Belgium loses patience with Apple

After years of trying to make Apple conform to European Consumer law, a Belgium consumer watchdog has given up and is taking the company to court.

Apple has always resented the fact that in the EU it has to provide two years’ warranty for its products free of charge. It wanted to bring it its own AppleCare after the first year which the consumer would have to pay for.

Cupertino has done its best to ignore the law, and in Italy it even managed to get into hot water by advertising its own AppleCare service as if the consumer law did not exist.

We understand Apple’s problem. It does not want to tell its customers that they will get the same service for free and its lucrative AppleCare service will be made pointless. However, it is a little strange that its approach in dealing with European consumer groups is to ignore them completely.

Now it appears that the nation famous for inventing French Fries has had enough and the consumer group Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats filed a complaint against Apple for not respecting the law on the warranty in the Commercial Court of Brussels.

According to a statement, warranty problems are at the top of the charts of complaints dealt with Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats and it is fed up with people always complaining about Apple trying to weasel out of its agreements.

Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats found major problems fixed on the information provided by Apple and its authorised distributors regarding the legal guarantee, the commercial one year warranty, and the warranty extension through the “AppleCare Protection Plan” of three or three years, the statement said.

This is the second time the watchdog has taken action against Apple. Last year it teamed up with 10 European consumer organisations to push Apple to look at all its contractual documents and websites.

Apple was told that wherever there is some contractual warranty, it should mention that the legal guarantees are in force in Belgium.

The fact that the Italians had already successfully taken Apple to the cleaners and fined the outfit has given other consumer groups confidence they can give Jobs’ Mob a good kicking.

The Italian competition authorities sentenced Apple to pay € 900,000 and told it to sort out its contractual legal warranty.

Apple appealed but lost and Italy is apparently the only place in Europe where Jobs’ Mob toes the line.

Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats said that it was confident of a positive outcome of an injunction which is to be brought before the President of the Commercial Court of Brussels.