2016-11-17 05:07:37

Apple has denied it promised to replace the batteries of Chinese customers who have been complaining that their iPhones are shutting down for no apparent reason, even when they show plenty of battery life remaining.

State-funded watchdog China Consumers Association (CCA) on Tuesday published an open letter in which it said it had received complaints from owners of Apple products, calling on the company to respond. The next day, state broadcaster CCTV reported that the U.S. tech giant had told the CCA it would offer replacement batteries, among other “temporary measures.”

But on Thursday, an Apple representative told Sixth Tone’s sister publication The Paper that this was not the company’s official wording, and that these promises were never officially communicated.

In a statement Apple sent to Sixth Tone on Thursday morning, the company said it was aware of a “very small number” of consumers who had reported that their iPhones were turning off unexpectedly. “We’re working to get more information from these customers, and anyone with questions can contact AppleCare,” the statement said, referring to its product service center. “We’re also working with government agencies to help customers who have reached out to them with concerns,” it added.

The statement made no reference to any promise to the consumer association to replace the batteries. The CCA could not immediately be reached for comment.

Affected iPhone 6 and 6s owners have complained online that their phones are shutting down, even with up to 60 percent battery life. Shanghai native Yang Huiling told Sixth Tone that her phone frequently switches off automatically. “Whenever the battery usage shows it’s less than 50 percent, I worry about a sudden drop in battery percentage and an eventual shut-down,” said the 29-year-old.

Yang said that although she has had the problem for several months, the prospect of scheduling an appointment and waiting in line to have a certified Apple “Genius” look at her phone remains unappealing.

Yang previously used a Samsung Note mobile phone. “Recently, Note 7 batteries have been exploding,” she said. “I think loss of power is much better than an explosion.”

Additional reporting by Colum Murphy.

(Header image: Potential customers use iPhone 7 handsets during the product’s launch event at an Apple store in Shanghai, Sept. 16, 2016. VCG)