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China vows tough regulation after Apple's disputed repair policies


08:00, March 29, 2013

BEIJING, March 28 (Xinhua) -- China's commerce market watchdog on Thursday pledged to strengthen regulations concerning infringements of customer's rights, such as the adoption of differentiating repair policies by Apple.

The State Administration for Industry and Commerce said it has issued a notice asking local industry and commerce authorities to enhance legal supervision over Apple's imparity clauses in its warranty policies.

"Local authorities should investigate and punish illegal acts according to law," according to the notice.

The announcement came after national broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) accused Apple of offering discriminatory after-sales services in China in a March 15 broadcast.

The company offers shorter warranty periods in China compared with other countries and uses refurbished parts when repairing broken devices, according to CCTV.

Apple's repair policies led to a number of complaints in last year and caused some provincial consumer watchdogs to include the firm on a company integrity blacklist.

In August last year, Apple fine-tuned parts of the controversial repair policies.

In an earlier announcement, the China Consumers' Association, the country's top consumer watchdog, said Apple could further improve its efforts to guarantee the legal rights and interests of its customers, stating that most of the unfair clauses have still not been addressed or corrected.

The latest intensifying criticism on Apple, though widely hailed by consumers for speaking up for them, has also stirred backfires from those who believe CCTV has been singling out foreign companies for blame while deliberately ignoring the many flaws of domestic firms.

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