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Apple Korea faces antitrust probe

Apple Korea has found itself under the spotlight in South Korea over its repair contracts.

South Korea’s antitrust watchdog Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said today it is checking possible unfair provisions in contracts signed between Apple Korea and local electronic repair companies.

The FTC did not elaborate on details but said it confirmed there were unfair clauses that favored the electronics giant.

“The probe was launched by the commission based on suspicions, with investigators processing all the information gathered,” FTC chief Jeong Jae-chan said.

He predicted that results of the review will be made public soon. He said because many consumers used iPhones in the country, the investigation should generate considerable interest.

The latest examination follows the corporate regulator’s recent order that eight local repair companies and mobile operators must change their customer service rules that unfairly restrict the rights of consumers.

Repair firms, such as UBase Inc., Peach Valley and Beyond Tech Co, along with mobile operators SK Telecom and KT, were ordered to make changes earlier in the year.

An FTC official said that while the ruling against repair firms involved businesses and consumers, the latest ongoing actions target business-to-business arrangements.

Besides Apple, the FTC said it plans to release repair information by all mobile phone manufacturers within the year, so consumers can personally check how companies fix gadgets.

Information will be provided by the Korea Consumer Agency on Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics and Apple, with data to go into such matters as costs, how repairs are made, the time it takes to fix broken devices and related procedures that must be followed, it added.

 

  • Original reporting by Yonhap.

 

 

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