China's most powerful TV program, China Central Television, controlled by the country's government, aired a 2-hour show that attacked both Apple's and Volkswagen's customer service policies in the country. CCTV aired the broadcast in celebration of World Consumer Rights Day, held every year on March 15th. The company has attacked several, major corporations in the past, including Mcdonalds, KFC, and a French retailer named Carrefour.
In its broadcast, CCTV accused Apple of cheating Chinese consumers on their warranty, as well as offering Chinese customers different customer service policies compared to its policies offered in every other country. Apple is also accused of ignoring China's laws in its practices. CCTV also attacked Volkswagen for selling error-filled cars in China. Volkswagen's cars in China have been equipped with "substandard direct-shift gearbox systems" that resulted in acceleration mishaps and car accidents to an "unspecified" amount of drivers.
Apple responded with, "Our team is always striving to exceed our customers' expectations, and we take any customer concerns very seriously." Volkswagen responded with, "We will spare no effort to make improvement in the future," and that it plans on fixing the gearbox systems in its vehicles in China. Apple and Volkswagen are both working hard to fix the problems described by CCTV. China is a major market for both companies, especially for Apple, who has over 17,000 stores and resellers in the country.
CCTV has a great deal of influence on companies and consumers in China. When the TV program made a broadcast on the quality of chicken provided by Yum Brands Inc.'s KFC stores, the company saw a 6% decline in sales during its 4th quarter. The company had then revamped its practices, and made a public apology. When CCTV launched an investigation on a database-marketing unit, named Dun & Bradstreet Corp., about its illegal practices, the company was fined 1 million yuan ($160,640), and 4 of its executives were sentenced to 2 years in prison.
[via The Wall Street Journal]