With the approach of "3-15", International Consumer Rights Day on March 15, Apple (APPL) says that it will improve its after-sales service to better serve Chinese consumers.

Apple has sent a letter to Shanghai Municipal Consumer Interest Protection Commission and said that it will make improvements on its after-sales service, which has seen many complaints from Chinese users.

Starting last year, Apple's after-sales service has been a frequent target of Chinese consumers. Chinese consumers' complaints mainly focus on two areas: Apple's shortening of the maintenance period from one year to three months for the iPod and its use of refurbished iPods to replace problematic electronics.

On December 23, 2006, Chinese media reported about Apple's unfair after-sales service for iPods sold in China, saying that Apple's Global Repair Policy contradicted the Consumer Law of China. However, Zhao Jiaoli, secretary general of SMCIC, says that Apple is the first international company that has made such commitments to improving its after-sales services after listening to Chinese consumers' requests.

Last year, Apple was also the target of international condemnation when Foxconn, an OEM for Apple's iPod, was reported in Britain to unfairly treat its employees in China. Subsequent investigations found the British tabloid's report overblown, but it did draw attention to both Apple's labor relations and business interests in China.

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