FutureFive NZ - Apple issues apology over apparent Chinese cut-backs

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Apple issues apology over apparent Chinese cut-backs

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been forced to make a signed apology to Chinese customers after the company were accused of offering second-rate repair service on its iPhones and iPads.

Following allegations from government media that the Cupertino company has discriminated against Chinese users with poor quality return and warranty policies, Cook responded to what he called a "misunderstanding" between company and consumer.

"In the past two weeks, we have received a lot of feedback about Apple in China repair and warranty policy," Cook said.

"We are not only a profound reflection on these views, together with relevant departments to carefully study the "Three Guarantees", and also look at our maintenance policy communication and combing our management specifications of Apple Authorized Service Provider."

The drama centres around the usage of refurbished parts in the country, as opposed to new, as well as the need for a review of Apple's published return and repair policies regarding the iPhone 4 and 4S.

Despite the forceful accusations, led by the current ruling political party's newspaper, People's Daily, the attacks have backfired amongst loyal Chinese Apple consumers.

But in the face of a state run media baying for its blood, Apple responded to an article headlined "Strike down Apple's incomparable arrogance."

In the statement, posted in Chinese, Cook promised that all repaired phones will now receive a new one-year warranty from the date of repair, while dismissing claims that the company does not care about customers in China.

"We are aware that, due to the lack of external communication in this process and lead to the speculation that Apple is arrogant and does not care or attach importance to consumer feedback," Cook said.

"We express our sincere apologies for any concerns or misunderstandings this gives consumers."

China is Apple's third largest market, accounting for around 13% of sales during 2012, meaning Cook was wise to bite the bullet and apologise, regardless of the facts behind the claims.

Cook, who believes China will replace North America as the company's biggest source of cash in the near future, signed off the letter in a typically cautious style:

"We appreciate the feedback that we've received, and we have a tremendous respect for China.

"Our customers here will always be central to our thoughts."

Were Apple right to apologise? Did they do anything wrong in the first place? Tell us your thoughts below

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