been misleading consumers in hopes of convincing them to purchase the company’s commercial warranties in the 27-nation bloc that actually requires the company to offer free warranties.

Now, it seems there has also been a problem with the enforcement of rules meant to ensure Apple righted its wrongs…

Reding wrote that “the approaches to enforcement in these types of cases turn out to be very diversified and inconsistent at a national level. In at least 21 EU Member States Apple is not informing consumers correctly about the legal warranty rights they have.” She believes “the Commission cannot sit on the side-lines on enforcement issues.”

In order to rectify the situation, Reding hopes that the EU Member States can find a common approach to enacting and enforcing consumer protection rules. She used the Apple case to demonstrate the weak and varying enforcement approaches used within the EU.

The case against Apple over the warranties is ongoing, according to Reding, and lawsuits have been taken up against the company in Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, and Portugal.

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When the case is over, the EU may be closer to having more unified protection rules in place. Such a system would be a long-time coming, and could result in a substantial amount of regulatory streamlining.

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