Tim Cook issues open letter apologizing for warranty issues in China

By , Apr 1, 2013

asian apple store

If you’ve been reading the news lately, you’ve probably heard that Apple’s been having some major difficulties in China. Over the last few weeks, it’s been getting bashed by the state-run CCTV network and Chinese celebrities over its warranty policies.

The main issue is that some folks believe Apple provides customers in China with worse after-purchase service than it does in other countries, with reports claiming it replaces their goods with recycled components instead of new ones like in the US.

Apple has been fairly quiet on the criticism, until today…

This morning, the company published an open letter from Tim Cook to its official website in China, formally apologizing for the “misunderstandings” regarding their warranty policies and announcing that its going to be making some changes.

Among the changes Cook noted is that Apple will be improving its repair policy for the iPhone 4 and 4S, and he said that the company would provide better information about warranties on its website and improve its retail staff and support training.

Here are the four major points outlined in the letter:

-Improved repair policies for the iPhone 4 and 4S handsets

-A new “concise and clear” statement on its website regarding repair and warranty polices

-Increased supervision and training for Apple’s authorized service providers.

-A new feedback service that makes it easier for customers to contact the company with issues or complaints.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out, as China is the largest market for smartphone and tablet sales. Citi analyst Glen Yeung believes this whole mess could end up costing the iPad-maker in upwards of $13 billion, if it can’t reverse course soon.

Here’s a translation of Cook’s full letter via AppleInsider:

To our Chinese consumers:

In the past two weeks, we have received a lot of feedback about Apple in China repair and warranty policy. 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. We are aware that, due to the lack of external communication in this process and lead to the speculation that Apple arrogance, do not care or do not attach importance to consumer feedback. We express our sincere apologies for any concerns or misunderstandings this gives consumers.

In order to further improve the level of service, we are implementing the following four major adjustment:

Improved iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S repair policy
Provide a concise and clear on the website of the official Apple repair and warranty policy statement
Increase the intensity of the supervision and training of Apple Authorized Service Provider
Related issues to ensure that consumers can easily contact Apple Feedback Service
At the same time, we also realize that operating in China, and communicate much we need to learn the place. Here, we assure you, Apple for the commitment and enthusiasm indistinguishable from other countries. Bring the best user experience for consumers and satisfactory service is our ideals, our commitment, and it has been deeply rooted in Apple’s corporate culture. We will make unremitting efforts to achieve this goal.

iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S repair policy improvements are as follows:
So far, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S repair this in one of three ways: as from the purchase date of 15 days found the problem, we will be entitled to a refund or replacement for consumers recalculated 1 year warranty period iPhone; 15 days after discovery problem, Apple will replace the part depending, such as camera modules or batteries; replacement parts also can not quickly repaired the iPhone, Apple will provide consumers with a part reassembled new parts, retaining only the consumers existing iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S back cover.

Nearly 90% of customers expressed satisfaction with our repair services, and consumer satisfaction is the most important criterion for Apple to measure its own success.

But others suggested that part of the re-assembly of repair almost replace the machine, so the direct replacement of a device will be more beneficial to consumers. Therefore, since April 2013, Apple iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S service pack upgrade for all 1-year warranty on new equipment replacement parts and replacement date recalculated.

Consumer iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider has been part of the re-assembly kit maintenance, we will replace them as whole and for maintenance after the iPhone recalculated from the date of repair year warranty. Apple’s warranty system has been updated for the information and, therefore, affected consumers do not need to take any additional action.

Now, all consumers can see on our site clear and comprehensive maintenance and warranty policy terms and conditions.
We are pleased to provide consumers with information who wish to learn more about the after-sales service. For example, we have been to provide 2 year warranty for the MacBook Air and Mac computer motherboards and other major components. Likewise, the the iPad main components has been entitled to a 2-year warranty period, and other components for 1 year warranty.

We realize that our site before this is not clearly stated policy. Hope the following will answer all the questions about Apple provides services.

Apple is to make greater efforts to ensure that Apple Authorized Service Provider to follow our policies, and make every effort to provide consumers with the highest quality service.
Week since March 18, 2013, we made a new training materials for all Apple Authorized Service Provider to ensure that each staff provide services for Apple products is not only familiar with our policies, but also to grasp three guarantees “provisions and related policies. The same time, we have taken the initiative through face-to-face meetings and other forms of verification and to ensure that each Apple Authorized Service Provider have opened training courses to update the knowledge of the staff for the maintenance and warranty policies. We will make unremitting efforts and continuous monitoring of the performance of the Apple Authorized Service Provider to ensure that consumers can get the highest quality service.

Now, the feedback service-related issues is also very convenient.
As the consumers of the services provided by any Apple Store retail store or an Apple authorized service provider doubt, to Welcome www.apple.com.cn/support/service/feedback/ directly get in touch with us. Our goal is to consumers where to buy Apple products or receive services, users can enjoy world-class experience.

Heartfelt thank you to give us valuable feedback, we always harbor immense respect to China, the Chinese consumer is always the top priority of our hearts.

Tim Cook

What’s your take on this whole situation? Will Cook’s letter help change the conversation?

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  • lwd2136

    CCTV ? CCAV

    • Melvco
    • batongxue

      It is CCAV. LOL. Everybody in China knows its name.

    • http://www.facebook.com/BikenNo.9 Biken Dangol

      It’s a national Channel name of China.

      • intoskip

        中国中央电视台。但是在中国人们喜欢把CCTV叫成CCAV,完全是一种讽刺~

  • Ernie Marin

    Funny, as soon as they start to move the manufacturers from China the service starts declining.

    • http://www.facebook.com/tafk1 Taf Khan

      I had issues with 4 handset having cosmetic imperfections in the weeks just after the iPhone 5 coming out, all handsets were made in china. Don’t think it’s anything other than quality control, nothing to do with location.

  • WolfgangHoltz

    Hahaha. Get rid of Tim Cook before he drag the company into dust.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tafk1 Taf Khan

    When things get the attention of Mr Cooke, they get sorted.

    I found Tim’s email address on 9-5 Mac forums after having issues with the first four iPhone 5 handsets which all had cosmetic imperfections straight out of the box, the fifth after emailing was just fine.

    The £85 compensation for the hassle was also a nice gesture.

    Every time Apple sent a replacement it was always New and never refurb stock.

  • Antzboogie

    …..

  • http://www.facebook.com/Tommyg80 Tommy Gumbs

    Is it me or was that letter hard to read? The sentence structures at times seemed very odd and fragmented at times. Unles Cook wrote that on an ipad and got owned by the auto correct, this man should not be CEO with writing like that.

    • Justin

      It’s translated, bro.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Tommyg80 Tommy Gumbs

        Lol. Is it? I has been a long day. Thanks for the heads up.

  • intoskip

    中国的CCTV实在是太强大了…… 人民日报连续5天指责苹果,苹果这下终于受不住了。哈哈~

    • hkgsulphate

      Hope ur being sarcastic
      your arrogance(common in mainland Chinese) disgusts everyone

  • http://twitter.com/samerised Sam L.

    I read the original chinese letter. Tim Cook got a good translator.