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Apple blacklisted by Chinese consumer watchdog

Support policies earn scorn as punters air grievances

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A Chinese consumer rights group has slammed Apple’s after-sales service as unfair and placed it on an “integrity blacklist” after numerous complaints about maintenance and support.

The China Consumer Association in the southern province of Guangdong released a report into the tech giant’s support policies last week, citing strong customer dissatisfaction with how they have been treated, according to National Business Daily (via MIC Gadget).

The report highlighted the case of a customer named Wang who took his iPhone 4 in to be repaired within the warranty period. Although Apple replaced all the parts it refused to renew the warranty.

The report into consumer complaints levelled in the first half of 2012 singled out foreign electronics brands for poor after-sales service policies, but the fruity toy maker has been getting the most heat thanks to its high profile and previous run-ins.

The China Consumer Association has already pointed to a clause in Apple’s repair policy as unfair. It apparently states that the firm can use old spare parts to repair its kit, and requires that users agree to hand over any defective parts back to Apple, raising suspicions that it may be using these to repair other devices.

There have also been complaints about Apple’s refusal to accept responsibility for any damage to a product incurred in transit – which apparently impinges on Chinese consumer rights laws.

Time will tell whether such grievances affect consumer perception of the fruity electronics brand in the People’s Republic.

Considering the firm lost over $2 billion in revenues in Q3 thanks to slowing iPhone sales, it could do without such publicity in the world’s biggest smartphone market.

Apple did not immediately reply to a request for comment. ®

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