Chinese consumer associations fight over Apple's overbearing clauses

Chinese consumer associations fight over Apple's overbearing clauses

Summary: Several consumer associations in different parts of China are jointly criticizing Apple's maintenance terms, including the use of spare parts, the ownership of old spare parts, and compensation for repairs, as these clauses are deemed unfair to consumers in the territory.

TOPICS: Apple, Hardware

According to local newspaper the Beijing News, the China Consumers Association -- a government funded consumer watchdog group -- last week  called on its arms in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing, Jiangsu and Shandong to look into the issues regarding Apple’s maintenance raised by many Chinese consumers, among which they found at least five “unfairness” terms.

One of the repair clauses requires customers to allow Apple to use refurbished parts to fix products, and deem the old spare parts to be owned by Apple. The Association said the terms are in violation of the “Three Guarantees to Consumers” stipulated in China, which requires Apple to always use brand-new parts for repair when products are returned with the warranty period. It added that if consumers have paid for services after the conclusion of the warranty period, they are entitled to decide who should keep the replaced parts.

Another Apple clause indicated that the company is only responsible for the cost of repairs if damage is caused while the product is being repaired, and it will assume responsibility for damage or loss of data, procedures, or removable storage media. The consumer watchdog group said Apple has limited the scope and amount of the repair compensation and even exempts the responsibility of operators, which “should be invalid provisions”.

The group added that Apple should be held accountable for data losses in cases where it occurs as a result of botched repairs. Current policies have freed its authorized maintenance centers from accountability.

The Association also criticized other maintenance clauses, including damages due to transport reasons will not enjoy free repair, and failure to take products deemed as a waiver of ownership. The latter was even suspected as illegal seizure of property of the consumers, commented the group.

Apple didn’t comment on these accusations so far today.

According to local reports on Thursday, some local Chinese Industrial and Commercial Bureaus have initiated investigations on the matter.

Topics: Apple, Hardware

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  • Of course they want Apple to use brand new parts

    as those parts are made in China, and would force Apple to keep ordering new parts, which would guarantee that the Chineese workers will still have jobs, even if that part is discontinued.
    William Farrel
    • I'm not a Chinese and I still want Apple to use new parts.

      When I bought my iPod I was offered an optional one-year warranty. I declined because I thought, Apple's high quality products won't need that within one year.
      Then in a few months the switch on/off button broke and I learned that it was a problem many people were experiencing.
      Because my 3-month basic warranty had already expired I was proposed to exchange my broken unit for a new one (refurbished) for the price of $ 75 which is almost 50% of the price I paid for the original product. All of that because of a switch button and I'm not even sure that refurbished parts are as good as new ones. Also they took away my old iPod. I felt a little speechless and powerless.
      At this margin of profit, and operation mode, no wonder their cash safes are bursting with money.
  • Not a surprise

    I can remember the first time I took my 1 month old 3GS in for a defect (charging would intermittently cut out), they attempted to replace it with a refurb unit. Had to push back to get a new one. Completely different experience when I had an issue with my SGS2 (stopped reading SIM card) - ATT handed me a new one no questions asked.

    So no, not a surprise.
    • That's hardly an experience unique to Apple

      at least as far as smartphones - I had an issue with an older BB Curve (the one with the trackball) and I went to VZW to get it straight, it was determined to be an issue they could not fix in house and I was sent a refurbished unit. Sprint does the same thing. Your experience with AT&T and your SGS2 is rather unique in my experience.
    • Standard warranty terms...

      ...for most products, read that you will receive a refurbished unit at the discretion of the manufacturer or dealer (whoever handles the warranty) if they can not repair it. Your experience with the SGS2 is something I have not heard of in a long time, and unless you personally have tracked it back to the manufacturer, I personally doubt you really got a new one. It is far more likely you got a refurbished unit in packaging that does not say so as clearly as it is supposed to.
  • Nothing surprising in the attitude of the Chinese Consumer Association ;

    what is surprising is that corresponding associations in other countries have allowed Apple to get away with forcing consumers to accept such terms. Are Apple users aware of these facts ? If so, I must confess that I am surprised that Apple has any customers at all. Regulatory agencies - to the extent that any have survived the current round of deregulatory madness - should take a long hard look at this firm and its predatory practices....

  • Oh yes

    Why I do not use Apple or consider any Apple anything as desirable.
  • Warranty replacement.

    That's why I didn't bother to get an expensive extended warranty with my Vizeo T.V. Between "refurbished" parts, and shipping charges (and only one repair allowed), it would cost more than a new unit!
    Today, by the time a unit quits, a new one has so many improvements that it's not worth repair! They know, and plan on this attitude - so why use new parts?
  • Apple, Shmapple!

    The Hell with Apple. Steve Jobs and Tim Cook! Hope Jobs is in hell standing in a pool of s**t up to his nostrils for Eternity. Same for Cook when he bites it. (hope it's a gun) Apple should be American Enemy #1 for getting their crap built in China for almost nothing, then selling to Americans for HUGE PROFITS. and then screwing those same customers with USED PARTS!!!!
    Remember when Packard-Bell was kicked out of the American Market for using used parts in their PC's.
    Same thing should be done to A**hole, whoops, I mean Apple!
    Denny Fry
    • Computer Schputer

      Please post a detailed list of computer manufacturers that do not manufacture in China, so we can all use only American made machines.
      While you are at it, please post a list of all OEMs that only fix broken units with new parts.

      Double standard much?!?
  • <nt>

  • "Government funded" is the key

    That would imply Communist Party control, so no surprise that consumer associations in different parts of the country are saying the same thing.
    John L. Ries