South Korean regulators may take action against Apple

South Korean regulators are considering taking action against Apple over a growing number of complaints by consumers about bad after-sales service, according to The Korea Times.

The Fair Trade Comission (FTC), Korea Communications Comission (KCC), and Korea Consumer Agency (KCA) said that they are aware of a growing trend in consumer complaints about after-sales service for iPhones in South Korea and may be forced to take action against the company if it does not buck up.

Over 700,000 devices were sold in South Korea since it launched in November 2009, but a large portion of those customers have complained that defective phones are being sent to China for repair, resulting in lenghty periods of waiting. Other complaints mention having to pay 30,000 Won (around $25) for a “refurbished” iPhone, particularly for minor problems like a faulty earphone jack, with some of the replacement devices being used display models.

Many iPhone users are using third-party services to repair their damaged phones since it is cheaper, quicker, and provides a more friendly experience. In the case of defective devices, however, this really should not be necessary.

Apple is refusing to listen to the complaints. “Apple will not change our unique after-sales policies and related systems just for Korean consumers. iPhone users are misunderstanding our after-sales services,” said Steve Park of Apple in South Korea, who refused to comment on the specific complaints raised against the company.

“I have doubts over how long Apple will persist with its own, unique and unfriendly after-sales policies here. Without applying updated measures, it would be difficult for Apple to sell more of its products,” a representative of Korean phone company SK Telecom told The Korea Times.

An anonymous official from the Korea Communications Comission warned that “”pple should start paying attention to its flawed after-sales policies if it wants to keep its business.” With the watchful eyes of the regulators on the fruity company, that might be very good advice.