Italy threatens Apple with fine, temporary closure

Antitrust authorities allege that Apple failed to inform Italian customers about free two-year warranty as it pushes for-pay tech support contracts.

Charles Cooper
Charles Cooper Former Executive Editor / News
Charles Cooper was an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at CBSNews.com, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet.
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The story, reported here by Reuters centers around a provision of Italian law that guarantees customers free two-year warranties on electronic products.

Italy's AGCM competition and market authority has already imposed fines of 900,000 euros on divisions of Apple, which offers a paid technical support service, for failing to tell customers about their rights to free assistance.

But months after the previous fine, Apple has failed to comply with the antitrust request, the watchdog said. The company offers a free one-year guarantee scheme, which can be extended to two years on payment of a fee.

The AGCM said in its monthly bulletin that Apple was continuing to adopt unfair commercial practices in Italy and noted this could eventually lead to the closure of its Italian operations for up to 30 days.

In December, Italian authorities fined Apple for what it described at the time as "commercial practices that harmed consumers." Italy's Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato alleges that Apple has avoided disclosing the free warranty and instead encourages consumers to purchase a contract for paid technical support.

We've contacted Apple for comment and will update the post when we hear back.