Apple clarifies warranty policy in China amid state-press criticism

Criticism came after China's state-run CCTV network aired a segment on Apple's warranty policies

Apple is in the midst of another public relations battle in China and is trying to clarify its warranty policies, as local-state controlled press continue to slam the U.S. company for allegedly offering subpar warranty services to Chinese customers.

On Saturday, Apple said its warranty policies for the country were roughly the same as those in the U.S. and other regions, but also meet Chinese laws. This came after state-run television network CCTV aired a segment on March 15 alleging that Apple's customers abroad received better warranty support than those in China.

Much of the criticism has been directed at how Apple repairs faulty iPhones that are under warranty. Outside of China, according to CCTV, Apple will replace broken handsets covered under warranty, but for Chinese customers, Apple will only replace their phones' internal components.

Wang Hai, a consumer advocate in China, agreed with the criticism in CCTV's report. But he also said under Chinese law Apple is not required to replace the entire phone when repairs are needed.

The U.S. company said in most cases it will replace a faulty iPhone 5 with an entirely new handset due to its special design. A defective iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S, however, will in certain cases be repaired with a new screen, antenna and other internal components, leaving the outer case intact. This is done to expedite service, and ensure the handset can be returned to the customer on the same day, it said.

"Our group is always striving to exceed consumers' expectations, and show great attention to every consumer's opinions and recommendations," Apple added in its online statement.

CCTV's report also criticized Apple for not restarting the one-year warranty on phones that received extensive repairs. By only replacing the internal components of the phone rather than replacing the whole device, Apple also avoids a requirement in Chinese law that it restart the device's one-year warranty, CCTV alleged.

China's state-run press followed up by rejecting Apple's comments as self-serving. On Monday, an editorial in the People's Daily newspaper alleged that Apple had a "double standard" with its repair services, and had yet to make clear its warranty policies.

"In addressing the after sales service double standard, Apple decided to only issue a 200-word statement that was full of empty talk and self-recognition, and furthermore offered no solution," the front-page editorial said.

It's not the first time Apple has faced PR troubles in China, now one of its largest markets. Last year, the company wrestled with a legal dispute over the iPad trademark in the country that soon escalated into a war of words with a Chinese company. In addition, Apple has also faced negative publicity for its working conditions and environmental record at its various suppliers in the country, including Foxconn.

But this time, the criticism against Apple's repair policies has generated conspiracy theories over why China's state-run press is targeting the company so harshly. Following CCTV's initial report, local internet users pointed to evidence that one celebrity was possibly paid to write a negative Internet post about Apple's customer service.

Whatever the motive, the criticism risks hurting Apple's reputation in China at a time when rivals such as Samsung are also building up their corporate brand, said Nicole Peng, an analyst with research firm Canalys. In last year's fourth quarter, Samsung was China's largest smartphone vendor, followed by domestic companies Lenovo, Yulong Computer Telecommunication Scientific, Huawei and ZTE.

"The public doesn't really know if the (CCTV) report is true or not, but they will probably believe it, because they don't know what is happening in other markets," she said. "I think in this case if Apple doesn't respond, their corporate image will be damaged."

Apple declined to comment.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Appleconsumer electronicsregulationgovernment

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?