Bloomberg reports that Apple has revised its warranty replacement policy for iPhones in South Korea under pressure from regulators, now offering customers returning their defective phones within the first month of ownership the option of receiving brand-new replacement phones rather than refurbished units as has been standard policy.
Consumers who find defects in their iPhones within a month of purchase will receive new devices instead of refurbished ones, the Fair Trade Commission said in a statement today. South Korea became the first country to convince Apple to change its global customer policy, the commission said. Steve Park, a Seoul-based spokesman for Apple, declined to comment on the change.
Korean iPhone buyers have complained Apple only gives devices refurbished with used parts when there are problems with the product, even though its service warranty states customers can get refunds, new phones or free repairs, the commission said. Under the revision, consumers have the right to choose between the options, the regulator said.
The policy change comes after Korean lawmakers summoned Apple iPhone executive Farrel Farhoudi to the country's parliament last October to address concerns over Apple's policy of offering refurbished units as warranty replacements.
Questions over warranty replacements are not the only concerns facing Apple in South Korea, as a customer was recently awarded nearly $1000 in a lawsuit over the collection of iPhone location data. That decision has led to a $25 million class-action lawsuit covering about 27,000 iPhone users in the country.