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back to article Apple stops Caring in Italy, probably all Europe soon

Apple has reportedly stopped selling its extended warranty, AppleCare, in Italian stores following prompts from Europe's Justice minister that the company wasn't respecting EU-mandated guarantees. AppleCare will still be available though the company's web site, but won't be sold in stores - according to leaked e-mails sent to …

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Joke

We've asked Apple for clarification, but have yet to receive any response as Cupertino has recently gone quiet on us again

I think that last sentence is meant to read "but have yet to receive any response as Cupertino are still sore we didn't take their side during the appleology incident

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Headmaster

Poor old El Reg

Apple's naughty step must have a vulture-shaped dent in it by now.

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Unhappy

'Telephone support'

Telephone support is for people who have nothing else to do.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 'Telephone support'

Whereas having to box everything back up, drive to the nearest Apple shop (which tend not to be that close as they are only in city centres), wait until you can be seen by a 'Genius', leave it with them for a week while it gets repaired then have to go back to collect it is ideal for busy people.

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Meh

GFE

OK, I'll let you in on a secret: Google.

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LDS
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Re: 'Telephone support'

How much hardware can be fixed over the phone?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 'Telephone support'

Depends on the fault and the level of support. Back when Dell had real engineers in their technical support department I once had a hard drive repaired over the phone that I swore needed to be sent back. A desktop arrived and wouldn't boot complaining it couldn't find a boot sector, many attempts at installing an OS to the drive failed which is what prompted the support call. I was just after a replacement but the guy on the phone was able to talk me through putting injecting a few lines of assembly code into the drives firmware and hey presto everything was fine. All sorted in less than 15 mins.

That was good technical support delivered by someone with a real knowledge of their products. Sadly Dell support standards have dropped considerably since then but it shows that telephone support is useful and can prevent unnecessary returns.

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Re: 'Telephone support'

I had the same thing. It wasn't "injecting assembly code" into drive firmware at all. (at least mine wasn't), from analysing it, it was simply getting the hard disk to write zeroes over the first chunk of the disk, overwriting boot sector and partition table. Getting users to write assembly to hotfix a drive firmware really isn't viable.

In my case, it didn't fix the problem (which was a knackered disk) and led to a lot of annoyance as at no point had they warned me that this would effectively erase the contents unless I could remember the start/end blocks of the partitions. Yes, I had backups, but you'd expect a bit of warning rather than 'run debug and type this lot in, before we'll talk to you'. Ahh, the good old days of Dell "gold" support.

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Meh

Re: 'Telephone support'

I worked in Dell tech support back in 2000 (just out of uni), and *gasp!* my paycheck was actually from Dell not some outsourced call centre. It was straight tech support, no BS "smiling though the phone shit" , no offering upgrades etc, just fixing stuff. Soon though, small things started changing, managers bitching about average call handle time etc..long story short, tech support is now just glorified "customer care". I guess for most companies it must be cheaper to just smile and replace their shit product with more shit than to pay someone to think.

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FAIL

Well

Apples table is just blatantly misleading.

"Defects present when customer takes delivery"

or Apples:

"Defects arising after customer takes delivery"

Is just complete crap. If the product develops a fault within that two year period then Apple (as the seller) is obliged to repair it, refund or replace.

Also:

"In most EU member states, consumers may only claim for defects that were present on delivery. There are some exceptions including Czech Republic and Romania. The burden to prove that the defect (including latent defects) existed on delivery generally shifts to the consumer after the expiry of a period of six months from date of delivery. Examples of countries where the burden of proof does not shift include Czech Republic, Portugal and Romania. Please contact your local European Consumer Centre for details of the position in your country."

Another piece of absolute tosh.

Typical bloody Apple. Mind you, imho, if you buy one of their products, you deserve every bit if Apple "love" you get.

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Re: Well

Would you care to provide links to consumer sites that support these assertions, or do you just want to rant?

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Facepalm

Re: Well

Nah I just like to rant. But how about using google eh?

Directive 1999/44/EC just for starters.

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Stop

Re: Well

The problem is that the implementation of the EU directive differs from country to country (Apple are right here), and has been adapted to fit each counties consumer law.

Take a look at http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2011/feb/05/how-long-electrical-goods-guaranteed for example

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Re: Well

But what I was alluding to in my original post is that Apple try to weasel word they way out of their obligations and just happen to have a product which covers all. This is deliberately done to confuse the not so tech savvy consumer into thinking they have no rights under EU law - they do regardless of individual countries regs.

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Re: Well

I have used this directive against Apple and as per the directive they are correct. To invoke the EU directive, the burden of proof is on the consumer, while according to Apple's claims, if you purchase an Apple care product, the benefit of doubt is given to the consumer. (You basically are given somebody else repaired product as they only need it to last the rest of the warranty)

However you are right, Apple do try to ignore any local laws as far as they can get away with. (Contempt of court and the law of the land.) Perhaps the difference with other companies is that they outright lie to you. They did so in my case as well asking me to pay £200 for a replacement at first, stating that EU directives do not apply in the UK. Genius isn't it! ;)

I had the iPad display go faulty about a month after the warranty, and argued that a HW defect of that nature cannot be caused by any consumer interaction, and since iPads do not show the same behaviour after 13 months of use, the only possibility was that it was faulty at the point of manufacture.

It went quiet for a week after that, and then they came back and offered a replacement.

IMHO, for tech products, it is more or less easy to argue this for HW failures. Since the products are manufactured based on probability of failures (HTOL, MTBF, etc), almost any HW failure is pretty much a manufacturing fault at the component/soldering/design level. Right now, manufacturers target a 1 yr life, with wider knowledge of this EU directive, they will have to target 2 years.

Needless to say that iPad was and will be my last Apple product. I thought I was buying a quality brand, turns out I was buying a logo, and supporting corporate arrogance.

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Re: Well

@Jim - for the first year they are providing more than they are required to in the form of warranty. If they followed the EU directive then it would be up to the consumer to prove that the fault wasn't because of something that they had done after the first 6 months. After the first year, and if you haven't paid for the extended warranty you get exactly what the law allows for, and no more than that. If you pay for the warranty then firstly you continue to deal with Apple, not the company you bought it from (and if you bought a phone from Apple but under contract then you have to deal with the cell co), the requirement for you to prove the cause of the failure is dropped and the whole process is made less painful. It's your choice if that is worth it to you, but by all means argue your statutory rights if you want.

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Stop

The bit that's valuable

With the Apple Care support package is that, under the normal EU scheme, you have to deal with the company you purchased the device from. If that wasn't Apple (for example if you got your phone under contract, bought your pad from the local Curries equivalent etc), then you have to deal with the seller. They can take weeks to fix the device, or declare it beyond economic repair and give you a nominal refund (the amount of which THEY get to decide).

With the extended warranty you can take it to an Apple store and they will generally repair or replace on the spot. It's that part that most folks find to be useful, not the phone support.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The bit that's valuable

It's all about the value of the service. There is no way I am paying for something that is mandated by law and also having the inconvenience of having to physically take a box back to the shop. If I pay to top up the standard warranty it is to get extras that are actually useful such as next day on-site repair, not things that should come as standard like being able to telephone someone about a problem.

Apples after sales care is a joke no matter how many times fanboys repeat the mantra 'take it back to the shop and they are great' - that is the biggest problem, having to take it back to the shop over the least little thing. Even smaller companies that can't provide an on-site service tend to operate a collect and return policy which they organize for you at no cost. Under the terms of our business support contract we are still expected to ship any faulty Mac back to Warrington at our expense and wait weeks for them to get it back to us, totally out of order for a company the size of Apple when you consider the profit margins they add to everything.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The bit that's valuable

This may help clarify things (one of the better articles out there)

http://www.findlaw.co.uk/law/consumer/consumer_protection/138.html

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Re: The bit that's valuable

That's a pretty good summary of UK law, with the exception that the manufacturer normally provides a warranty for the first year that is in excess of this minimum and the retailer will push you towards using that (its actually their responsibility to deal with the manufacturer)

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Re: The bit that's valuable

Indeed. I was forced to buy my iMac through Curry's (can you imagine? The horror...) and it developed a line of dead pixels running up the screen after about 10 months. I phoned Apple and they said I could bring it in or go to an official reseller nearer to me in N1 (London).

So I phoned them and explained the problem. "Oh it's still on Applecare, sir? When would you like us to collect it?" So they collected it using their own packaging and 2 days later it was delivered back with a new LCD and an invoice detailing the cost of the panel (astronomical), the cost of the labour (pretty reaonable), the cost of deliveries and VAT - came ot about £850 I seem to remember - and the all-important Total Payable - £0.00

THAT is what I pay Applecare for, THAT is why I extended it for a further year for a relative pittance and THAT - none of it - is what you will EVER get from a retail outfit like Curry's, whether you are entitled to it or not.

Now then - let's just see how many idiots downvote actual real-life experience!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The bit that's valuable

Congratulations, you paid them extra to do something that they are supposed to do anyway

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Re: The bit that's valuable

My Dell monitor - with a three years dead pixel warranty. Two years after purchase - a row of dead pixels. Next day collection AND replacement with a brand new one - NOT refurbished like apple, all at no extra charge or cost. Total downtime - 20 minutes.

And no cooked up bills to show me some pretend savings.

No I did not buy their on site warranty package. Yes it is their upper mid product range, not their cheapest product. The price for the specs was the best in market, and far cheaper than the Apple equivalent.

Sorry, real life experience that is narrow is also useless. I can't believe you actually fell for the invoice they pretty much created. Another Apple marketing score. Can't deny that.

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Go

Downvoting real life experience

Now then - let's just see how many idiots downvote actual real-life experience.

Happens all the time here. Nice to see it isn't restricted.

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FAIL

Re: The bit that's valuable

No, they're not, that's the point. I bought it from Currys and Apple are liable for nothing - Currys are.

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Mushroom

Re: The bit that's valuable

I didn't get somebody elses imac, I got my own back with a new screen. But don't let actually reading a post stop you from being a f*ckwit. And having researched the costs, the invoice was accurate, and it was raised to send a copy to Apple so they could recover their costs from them.

Your Dell had a 3 year warranty - so you got that for free? Well done you, but meaningless. Talk about narrow. And, it took you twenty minutes to plug in a crappy little monitor? Sheesh.

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Devil

Re: The bit that's valuable

And - at the time of purchase guess what Currys offered me? A "service contract" costing £10 a month for when " *anything* goes wrong". Well at £120 a year that's comparable to Apple .... so do you think they'd

a) Fit a new LCD at my house

b) take it away and do it in 2 days,

c) Take about 3 weeks or

c) Use every excuse under the sun to blame me for it and do nothing.

And without it, what are the chances of getting any kind of decent service or deal from that bunch of rabid box-shifters?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The bit that's valuable

If you know that Currys are that bad why didn't you just go straight to Apple and save yourself the hassle. If you couldn't get to the Apple shop* then maybe you could check to see if they have something like a website, that maybe has a sales section where oooh I don't know, you might have been able to order it and have it delivered to the door. That way you could deal with them directly on warranty issues.

*Definitely shop, not store. A store is somewhere you put things for later collection, grain store, weapons store etc. A shop is where you go to buy something.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Store

upvoted for shop/store clarification. Silly 'merkins.

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Mushroom

Re: The bit that's valuable

Well since we're name calling, as an Apple f*ckwit you probably missed it, but dealing straight with a manufacturer is always faster and quicker - Dell or Apple.

In Apple's case you pay extra for the "privilege". So next time go to an Apple store.

Lighter heads need lighter wallets anyway, so it all works out eh.

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This post has been deleted by its author

This post has been deleted by its author

Re: The bit that's valuable

Because I had an insurance voucher after a burglary and had no choice about where to buy it. As I said in the original post - I had to buy it there. That is *had* to buy it there meaning I had no choice as against *chose* to buy it there because I wanted to, if that's clear enough for your tiny brain :)

Again - don't let reading the post stop you....

By the way I believe the Americans call a shop a store. If that's too hard to understand don't go to America because you will starve. On second thoughts.....

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FAIL

Re: The bit that's valuable

I would have loved to go direct but as I said in the post that you didn't bother to read properly but still feel qualified to criticise, couldn't.

Again, don't let a fact stand in the way of your own self-righteousness.

Lighter heads have lighter wallets already. So not my problem. Now - where did I park the Veyron?

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Please don't

Hopefully we've not offended them too much and will have an update soon

The moment you start cowtowing to *anyone* is when I stop reading El Reg.

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Happy

Re: Please don't

Hmmm I read that as sarcasm stating "We must have done a good job, since Cupertino refuses to acknowledge us again."

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So where does that leave someone who's paid £129 to them for a refurb?

My power/lock switch broke early this year. This is supposed to be a known issue with iPhone 4, but Apple won't admit to it. When I took it into the Store they said that they wouldn't be able to offer a repair/replacement free because it was 13 months old. Funny, that!

I paid the £129 and got my network (Orange) to contribute £50 towards that because I was so angry at the 24-month talk plan and only 12-month warranty. I was aware of all the European legislation and tried to speak to three people in the Apple store about this, and got fobbed off each time.

Is it worth writing to them and suggesting they should reconsider their position? It sounds like sour grapes but I'm a bit of a fanboy - iPad, MacBookPro, iPhone, ATV etc.

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Re: So where does that leave someone who's paid £129 to them for a refurb?

If you'd got independent proof that the fault was due to manufacture or design then they'd have to repair or replace it (plus paid for the cost of the independent report). If you had the Apple Care warranty they would have also repaired or replaced it. Without proof of any form then they are within the EU/UK rules.

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Megaphone

Re: So where does that leave someone who's paid £129 to them for a refurb?

You don't know what sour grapes are.

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Facepalm

Re: So where does that leave someone who's paid £129 to them for a refurb?

I don't get people like you. Apple has shafted you, and you're still going back. For more!!??

I guess now you'll buy their Applecare!?

If you're a fan, I'm afraid that's what you will need to do.

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Stop

Re: So where does that leave someone who's paid £129 to them for a refurb?

How do you work that one out? His contract was with Orange, so they were the ones liable to fix it. Apple didn't have to do anything. Instead they sold him a factory referb at a discount rate (have you seen what it costs for even a second hand iPhone?) and he walked out of the door with a working phone. Try that with most cell companies.

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Re: So where does that leave someone who's paid £129 to them for a refurb?

Only because they can refurb the phone you just returned. If you do your research or know anyone who has worked at an Apple store, you will realise that the refurb option is generally only available if you return a phone than can be repaired.

Your argument will hold water when they give you refurbed phones without asking you to return a pretty much fully functioning phone save for the power button.

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FAIL

Re: So where does that leave someone who's paid £129 to them for a refurb?

Did you actually READ what I wrote? Apple weren't the ones on the hook for the warranty, Orange were. They were the people who the OP had to contact and convince to repair the phone. Apple COULD have said "not our problem" and sent him on his way.

A referb isn't a trivial job. They strip a phone back to parts, repair or replace any problem bits, replace any external panels that aren't cosmetically perfect, reassemble and warrant the result for 3 months. You get back something that looks like a new device (some of them actually ARE new devices). You're complaining that Apple were prepared to provide him with one, for a fee, when they didn't have to do anything?

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Re: So where does that leave someone who's paid £129 to them for a refurb?

Warranty length != Contract length You might want it that way, but that is not how it works.

The manufacturer cannot send a buyer away for product failure. This is also the normal course of action when a retailer goes bust. It is legally protected. They CANNOT say "not our problem". Apple chooses to control the customer relationship and keep the operator out. Indeed they register the 12 month warranty and activate the phones themselves even for operator phones. Just put your serial number on Apple support!

And no they don't take back phones that need stripping for parts. As for refurb, you ignore scale. Even a 0.1% failure with intact pcbs make it quite economical for 3 month life. That's £40+ per month of life. It serves two purposes - reduce repair costs, pay for inventory and second create value for AppleCare purchases.

Offering the £129 phone is not the problem, a shoddy almost illegal warranty policy is.

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I'll happily pay for Applecare + I live in Italy

sorry that should be "I'd pay for Applecare+" as this extended warranty plus actually has a few micro-pay out of warranty incidents. I asked at Carosello/Carugate Applestore and it's still not available other than in USA. I had to negotiate with the geniuses for quite a while to get my iPad2 screen repaired free OOW. I did mention Warranty/Applecare/Italy a lot during my negotiations and that seemed to help!

(OK its $50 per incident, not that micro - but cheaper than the €250 OOW charge)

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Happy

"Cupertino has recently gone quiet on us again."

Say it ain't so!!!

Maybe because Samsung's lawyers read out your headline in court... y'think...?

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Screw the EU

AppleCare warranties are awesome. For one, they are *worldwide* so regardless which country you are in, Apple will sort you out. Years ago I was on holiday in Turkey when my laptop packed it in, they sorted it out without a fuss.

A DVD drive on another MBP died just days before my warranty expired, brand new laptop courtesy of Cupertino.

Try getting that with a "standard" warranty.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Screw the EU

Hmm yes, the same kind of worldwide service that HP, Dell, Toshiba, Sony, Kyocera etc etc provide as standard.

In fact most companies with a global presence do that except Apple who want paying extra for it - remind me again why people think they are so wonderful

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Re: Screw the EU

Seriously either you have never used another brand, or are comparing £100 laptops with £1000 Apple laptops.

Besides, advertising worldwide coverage as the addon you buy with Applecare is fair enough, paying for basic warranty provisioning, as required by law, is not. Apple are exploiting people's lack of awareness of their rights.

I am really amazed at how people take anything, just by making them feel "pretend special".

I've seen this in relationships, but didn't for the life of me think it would work when buying a fu!*ing gadget.

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Re: Screw the EU

Dell Mini 10v, bought in Victoria, B.C., replaced free of charge in France two months after the warranty expired after one phone call and an email. Oh, and it was DHLed to my front door.

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