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Two consumer advocacy groups in Italy have launched a class-action lawsuit against Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), alleging the company is still violating the European Union’s warranty regulations despite having been fined for it in December. Federconsumatori and the Center for the Protection of Consumers and Users are the groups taking the legal action, at the center of which is the iPhone maker’s AppleCare program.
“It has been reported in recent days that the antitrust authority has reopened the Apple case because group companies are allegedly continuing to violate the consumer code,” the groups said in a joint statement. The groups also referred in their statement to a letter sent by European Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding to member countries, asking them to monitor Apple’s “unacceptable marketing practices.”
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EU laws require consumer companies to offer a free two-year warranty; while Apple’s standard practice is to offer a one-year free warranty. While the company did concede to the region’s regulations, it continues to advertise its paid AppleCare extended warranty and allegedly pushing it onto consumers. Apple was fined 900,000 euros, or $1.2 million, by the Italian antitrust authority in December for failing to provide consumers with the right information and also lost a later appeal of the ruling. As a result, it has been forced to add a disclaimer on its packaging to inform customers of the existing two years of coverage, Apple Insider said.
According to Massimo Cerniglia, a lawyer representing the two advocacy groups, the new lawsuit will seek to recover losses from Apple’s “past and present behavior.”
“We have had a lot of reports from customers saying the phenomenon of mis-selling warranty protection was continuing, even after the action of the antitrust authority,” Cerniglia said.
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