Android phone repairs to cost less
Currently, smartphone users pay between 4,000 won ($3.40) and 5,000 won every month for insurance policies, regardless of the model or brand. The insurance also covers theft and loss.
However, the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) on Monday said it will reform the insurance premium system to recognize the model and brand, saying the repair service differs between Android phones and iPhones. The FSS said it is unfair for Android phone users to pay the same amount of premiums while the repair process is simpler than iPhones.
Android smartphones are mostly repaired by replacing parts, which are low-cost for insurers. However, they have to spend nearly double the cost on iPhone repairs.
Apple Korea requires authorized repair shops to exchange damaged units for a refurbished device instead of repairing them.
This smartphone repair change is part of the financial watchdog’s reform this year to enhance consumers’ rights. By next year, the FSS plans to carry out some 20 projects to overhaul the insurance and credit card services.
“Many of the industry customs that are often disadvantageous and unfair to financial consumers still exist, even after our first-stage overhaul initiatives last year,” Seo Tae-jong, the first senior deputy governor of the FSS, said at a press conference. “We hope to eliminate unfair customs that financial companies have sustained only for their profits.”
The FSS also announced on Monday that it will require local insurers to expand coverage for dementia insurance products. It will require seniors’ insurance to cover from ages 90 to 100, from the current age of 80. The move considers the fact that dementia often begins near the age of 80 and life expectancy is lengthening.
Card companies are also being brought into line. Companies can’t reduce membership benefits, raise annual membership fees or halt membership point payment services without a sufficient reason.
The FSS will also require domestic banks to expand currency exchange services at more offline branches. To date, consumers have to visit main branches or airport branches of each commercial bank to exchange cash into less-traded currencies.
Local consumers will be able to withdraw cash without fees at convenience stores and large supermarket chains, after paying with a check or debit card.
BY LEE TAE-KYUNG, KIM JI-YOON [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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