Italy fines Apple $1.2 million over AppleCare practices

The country says that Apple misled customers by offering them AppleCare without telling them that they already had free assistance available to them.

Apple

Apple has been hit with a hefty fine on charges that it misled customers.

Italy today fined Apple 900,000 euros ($1.2 million) for allegedly encouraging customers to sign up for AppleCare, the company's technical support service, without informing them that they had two years of free support after buying the product. According to Reuters, Italy requires companies to offer two years of free technical support to customers.

AppleCare is an important after-purchase revenue generator for Apple. The company offers protection plans on all of its products, but prices vary depending on the devices for which customers want support.

Earlier this year, Apple updated its iPhone protection plan . The new AppleCare+ extends warranties and technical support out to two years. It also includes repairs on two incidents of accidental damage, instead of the single repair offered in a prior package. The service costs $99.

Another AppleCare package on the iMac sets customers back $169, while the MacBook Pro option is $349. Customers who own the iPod Touch pay just $59 for AppleCare.

Apple has not immediately responded to CNET's request for comment on the Italian government's fine. There's also no telling if it will ask employees to make it clear to customers that their products are covered for two years. But the iPhone maker, it needn't sweat the fine too much: it has tens of billions of dollars in cash on hand.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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