Apple has been pressured into changing its iPhone returns policy in South Korea following complaints from regulators. The South Korea Fair Trade Commission insisted the Cupertino company changes the way in which it handles defective iPhones that are returned within one month, and after a 12-month wait Apple has complied.
Apple’s existing policy in stores all over the world is to replace faulty iPhones with refurbished ones — no matter how long you’ve had them. However, that will no longer be the case in South Korea. Devices returned within one month will now be replaced with brand new units. Alternatively, customers can ask for free repairs or a complete refund.
Just under 12 months ago, South Korean lawmakers summoned Apple’s senior director for iPhone service, Farrel Farhoudi, to answer questions on the company’s customer service. Back then, Farhoudi assured customers that Apple’s terms were in compliance with the company’s rules and that it had no plans to change them.
It’s unlikely the returns policy will be changed in other territories, but I really don’t think it needs to be. Sure, it’s not nice to think that your brand new iPhone is replaced with a refurbished one after just one week, but to you and I, the refurbished device is no different. They are given a complete overhaul by Apple before they’re sold on and come with a warranty that matches that of the device they are replacing.
South Korea is the first country to have convinced Apple to change its returns policy for its popular smartphone, however, that still won’t please many South Korean customers. 27,000 of them currently have a class action lawsuit filed against the Cupertino company for alleged privacy violations that stemmed from the ‘locationgate’ fiasco. They are seeking $26 million — or $912 each — in compensation.