All of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s websites may be blocked in Belgium. A judge reportedly told local ISPs to block all their websites due to a longtime dispute over AppleCare warranties.
Advocate groups fight Apple
Consumer protection group FCS Economy brought up a case that alleged that Apple mislead consumers by offering a standard warranty for a year and selling the optional AppleCare extension. European Union law states manufacturers must offer a two-year warranty at minimum.
It’s reported the judge is hesitating over the extreme proposal right after it was discussed how it would be a disservice to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) customers. This isn’t the first time the Cupertino-based tech giant has been in trouble over issues like this. Nearly two years ago, the company made an agreement with Italian regulators to modify AppleCare warranties upon being fined $1.2 million for misleading customers.
In early 2013, Belgian consumer group Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats filed a complaint stating, “For many years warranty issues are at the top of the charts of complaints dealt with Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats. One of the recurring problems are the complaints about Apple. Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats found major problems fixed on the information provided by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and its authorized distributors regarding the legal guarantee, the commercial one year warranty, and the warranty extension through the “AppleCare Protection Plan” of 2 or 3 years.”
How the EU laws protect consumers
The EU law protects buyers from faulty products. Any fault that occurs within two years (or in some countries, more than two years) is presumed to be present at purchase unless the retailer proves otherwise. Consumer groups from ten other European Union countries launched similar cases against them over AppleCare.
If the judge blocks all of the company’s websites from Belgium citizens, they won’t be able to make purchases through Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s official online store. Consumers also won’t be able to access the iTunes store or App Store. And all their websites would be inaccessible unless the user found a workaround. Although Belgium is a relatively small country, it’s a market they won’t want to lose.