Italy accused Apple late last year of selling AppleCare extended warranties in lieu of informing customers about the country's two-year warranty policy, and after paying a $1.2 million fine, Apple agreed to change its ways. Today, the Italian Antitrust Authority says Apple took advantage of the order to further promote its AppleCare warranties. Italy's ACGM competition authority has threatened to suspend Apple's business operations in the country for up to 30 days and fine the company up to €300,000 ($377,500) if it does not take steps to clearly communicate the various warranty options. The Antitrust Authority says that Apple's current notices of the two-year warranty are difficult to find and misleading, making Apple's paid services appear to provide more coverage when the services are allegedly equal.
For instance, let's take a look at Italy's AppleCare Protection Plan support page.
As you could see if you read Italian, the only reference to the state-required two-year warranty appears in fine print at the bottom of the page. The last line translates to "The advantages of Apple's limited one-year warranty and the AppleCare Protection Plan are supplemental to consumer rights pursuant to the seller's legal guarantee. Click here for details." This link directs users to an information page on the legal warranty, which includes a warranty comparison chart. The Antitrust Authority claims that the information in the chart is "misleading and deceitful," suggesting that the state warranty only covers defects present at the time of delivery, and that the customer will have to contact a nebulous "seller" to get support, whereas AppleCare offers support from various places. Even though a nearly $400,000 fine isn't much to a large company like Apple, the situation is clearly causing a strain on the company's relationship with the Italian government. Apple has 30 days to respond to the complaint.