Apple fined by Italy over misleading product guarantees

Shopper looks at Apple's laptops Apple had been told it must amend its own add-on guarantee before April

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An Italian watchdog has fined Apple 900,000 euros ($1.2m, £750,000) for its handling of customer guarantees.

The country's Antitrust Authority said Apple had failed to inform shoppers of their legal right to two years' technical support, recognising instead only a one-year standard warranty.

It said the firm's action had led people to pay extra for Apple's own support service, which overlapped in part with the free guarantee.

Apple said it planned to appeal.

"We believe our warranty policy in Italy complies with local requirements and respects consumer rights," a spokesman said.

The authority said the penalties applied to the iPhone maker's three local divisions - Apple Italia, Apple Sales International and Apple Retail Italia.

It said it had fined the firm 400,000 euros for failing to recognise the length of the statutory guarantee, as set out in Italy's consumer code, either on its website or at point of sale.

It said that a further 500,000 euro penalty was imposed because the firm had gone on to offer its Applecare Protection Plan.

It said the information provided about the service, and the lack of clarification about customers' rights, combined to "induce consumers to sign an additional contract".

The authority added that Apple would have to publish an extract from its ruling on its website, and must add details of the two-year guarantee to its Applecare plan within 90 days.

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