Apple is reported to have taken AppleCare off the shelves in Italy, although reports claim it is still selling the protection plan to Italian customers online.
Italian site Sette.IT claims to have an email from Apple to Italian resellers that informs those resellers that Apple stopped selling Apple Care in Italy on 9 November.
Apple has also updated warranty details on its Italian website. The website now reads "AppleCare plans benefits are added to the 2 year warranty of the seller, required by Italian regulators to protect the consumers," according to 9to5Mac's translation.
Earlier this year Apple was charged in the Italian courts with violating a European law that states that companies should offer a free two-year warranty. Specifically, under Italian law consumers purchasing electronic products and other durable goods have the right to get two years free assistance. Apple was accused of not making it clear that Italian customers have a free two-year warranty, instead Apple was offering the option to buy Apple Care to extend its free one-year guarantee scheme for two years. The company was hit with a fine for €900,000 due to the lack of clarity.
Apple disagreed with Italian regulators. Back in July it told Reuters: "We have appealed the recent decision of the (Italian) court as it was, in our view, based upon an incorrect interpretation of the law. We have introduced a number of measures to address the Italian competition authority concerns and we disagree with their latest complaint."
Back in April we reported that Apple had updated its website with details of European warranties that allow for the repair of products for up to two years after purchase. This was to bring the company into line with the European law mentioned above. Following our report of that story, Apple called us to clarify that the company believed that it was meeting the demands of the Italian court.
At the time the company said it offered a free one-year guarantee. This can be extended to two or three years with AppleCare (depending on the product). The two year warranty allowed by Italian law was also available, as indicated on the Apple website, but Apple made it clear that this doesn’t include full cover in the way that AppleCare does. The distinction being between defects arising after delivery, and defects present when taking delivery. You can read the terms of Apple's warranty here.