[THE INVESTOR] Korea’s Fair Trade Commission reportedly raided Apple Korea’s office in Seoul earlier this week possibly to probe into the iPhone maker’s business practices with local partners, according to news reports on Nov. 24.
The reports said the probe was carried out before the official launch of the iPhone X this week. About 150,000 preordered phones sold out in just five minutes.
The antitrust watchdog is reportedly looking into Apple’s high-handed business practices that have received flak from telecom carriers and consumers.
Apple has been accused of putting marketing cost burdens on the nation’s top three telecom carriers -- SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus -- and of violating local laws that advise smartphone makers and telecom firms to share subsidies given to consumers.
The FTC already ordered Apple Korea to revise such unfair business practices, including unfair contracts with local after-sales service agencies, last year but no corrective measures have been made so far.
Along with poor after-sales service, local consumers have long complained about Apple’s high pricing policy in Korea. The iPhone X is priced at 1,360,700 won (US$1,253) for the 64GB model here, which compares to the US price tag of US$999.
A group of lawmakers, including Rep. Oh Se-jeong of People’s Party, is preparing a bill to ban these unfair business activities of Apple. The FTC declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)