An executive of Apple Inc. is expected to attend a parliamentary committee hearing later this month on the after-sales service policies of the U.S.-based electronics behemoth.
Farrel Farhoudi, senior director of iPhone service operations, was scheduled to attend the hearing of the national policy committee of the National Assembly as a witness on Oct. 21.
It is considered extremely rare for an executive from the company’s headquarters to pay a visit to a legislative branch overseas.
“There’s nothing to comment on this matter,” said Steve Park, spokesman for Apple Korea.
Industry insiders, however, say that the measure was most likely put in place by Apple for it is difficult for its officials working at its overseas branch office to respond to the lawmakers’ questions.
Park, representing Apple Korea, had attended the parliamentary national policy committee’s session as a witness earlier this month, but the committee filed a request for the attendance of a higher ranking official for its next hearing to get the details.
Industry sources have recently claimed that Apple planned to offer improved after-sales services for Korean iPhone owners, following mounting complaints about the company’s repair policies.
Up until the introduction of the iPhone 4, users had to exchange their phones with “refurbished phones” at high costs, instead of repairing the malfunctioning parts.
Apple then began fixing iPhone parts for the latest iPhone 4 at about 60 centers across the nation authorized for the company’s after-services. It is now expected to provide similar services for the iPhone 3GS as well.
Earlier this month, mobile after-service guidelines, devised by the state regulator Korea Communications Commission, were applied to force stricter measures on after-sales policies for mobile phones.
According to the guidelines, mobile device manufacturers will have to explain and provide in print the main contents of the guaranteed after-sales service such as the quality guarantee period, the standards of free and paid services and the repair charges.
After-sales information also has to be posted on the Internet, and the mobile service operators and handset manufacturers have to permit paying the after-service fees with the telecom costs, it said.
By Cho Ji-hyun