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China consumer group blacklists Apple

Guangdong's watchdog has placed Apple on a "company integrity" blacklist because of after-care and policy concerns.

Charlie Osborne Contributing Writer
Charlie Osborne is a cybersecurity journalist and photographer who writes for ZDNet and CNET from London. PGP Key: AF40821B.
Charlie Osborne
2 min read
The Apple Store in Hong Kong
The Apple Store in Hong Kong. Apple

The consumer watchdog based in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong has included technology giant Apple on a "company integrity" blacklist.

The company's after-sales service policies has come under fire from the China Consumer Association (CCA), which researches and monitors company and consumer policies affecting Chinese customers. Citing claims of unfair practices, National Business Daily reports that strong customer dissatisfaction within after-care has resulted in numerous complaints.

The China Consumer Association released a report documenting an investigation into the support structure and policies of the popular technology developer last week.

The report focused on a number of complaints made during the first half of 2012, including the case of a customer named Wang who needed his iPhone 4 repaired. Although it was within the official warranty period, Apple replaced the parts but refused to renew the warranty.

The Chinese report singled out a number of electronics companies that maintain "poor" after-sales care -- including some that refuse to offer such a service altogether.

The CCA has previously branded Apple's policies as "unfair," and some critics suggest that recent policy changes made by the company to alleviate some of their customer's dissatisfaction is not enough. Pointing to a clause in Apple's repair policy, according to National Business Daily, it apparently states that the technology giant is able to use old, spare parts to repair dysfunctional devices -- and as users must hand defective parts back to Apple, suspicion exists that these parts may be repaired as part of the system, to be used once more.

The China Consumer Association raises the point that potentially, Apple's current policies may impede on Chinese consumer rights and protection laws. Apparently, there have also been cases of complaints made against the company due to product damage occurred in transit -- which Apple takes no responsibility for.

There are currently no official Apple stores within the southern province of Guangdong, although recent rumors have suggested that new stores may soon be appearing within Shenzhen and Guangzhou. The nearest outlet is currently located in Hong Kong.

This story originally appeared at ZDNet's Between the Lines under the headline "Apple earns a place on Chinese blacklist."