Apple to Offer New Replacement iPhones Instead of Refurbished Units in South Korea

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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.

Top Rated Comments

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116 months ago

I won't lie, but Apple refurbs are immaculate. I'm even considering buying a refurbished iPad because of how indistinguishable they are to a new device.


I agree.

I often buy Apple's refurbished products and never had issues with them.

But if I bought something new and it went south, I'd expect a new replacement.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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116 months ago
It would be nice if they brought that policy elsewhere. It would stink if you bought a brand new phone, two weeks later it breaks, and you have to get a refurbished phone after just buying a brand new phone.

I won't lie, but Apple refurbs are immaculate. I'm even considering buying a refurbished iPad because of how indistinguishable they are to a new device.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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116 months ago
To be honest, Apple has always had a ****** return policy. I hope this results in improvements in all countries.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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116 months ago
I bought a refurbished iPod nano (5th gen) once from the online refurb store and it arrived with a faulty screen (slight, constant flickers) and a shifting click wheel. That put me off to refurbs until I realized that I've had quality control problems with nearly every Apple item I've bought new in the past 3 years. That said, it goes to show you, it doesn't matter if it's refurbished or not- the chances of receiving a defective product are the same (or possibly less) than if one purchased a new unit. Apple's quality control is not the best new or refurbished. This policy is merely for people who have a disillusioned belief that new = less likely to have issues. Not the case with Apple.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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116 months ago

Its the same thing in the US we have 30 days to return/exchange the iPhone.
Anyone in the US who is getting a refurb within the 1st 30 days is being duped.

No one in the US is getting a refurb phone at any point.

Refurbs are post customer. In the US for sure, they can't use them as service parts because of privacy risks. Other countries may have different mileage on this due to their own laws. Maybe in South Korea, refurbs are fine. Thus they are used.

In the US at least what they do get are remanufactured phones. These are phones that have failed factory testing on one or two parts. The bad parts are replaced and the unit is retested. Then packaged as a service part. They have never been touched by a customer or 'used' beyond the testing process.

Despite the issue of laws, I'm betting all countries get the same 'remanufactured' units. Not actual refurbs and the issue is actually staff error in using the wrong terminology.

Also if we were to look at the South Korean policy text I'll put down odds that the phrase used is "replacement unit" not "new unit". Apple is very careful about that term because of the implications.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
116 months ago
Its the same thing in the US we have 30 days to return/exchange the iPhone.
Anyone in the US who is getting a refurb within the 1st 30 days is being duped.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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