March 18, 2013
Apple, Volkswagen Targeted By Chinese Consumer Rights Show
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
A two-hour primetime television program that aired Friday on government controlled China Central Television took aim at technology giant Apple and automobile manufacturer Volkswagen, accusing both of poor customer-service practices and other issues.
According to Laurie Burkitt of the Wall Street Journal, the special — which was aired as part of World Consumer Rights Day — accused the Cupertino, California-based iPad and iPhone manufacturer of instituting inferior customer-service policies for the Chinese market and for attempting to get around warranty periods.
Furthermore, the Xinhua news agency reports that the company is being accused of unfair or discriminatory practices in China, including offering customers shorter warranty periods than other markets and using refurbished parts for repairs. Burkitt added that the special also included interviews with several Apple employees who admitted to the company´s wrongdoing.
In a statement reprinted by Reuters, Apple China said, "Our team is always striving to exceed our customers' expectations, and we take any customer concerns very seriously."
Bloomberg attempted to contact the company´s spokesperson in China, Carolyn Wu, but said that she neither answered her mobile phone nor responded to an email seeking comment on the televised report.
As for Volkswagen (VW), the second-largest automaker in the world was called upon to recall cars with faulty direct-shift gearboxes, according to International Business Times writer Jerin Mathew.
He added that a statement by China´s consumer watchdog group, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), has been investigating the issue with the defective direct-shift gearbox (DSG) transmissions for more than a year.
In some models, the gearboxes could lead to engine power failures, sudden acceleration, or unusual vibrations, Bloomberg News added In an emailed statement, VW spokesman Christoph Ludewig told Bloomberg that the company would “contact the involved customers to fix the issue as quickly as we can.”
“Customer satisfaction is always our priority,” he added. “We will spare no effort to make improvement in the future.”
Local companies were also targeted by the CCTV´s annual 3:15 report, which was named after the date of the consumer right´s day on which it is broadcast. According to reports, two of the firms mentioned were domestic pharmaceutical companies charged with misleading advertising, and an auto dealer which allegedly sold cars with rusted chassis. Past shows have taken aim at fast food giant McDonalds and French retailer Carrefour SA.