Celebrity conspiracy as Apple attacked over customer service
'8:20 Party' of Chinese celebs all posted anti-Apple comments at same time
Eagle-eyed weibo fans in China have uncovered what appears to be a pre-meditated and co-ordinated attempt to smear Apple following a high profile consumer rights programme on national TV which slammed the firm for its customer service.
The broadcast on state-run CCTV – a hugely popular and influential consumer rights programme shown on 15 March every year – went after local firms too, but it was the lead segment on Apple which caused the biggest stir, according to TeaLeafNation.
The programme alleged that in China Apple doesn’t replace customers’ iPhones when they request a new device due to a fault, but instead fixes only specific parts. This means that the firm doesn’t have to reset the warranty period under local laws. Elsewhere in the world Apple hands over a new phone.
This apparent discrimination against Chinese users led many on social media to call for a boycott of the firm’s products in the People’s Republic.
However, things took a turn for the sinister after Taiwanese film star Peter Ho apparently posted the following message the next night, at around 8.20pm, in response to the news programme, commonly referred to as “315”:
#315isLive# Wow, Apple has so many tricks in its after-sales services. As an Apple fan, I’m hurt. You think this would be acceptable to Steve Jobs? Or to those young people who sold their kidneys [to buy iPads]? It’s really true that big chains treat customers poorly. Post around 8:20.
Drawing attention even more to his apparent slip including the last sentence, "Post around 8:20), which led Ho to claim his phone had been stolen and that the incriminating message had been posted by someone else.
However, eagle-eyed weibo followers began to notice a pattern – other celebs had all posted similar sentiments at around the same time.
It’s unclear whether the stunt was arranged by an Apple competitor - Ho has reportedly promoted Samsung kit in the past - or whether CCTV itself has tried to drum support up for its high profile report with some ethically dubious tactics.
However, the fact that Sina Weibo apparently began censoring all mention of the newly dubbed “8.20 Party” could point to government involvement somewhere along the way.
Shady shenanigans on the Chinternet is nothing new, of course.
A whole industry has sprung up over the past few years providing “PR and marketing” services to firms, which can range from deleting negative posts from social media to actively posting negative messages on competitors.
In August last year four Baidu employees were sacked and three of them arrested on suspicion of receiving bribes from these type of firms in return for deleting user-generated content from one of the firm’s sites.
Apple couldn't immediately be reached for comment. ®
Is it a big deal?
...that Apple replaces the parts in China, rather than the whole phone?
When my washing machine breaks down within warranty, I don't expect a brand new washing machine. I expect a prompt service, where a guy comes out and replaces the failed part. See also: my car, my TV, my bicycle, my cooker etc etc.
As long as your phone comes back working as it should, does it really matter whether they replaced a component, or the entire electronic contents, or even replaced the entire phone? As long as Apple meets it's warranty obligations promptly and without question, who really gives a shit?
Was it clever to do that?
Makes me wonder whether Mr. Ho deliberately added/neglected to exclude the "8;20" business--to increase the chances he'll never be asked to do something so obviously calculated again. Strange, head-tilting quality to the Ho-le thing, really.
Anyway, if the powers that be are behind the curtain... devious, but incredibly amateurish puppetry.
Re: The real question is...
I asked the "I Ching Online"
"Was the smear against Apple as tweeted by the 8:20 party truthful or not?"
Cast Hexagram: 23 - Twenty-Three : Po / Splitting Apart
"The weight of the Mountain presses down upon a weak foundation of Earth: The Superior Person will use this time of oppression to attend to the needs of those less fortunate. Any action would be ill-timed. Stand fast."
"This is a situation easily mistaken for Stagnation (Hexagram 12) or Revolution (Hexagram 49). It just depends on which side you're on. During a time of Stagnation, human worms invade to feed on the decay. During a time of Revolution, oppression is being overthrown. But in this situation, oppressors are violently seizing power. Pay special heed when you receive this hexagram, because the oracle is often warning you of a situation of which you are totally unaware. You are about to be blindsided."
So probably not, but this sounds like even more ominous things are in the offing.