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The EU has recently forced Apple to abide to the two-year warranty period mandated there. As I understand it, this is not a maker warranty, but a retailer warranty, so to keep things simple, assume for the following that I bought the product directly from Apple.

  1. Does it also apply to the online Apple shop, or only the retail stores?

  2. Does it only apply to Italy (where a complaint was originally filed)?

  3. Is this equivalent to a one-year extension of the normal one-year Apple Care you get?

  4. Can I claim warranty (for a product bought in Europe) in Apple Stores outside of Europe (as I can with Apple Care)?

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3 Answers 3

Apple has a short article explaining how support works - in the section on half way down is this section on how Apple's 1 year policy is in addition to any consumer laws in the place of purchase and not instead of those laws.

Here is the relevant section pretty much verbatim from the above link separated by horizontal bars (so I can editorialize some more at the end):


Consumer Law

Apple 1 year limited warranty and AppleCare Protection Plan benefits are in addition to rights provided by consumer law. For details click here.

If you think you have a valid consumer law claim, please contact us.


So, basically they have written some web pages detailing many specific policies as well as providing in country phone numbers (which are the main support numbers as far as I can tell) to request coverage as needed. Once you know where to look, Apple seems to be making intentional efforts in adhering to consumer protection laws where it does business.

In a nutshell, the EU protection covers defects present at the time of delivery and in the majority of cases, the responsibility of proving the defect existed at delivery falls on the consumer if you don't report the issue within 6 months of purchase. Also, the "EU Warranty" is requested by contacting the seller directly. The Apple 1 year warranty covers defects arising anytime during the first year of ownership and you can contact Apple directly for service rather than having to go to the seller.

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It isn't quite correct that "the EU" has forced Apple to abide to these regulations. Rather, an Italian judge forced Apple to abide by Italian law. As a result, Apple has seen the light and adjusted its policies to comply with EU directives across the EU (as it was required to).

EU countries implement EU directives, but generally have some freedom in those implementations. So details in individual countries may differ, although your questions are general enough that the answers below probably apply everywhere.

The regulations that Apple now has to comply with don't provide for warranty per-se. They do make retailers responsible for providing a product that is functional for its expected, reasonable lifetime.

In general:

  1. Yes, the online shop is a retailer, so it is responsible for providing you with a functional product.
  2. No, these regulations apply in the entire EU, and AFAIK all EU countries have implemented them. Apple must comply in the entire EU. However, details of the rules that Apple must comply with may differ in specific countries.
  3. Not really. While Apple serves as a manufacturer and a retailer here, the EU rules specifically apply to retailers, not manufacturers. In addition, AppleCare may provide protections or services that retailers aren't generally expected to provide, or can't (as in your question 4.)
  4. Maybe. Apple may provide this as a service, but it isn't required to. If you bought an Apple item from an EU Apple Store, you can't then require a US Apple store to service your device; it's a different retailer.
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"If you bought an Apple item from an EU Apple Store, you can't then require a US Apple store to service your device; it's a different retailer." That is what it comes down to, I guess. If I still have valid Apple Care, I can use that world-wide. The EU retailer warranty likely does not include that. –  Thilo Apr 16 '12 at 6:50
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  1. Yes, buying online or offline is the same

  2. No the whole EU plus others (e.g., Switzerland)

  3. No Apple-Care offers more (e.g., additional support).

  4. Not sure but I don't think so. You have to contact the seller and not the producer.

You can find more information at:

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"You have to contact the seller and not the producer." Like I said, to keep things simple, that would be Apple on both counts. –  Thilo Apr 16 '12 at 6:47
    
@Thilo, exacly as you comment on Vincent answer. Apple US is not the seller, they might even be different legal companies (in the same corporation). –  Matteo Apr 16 '12 at 6:57
    
Oh, I see. Apple US vs Apple UK vs Apple Italy. Tricky... –  Thilo Apr 16 '12 at 9:13
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