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November 14, 2012

Apple Drops Customer Protection Plan in Italy

By Daniel Brecht, Contributing Writer

Due to concerns associated with Italy's antitrust authority, Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) AppleCare has been pulled from Italian retail stores. Apple (News - Alert) decided to tell Italian regulators off, having chosen not to make the necessary changes to its warranty policies’ because it wanted customers to purchase the "AppleCare Protection Plan (APP).”

As of November 9th, there is to be no distributing of the APP program, which is Apple’s extended protection plan on consumer electronic devices through authorized resellers, said Apple Inc. 

Image via Shutterstock

By having failed to inform Italian customers about their rights (back in 2011) and having not made it clear to consumers about a two-year warranty mandatory by EU law, Apple Corporation was fined $1.2 million from AGCM.

In response to the antitrust outcome and talks between Apple and Italy's antitrust watchdog AGCM, Apple Corporation decided they would no longer be selling AppleCare warranty add-on service in Italy. The issue has almost led to a temporary closure of Apple operations in Italy but did not; instead, only AppleCare was to be removed off the shelves in the country.

Other than Apple stopping APP in Italy, Italians can also expect no AppleCare-related services over the phone in the country.

At present, Italian consumers can find the policy changes and updates of the terms for AppleCare on an Italian website, where the two- year warranty required by Italian regulators to protect the consumers is clearly specified.

Users in Italy that do intend to buy an Apple device (such as an iPod, iPhone (News - Alert) or iPad) and would like to have coverage (for any hardware defects) and technical support can go to the Apple Online Store or product website to purchase the AppleCare Protection Plan (which is for iPods and other iOS devices) or AppleCare+ (which provides one-stop service and support from Apple experts on iPhones and iPads).

These days, even after the antitrust resolution, there are ongoing talks between Apple and the Italian regulators; this is not necessarily a good dialogue, but there is time for that, hopefully, in the near future.

As for now, the two parties have yet to come to an agreement on pay-based supplemental services, but there is still hope to find, once again, the APP program available on Italian Apple store shelves or for sale by resellers one day.  

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Edited by Brooke Neuman
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