Taipei, April 3 (CNA) The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said Wednesday it will investigate allegations that Apple Inc. has been interfering in the pricing of iPhones sold by Taiwan's telecom operators.
The issue of whether Apple's actions amount to a fair trade violation depends on the status of the telecom operators -- either as distributors of iPhones or consignment-based sellers, according to FTC Chairman Wu Shiow-ming.
If a telecom company has distributor rights, it means that it owns the products and Apple should have no say in the selling prices, Wu said. In the case of consignment sellers, the consignor can decide the prices, he added.
The maximum fine for violation of the regulations regarding interference in selling prices is NT$25 million, Wu said, in response to a complaint on the issue by opposition Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Gao Jyh-peng.
Gao said Apple has asked Taiwan's telecom operators to submit their proposed iPhone prices for approval.
The lawmaker said an investigation should be conducted into whether Apple, which he described as a "domineering" company, is violating Article 18 of the Fair Trade Act that stipulates traders can decide their sale prices freely.
Apple was recently criticized as discriminating against Chinese consumers by offering them less favorable terms for product repair and after-sales services than in Western markets.
The criticism prompted Apple CEO Tim Cook to apologize to Chinese consumers Monday.
(By Wu Ching-chun and Y.F. Low)