Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook Monday issued a signed apology letter to its Chinese clients after what the Chinese media called customer discrimination with complaints running in state-run media for two weeks, its second largest market after US.
Chinese consumers felt discriminated against on Apple’s warranty policies on iPhone 4 and 4S as they accused the firm of not replacing the entire phones promised in other markets but required the Chinese consumers to retain the back covers of their phones and replace only the parts.
Cook apologized for misunderstandings created by what he said poor communication with Apple Inc’s Chinese consumers.
He said: “We are aware that a lack of communications…led to the perception that Apple is arrogant and doesn’t care or attach enough importance to consumer feedback. We express our sincere apologies for any concerns or misunderstandings this gave consumers.”
Cook’s apology follows weeks of heated media reports against the firm in the republic of China with powerful state-run media firms like The China Central Television and The People’s Daily run reports accusing Apple of discriminating against the Chinese consumers by adapting different user policies contrary to what Apple was doing in US and European markets.
The media reports termed Apple as arrogant and biased.
However, CEO Tim Cook in the letter assured its Chinese consumers that Apple will amend its warranty policies for the iPhone 4 and 4S in the country, work on its customer feedback and train further Apple authorized resellers in the country on warranty policy and have the clear warranty policy posted on its website.
Apple sold devices worth $23.8 billion in China in 2012, 15% of its total revenue and up by over $10 billion the previous year. This clarification may help the firm increase its sales in the country again as in the letter Apple has extend warranties on repaired iPhone 4 and 4S models to one year and all buyers with broken iPhone 4 or 4S will have them replaced with new ones contrary to its its policy of replacing all the parts except the phone’s back cover which has been criticized.
iPhone replacement aside, a Chinese company called Shanghai Animation Film Studio is suing Apple for allegedly selling its movies on iTunes without its consent. The firm, seeking $500,000 in damages says its 110 movies were sold illegally on iTunes.