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March 8, 2013

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Apple promises to use new parts

APPLE'S five authorized service providers in Shanghai yesterday promised to use new parts to repair iPhones and lock stolen iPhones when contacted by police, addressing two of the biggest complaints of users of the smartphone.

The promises came after an accusation by the China Consumers Association in 2012 calling Apple's repair clauses "unfair." One clause states that customers will allow Apple to use either new or reconditioned parts in repairs, and that the replaced parts belong to Apple Inc.

Companies should use new components rather than used ones during the warranty period, according to China's repair and return rules on computers and mobile phones.

The providers said they will lock stolen iPhones in their service network once they receive information from police.

Apple has drawn the ire of consumers who said they tracked their stolen iPhones to outlets of Apple's authorized providers, but could not get them back. The smartphones would be resold as new by second-hand cell phone retailers after they were reconditioned by Apple's service providers.

Stolen phones often sold

A local consumer surnamed Xiao said she found her stolen mobile phone, lost in Nanjing, at the Yangpu District outlet of Bybon Electronic Technology Co, an authorized service provider of Apple, through its international mobile equipment identity, the Shanghai Morning Post reported.

She went to the store, but was told it could not be returned.

The newspaper quoted an unidentified salesperson of second-hand mobile phones as saying "whitewashing" of stolen smartphones was a common practice.

During reconditioning, parts of the iPhones usually are changed, making them look like new.

Consumers should alert police once they find an iPhone has been stolen, because the phone will be locked only when service providers receive information from police.

iPhones bought overseas are authorized to be repaired in the city.

Apple remained silent on China Consumers Association's criticism other clauses, such as the policy saying the company is responsible for the cost of repairs only if damage is caused during repair. Apple says that it isn't responsible for repairing products that are broken during transportation.


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