Engaging in international business is thrilling. However, one must always be mindful that the contractual provisions governing a business transaction will many times conflict with the laws of another country.
Just several days ago I posted an article cautioning international e-commerce companies that a forum selection clause in a consumer contract will not be recognized in the E.U.
At issue is Apple’s one-year limited warranty.
According to the lawsuit filed by the Belgian consumer protection organization Test-Aankoop, Apple’s warranty violates E.U. law, which requires a minimum of two years protection on all consumer electronics.
You would think Apple would know better–it was involved in a similar lawsuit last year in Italy.
In that case, Apple was fined millions because it failed to explain to consumers that Apple’s extended warranty was unnecessary because of the legally required two-year warranty required by the E.U.
I say Apple should have known better because E.U. law applies to all 27 member countries.
Thus, if Apple’s one-year warranty was invalid in Italy, it would also be invalid in Belgium, France, Spain etc.
And, as Worstall explains, that is why Apple will lose the lawsuit in Belgium.
The take away from all this is that international business law in the E.U. — and anywhere else — must be thoroughly analyzed and examined before assuming that your international business contract will be honored as written.