I just had the worst experience of buying an iPhone in Thailand, one of the so-called “developing” countries. The experience was so bad that I decided to write this to raise an awareness that there is work to be done to improve the customers' experience in buying and getting Apple services potentially in many countries. For the record, I am a loyal customer who have lived both in the US and Thailand. I have bought and obtained services from both countries. And while the services are mostly fine in both countries, I am still struggling to comprehend the stark difference between the service in the "developed" countries and the "developing" countries. Long story short: it's a stack of one faulty service after another. From extra-long waiting time to limited options to unprofessional handling of the device, I am still in shock of how careless Apple services can be in the "developing" countries. I even decided to email Tim Cook myself but didn't get a reply. Of course, there were many important things to attend to rather than making things right for a frustrating customer, but this really gets me to the edge. So much for the "providing best customer experience" mantra. I got a defective iPhone upon purchase. It was a display issue that was subtle enough that I didn't notice it until when I was back home two hours after purchase. In Thailand, when buying through a carrier, you can’t return the phone. (The return option had been "removed" by Apple a year ago). So my only option was to take it to an AASP. Ok, I can live with that, I thought. However, at the AASP, you don’t have any option to replace the phone, unlike in the US, because AASP is not allowed to stock any iPhones. Ok, I understand that you might need to take precaution because you don’t have an official Apple Store with all the authorized experts here in Thailand. Then, I was told that the phone needed to be sent to Singapore for direct evaluation and repair. The whole process would be excruciatingly long 10 business days (which is 14 days in total). Ok, this is how it is in Thailand. I will wait. While I was waiting, there were not enough iPhones for me to borrow, so I had to drive home by myself without the GPS, and did all other things in my life without a phone. Ok, just some small hassles to get through. After two weeks of waiting, I got back to AASP. My original iPhone screen issue was fixed, and the screen was replaced for me. However, the iPhone came back with a much worse appearance than when I sent in. The phone was literally 3 days old, during which I put on a case the whole time, before I sent it to the AASP. Now, it was full of scratches and small specks (I suspected they were Jet Black coating peels because I couldn’t wipe them out) that maybe was caused by the technician sliding the phone carelessly on the table while fixing it. It was very unprofessional. The AASP representative said Apple might not even be responsible for this, because “cosmetic issues are out of warranty". But they agreed to open another ticket for me, in which I have to wait for ANOTHER TWO WEEKS. I just can’t stand this really bad buying experience. If you get a defective phone, and many will get one, you can’t return it. You can’t replace it. Your wait for it to get fixed is potentially two weeks. Your AASP might not have iPhone to borrow, because it doesn't have enough. And if the phone comes back looking WORSE than when you sent it, Apple might not even cover it or fix it for you, because “cosmetic issues” are out of warranty. Even if you get the cosmetic issues fixed or the phone replaced, you’d have to wait another two weeks, totaling FOUR WEEKS of waiting time instead of getting a replacement phone right away, at the same time paying for a carrier service you didn't use. This is so bad when you pay almost $1,000 for this experience, the same premium customers in US, UK, or Japan paid. Is this how Apple should treat their loyal customers in "developing" countries? There are many things that Apple has done a terrible job here. Why doesn't Apple offer any replacement options for defective phones in Thailand and other "non-Apple Store" countries? Why does a buying experience in these countries have to be much worse than the “developed” ones like the US? It would have been much better to have that option, even with the requirement of rigorous inspection process first. Why is there no better Quality Control for iPhone repair to make sure the appearances of the phone sent in are maintained more with care? Apple calls their service AppleCare after all. Apple should have been more up front about their responsibility if the repair job isn't up to "their" standard, or if the device appearances aren't the same after repair. In fact, they should hurry up in these cases because it's way beyond acceptable to have customers waiting for a month for problems they didn't create. If you are living in countries with Apple Stores, lucky you. Otherwise, when you get unlucky, you can get extremely unlucky, and Apple couldn't care less. EDITED 12/22/2016: TL;DR: It could have ended worse, but now I am much happier with the outcome. I got my phone replaced and a moderate gift as a "compensation" from Apple. Five weeks total of repair / replacement process. After sending my phone to Singapore twice (totaling four weeks), Apple refused to replace the cosmetically damaged phone caused by Apple technician. I was shocked and didn't know what to do next. I decided to call Apple directly via a phone call, directed to Apple in Singapore. I was directed to a Senior Advisor at Apple and tried to negotiate with him that I deserved a replacement phone, and I gave him all the info and photos I had. After a careful consideration, he called me back to inform me that he would do this as a one-time exception. However, AASP informed me that I had to wait another two weeks (this would be six weeks in total to get an iPhone to replace a brand new, but defective one) in order to request the replacement phone from warehouse in Singapore; there was no way around this. I only wanted to start using a brand new, working iPhone 7 Plus as soon as possible. Once I learned that it wasn't happening that day and there would be even more wait, I simply asked if Apple would do anything to compensate for this long period of disappointment I was going through. The second Senior Advisor I talked to was polite and empathic and she promised that she would try to find something by bringing this up in a meeting. The next day she called me to offer me a choice to pick a gift on Apple website under a moderate budget. I felt better because of this. Meanwhile, the AASP I sent my phone to also tried to rush my case since the staff remembered I kept coming back. So it took only a week instead of two weeks to get the replacement phone. As of now, I am a happy iPhone 7 Plus user. As for the gift, I picked the iPhone 7 Plus Leather Case (PRODUCT)Red. It's the first time I've ever used a case sold by Apple since it's expensive, but I am really impressed with the quality. I attached some photos of my replacement iPhone with the case below. Just like @pika2000 said, even without strong consumer protection in Thailand, this ended up being a better scenario that I had expected. There were things that could be improved as I mentioned in the original writing, but at least Apple was willing to make things right for an unhappy customer. I hope my story would be useful and informative for those who might be in similar circumstances in the future. ______________________________________________________________________________ My phone before I sent to AASP (took them at home out of admiration): My phone I saw at AASP the second time (before I sent it for another cosmetic issues ticket). The tiny scratches and specks like these may look small in photos but several of them together really degrade the look of the product, as if it's been used heavily for months. These specks are not dusts! I think they are coating peeled off from careless handling because I couldn't wipe them away. The AASP staff also couldn't wipe these away. Otherwise, I would have deemed the whole experience acceptable.: ______________________________________________________________________________ After five weeks: a replacement phone and a gift from Apple.