Apple has been penalized by the Italian Anti-trust Authority for allegedly selling two-year AppleCare warranties to customers who were, according to the Italian laws, eligible for `free' two-year warranties.
The Italian watchdog has slapped a fine of 900,000 euros (approximately $1.2 million) on Apple for offering a two-year AppleCare Protection Plan, under which one-year warranty was free, and the second year was charged.
Noting that Apple had failed to inform Italian shoppers that they are legally entitled to two years' technical support, and had thus recognized only one-year standard warranty, the Italian Anti-trust Authority said that the action taken by Apple had led customers to make additional charges for Apple's own support service which partly overlapped with the free guarantee.
Imposing the fine on Apple for misleading product guarantees, the authority revealed that the penalties were applicable to three of Apple's local units - Apple Italia, Apple Retail Italia, and Apple Sales International.
Describing Apple's actions as those aimed at "inducing consumers to sign an additional contract", the authority said that while a 400,000 euros penalty had been imposed on Apple for failing to recognise the extent of the statutory guarantee mentioned in Italy's consumer code; another fine of 500,000 euros was for offering the Applecare Protection Plan to the customers. In all, the 900,000 euros fine was imposed on Apple for not giving consumers adequate details pertaining to its product guarantees.