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In what seems like a huge overreaction, a Belgian magistrate wants to protect consumers from misinformation by blocking access to Apple’s website across Belgium.
The European Union requires that sellers like Apple provide a minimum two-year free warranty on all consumer electronics products (for Apple, this would include iPods, iPhones, Apple TVs, and iPads). Yet, Apple only informs its customers that it will cover a free one-year warranty — even though the company will still honor a second year per EU regulations — and urges consumers to purchase an extended AppleCare warranty they may not need. Things came to a head last year when the Federal Public Service (FPS) Economy in Belgium filed a suit against Apple that claimed it was misinforming consumers.
Now, the magistrate is considering a move that would force all of Belgium’s ISPs to block Apple’s website, which would “protect” consumers from purchasing items they are not properly informed about. Such a move would also likely affect Apple’s other digital businesses, including its iTunes digital media store, iCloud services, Siri support, and more. In other words, blocking Apple’s website might just create additional problems, which is stalling a final decision.
This isn’t the first time Apple has found itself being reprimanded in Europe. Back in 2011, Italian regulators fined Apple $1.2 million for misinforming local consumers about the same warranties.