Apple Sued in Belgium by Consumer Group Over Warranties

Apple Inc. (AAPL) is being sued by a Belgian consumer group over its product-warranty practices, more than a year after the iPad maker was fined by an Italian regulator over the same issue.

Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats filed a lawsuit at the commercial court in Brussels claiming Apple violates laws on consumer guarantees, it said in a statement today. It cited customer complaints about information provided by Apple and authorized distributors about the company’s legal warranty, its one-year warranty and a warranty extension of as much as three years through the AppleCare Protection Plan.

Italy’s competition agency fined Apple 900,000 euros ($1.2 million) in 2011, saying the Cupertino, California-based company misled consumers by “prominently advertising” that its products had a one-year manufacturer warranty and selling an extension when consumers have the right to an automatic two-year warranty. European Union Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding last year asked state governments to check whether Apple retailers failed to advertise buyers’ right to the two-year warranty for products such as the iPhone and the iPad tablet.

Alan Hely, a spokesman for Apple in London, didn’t immediately respond to a call and an e-mail seeking comment.

Apple’s EU statutory warranty page on its website says EU consumer law covers defects in the product at the time of delivery that surface within two years of purchase. In addition to that, Apple also offers a one-year limited warranty and the AppleCare protection plan to cover defects arising after the buyer gets the device.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aoife White in Brussels at awhite62@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net.

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