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Hard Times At Apple: Apology To China Comes As Stock Slides

People line up to enter a newly-opened Apple Store in Wangfujing shopping district in Beijing.
Andy Wong
People line up to enter a newly-opened Apple Store in Wangfujing shopping district in Beijing.

In an unusual move on Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook apologized to Chinese customers over the company's warranty policy and vowed to improve customer service in the country.

As the New York Times reports, Apple's apology was the latest in a series of odd spectacles unfolding in China in regard to its warranty policies in the nation, where many of its products are manufactured.

"Every year on International Consumers' Day, China's biggest state-run television network broadcasts an investigative report on how companies operating in China cheat or mistreat consumers. This year, on March 15, one of the targets was Apple.

China Central Television criticized the American company's after-sales iPhone customer service in China because it only gives a one-year warranty while in China the law is two years. It also said that phone owners have to pay about $90 to replace a faulty back cover."

Apple did not respond immediately to the allegations, but the issue gained steam as more state media outlets added more criticism. The People's Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Communist Party, also published a series of editorials and articles, including one paper titled "Defeat Apple's Incomparable Arrogance."

Cook's apology came in the form of a letter posted on Apple's Chinese website.

"We are aware that a lack of communications...led to the perception that Apple is arrogant and doesn't care or attach enough importance to consumer feedback," Mr. Cook said, according to the letter. "We express our sincere apologies for any concerns or misunderstandings this gave consumers."

Business Insider posted the full apology on its website.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Cook also said in the letter that the company would review and amend its warranty policies for the iPhone 4 and 4S, streamline its customer feedback and be more clear about its warranty policy on its website and with resellers.

The news comes as Apple's stock continues to slide, a dip that began last September, when the company was trading at just over $700 a share. The company was trading at $428 a share as of this writing.

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