My iPhone 4's button has stopped working properly. I went to the apple shop today to get it repaired, and was told I had to pay £119 as it was 22 months old and outside of the one year warranty. I then asked why it was not covered for a two year warranty due to EU law enforcing this, which then turned into a pointless argument of the guy at the genius bar continually saying "we only cover a one year warranty" in which I gave up and left. I just do not understand however if I am right or wrong - should it have been covered?
This is a legal question, not a technical one BUT... the EU 'law' you are referring to is the European Directive 1999/44/EC. In the UK, the Sale of Goods Act meets or exceeds most of the directive's requirements, overriding the directive. The bottom line is, you are almost surely covered, do check what the Sales of Good Act says, see if these chaps chan help you
and be ready to stir up as much trouble as you can. I once had to deal with a faulty screen in a new MBP, I did complain, they guys at Apple were not helpful, I kept complaining, calmly (you cannot ever lose it in these situations, because you give the opponent an excuse to stop dealing with you) and after 30 minutes the manager basically rolled belly up and did what I told him he had to do all along. Be prepared to ask to talk to mangers etc, and take note of times and names.
I would add, that Apple has stepped up in linking to consumer rights as well as their standard warranty.
Getting into an argument with store staff only weakens your case, since any reasonable person would back off and just ask for facts and what the person can do for them.
Even if you feel Apple is perfect and always does right by their customer, expecting the staff there to advise you on your rights seems like asking the fox to explain hen house access rules.
I would read up on what Apple says their policy is and if you feel a staff member isn't meeting that agreement, politely ask to get a second person to confirm that you don't have options in the store to get assistance.
You would be better off consulting a local consumer protection group or lawyer if you really feel your consumer rights are not being respected by any company.
A layman reading of the UK consumer rights is you need to contact the exact seller and not Apple Service to exercise your consumer rights instead of the 1 year Apple Warranty. From those rights:
So, if you push it, you might have to prove you didn't damage the button if you don't request service for a button that was defective on initial purchase. Apple's warranty is actually more consumer friendly IMO than your consumer rights in this case so seeking service at 22 months looks like Apple was legally and technically correct to explain to you that they only perform warranty service at the genius bar and that you have exhausted that period where it's Apple's responsibility to perform service under warranty.