Apple’s Mac and iPhone products, out of warranty and unfair trade practice in India!

Even now, I am a fan of Steve Jobs, his innovative jobs, especially the interface of applications and software operating systems are fabulous, which actually defined Apple Inc’s steady growth over the decades. May be my perception is wrong, but recently I have arrived to a opinion that Apple products are being launched, packaged, sold, and supported with unfair trade practices. What do you think about it?

In my opinion hundreds of thousands of Mac and iPhone customers in India are helplessly affected by the unworthy products, upgrades, new launches, heavily priced, frequent failures, and illogical service coverage and repair remedies.

In the eye of common law, Apple’s service rules in Indian territory looks like an unfair trade practice followed by Apple.

The primary thing is that, US and India markets are like East and West, Value of currency is North and South. To explain it in a simple logic, an average employee in US, if he spends an average of 1% of his monthly salary, he could afford a new or upgraded phone, But in India, an average employee must spend about 20% of his monthly salary to buy an Apple iPhone. It is completely discriminative is not it?

Apple’s Vintage and Obsolete Policy

On the other hand, warranty, service terms and conditions, products policy of Vintage and Obsolete is an absolute non-sense for the Indian market and consumers. Because, the following elaboration on Apple Policy on Mac products , Service after warranty, and cost of  iPhone screen replacements proving to be the disaster for the Indian Consumers.

Well, from the policy perspective,  according to apple’s definition on Vintage and Obsolete products policy, which  is available in the Apple Inc’s corporate website (https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201624)  pronounces as follows.

“Owners of iPhone, iPad, iPod, or Mac products may obtain service and parts from Apple or Apple service providers for 5 years after the product is no longer manufactured—or longer where required by law. Apple has discontinued support for certain technologically obsolete and vintage products.”

Further, the above page’s information defines that “Vintage products are those that have not been manufactured for more than 5 and less than 7 years ago. Apple has discontinued hardware service for vintage products with the following exceptions, which itself proves as a discriminative policy for different origin of customers.

But, it gives exception to Turkey.  Like, “Mac products purchased in the country of Turkey. Owners of vintage Mac products may obtain service and parts from Apple service providers within the country of Turkey.

And, also exception for Products purchased in the state of California, United States, as required by statute

Owners of vintage Mac products may obtain service and parts from Apple service providers within the state of California, United States.

Owners of vintage iPod products in the state of California may obtain service from Apple Retail Stores or by contacting AppleCare at 1-800-APL-CARE.

Owners of vintage iPhone products in the state of California may obtain service from Apple Retail Stores or by contacting AppleCare at 1-800-APL-CARE.

Special status for France, For products purchased in France, see Statutory Warranties of Seller and Spare Parts.”

On Indian Soil?

However, the information page does not disclose any information about customers in India, or about any Apple Authorized Provider, who could provide spare parts and service for the Vintage products that are between 5 to 7 years.

As such, the trade practice followed by the principle company Apple Inc, by its India Registered Office, India Sales partners; Service Partners  like Imagine, Reddington, are reflecting as pure trade violations and unjustified, and shall strictly be liable under the following laws.

  1. a) Sec 2 [g], The Consumer Protection Act 1986 defines “deficiency” means any fault imperfection, shortcoming or inadequacy in the quality, nature and manner of performance which is required to be maintained by or under any law for the time being in force or has been undertaken to be performed by a person in pursuance of a contract or otherwise in relation to any service;
  2. b) Sec 2 (r) The Consumer Protection Act 1986 defines “unfair trade practice” means a trade practice which, for the purpose of promoting the sale, use or supply of any goods or for the provision of any service, adopts any unfair method or unfair or deceptive practice including any of the following practices
  3. c) Sec 2 (r) (viii) The Consumer Protection Act 1986 defines that makes to the public a representation in a form that purports to be—

(i) a warranty or guarantee of a product or of any goods or services; or

(ii) a promise to replace, maintain or repair an article or any part thereof or to repeat or continue a service until it has achieved a specified result,

If such purported warranty or guarantee or promise is materially misleading or if there is no reasonable prospect that such warranty, guarantee or promise will be carried out;

Unfair Trade

Though such laws, such as the Consumer protection Act sounds like every business that lacks deficiency would be held responsible,  It is very interesting to note that the meaning of Vintage and Obsolete naming convention is a clear unfair trade practice followed by the Apple, for that matter any Electronic Product manufacturing companies.

I think, it is important to note that though there is lot advancement in the type of materials used, technologies have grown to  large size specifications, still the kind of problems, defects occurring on the latest gadgets are many, increasing day by day. Which actually was not the case 10 years before.

I have a 21″ BPL color television which was purchased in 1998, is working fine for almost 19 years, no parts are yet to be replaced, except few capacitors, the Color television still the same as it was 10 years before.

But, you too might wonder, why every Apple product does not last  last more than3 years, is it because of the quality of components? or they upgrade the Operating System to make it incompatible with 3 year old devices and replace it with new launch.. Well, it is a nightmare, but what is very evident is that even if we consider life span is only 3 years, 1 year warranty products, such as iPhone and Mac products are still looking for service remedy at affordable cost.

Recommendation

Therefore , in the interest of public, the trade practices followed by the Apple with regard to the definitions and fundamental characteristics of a Vintage Product’s spares parts and service support with regard to India are vague are to be revived with fair treatment.

Firstly, India should be added to the exception list to provide spares and authorized service support for the Vintage products.

Secondly, enforcing new law  against the unfair trade practice that quickly upgrades and  conducting forced sales of selling new products by making above 7 years old products as obsolete is arbitrary . So that e-wastes are reduced in the interest of Environment.

Thirdly, Apple should conduct  special service drive to service all unrepaired returned products classified as Vintage products. Of course, not at the cost of replacing with new one.

And Finally,  to make provisions to supply and channelize spare parts to the authorized service providers.

I have written this to Competition Commission of India,  but I hardly received any acknowledgment in this regard. Only option remaining is to file a public interest litigation.

Thank you
Devarajan Govndaswamy

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