Chinese regulators are calling for tougher protections for consumers, and Apple’s iPhone repair policies in the country are coming under its crosshairs. State press agency Xinhua reports that the State Administration for Industry and Commerce issued a notice to local industry and commerce authorities asking for a closer look at Apple’s imparity clauses in its warranty policies, saying that “local authorities should investigate and punish illegal acts according to the law.” While Apple appears to have been named specifically, it’s not clear what regulatory steps the government plans to take.
The news follows a March 15 CCTV report that Chinese customers aren’t getting the same quality of service as American buyers, often receiving shorter warranty periods and refurbished parts. An Apple response claiming that its warranties were “roughly the same” around the world was subsequently called “empty and self-praising” in The People’s Daily, a state-run newspaper.
While the Administration’s promises to get tough on Apple could just be empty rhetoric, it’s the first time the government has stepped into the controversy. And with the US government becoming increasingly hostile to Chinese tech companies Huawei and ZTE, ostensibly over national security concerns, we aren’t holding out hope for a speedy resolution.