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Apple blamed for shoddy after-sale services in China

By Zhao Qian (Global Times)

08:10, March 18, 2013

Customers expressed their dissatisfaction Sunday after Apple Inc released a statement in response to media complaints about unfair clauses in its after-sale services in China and reports of the company being arrogant in its attitude toward Chinese consumers.

A report by China Central Television (CCTV) on Friday, which was World Consumer Rights Day, criticized Apple's after-sale services for Chinese consumers, saying that they were different from those in other countries.

Apple after-sale service centers in China only replace certain parts on defective iPhones during the repair process, while in other countries like the US and UK, the company promises to provide a completely new product during the one-year warranty period if the product has quality issues, the CCTV report said.

In China, the company only promises to repair iPads within one year after purchase, while the warranty period should be two years, according to China's law for computer sales.

CCTV quoted an expert on consumer rights protection as saying that these clauses violate China's laws, and show discriminatory practice compared to how Apple operates in other countries.

To respond to the criticisms, Apple released a brief statement Saturday saying that the company has always devoted itself to producing world-class products and services, and that it pays great attention to consumers' opinion and suggestions. The statement did not mention after-sale services.

"The statement was completely meaningless, but that was expected," Li Ming, a 28-year-old Apple fan in Beijing who has bought several iPhones and iPads, told the Global Times.

Thousands of Internet users started discussions on Weibo about Apple's discriminatory clauses in China, with some complaining about how "Apple's arrogant attitude" toward this issue "has hurt their feelings."

"An employee at an Apple after-sale center told me that they will never change the clauses, because they are Apple," a user surnamed Bi was quoted by the CCTV report as saying.

"Any international enterprise must pay attention to local laws and regulations, as well the user experience, and modify its localization policies," Ji Chendong, a senior IT consultant at auditor KPMG (China), told the Global Times Sunday.

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