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Apple accused of selling refurbished iPhones as new in China

post #1 of 62
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A well-known consumer rights advocate in China has filed two lawsuits against Apple after customers reported purchasing iPhone 4s from Beijing Apple Stores only to discover their warranties were for less than a year, prompting allegations that the handsets were refurbished.

Wang Hai, known for his 15-year crusade against counterfeit goods in China, delivered indictments against Apple earlier this week, citing the country's "Consumer Protection Act," the Global Times reports.

According to the report, at least six consumers who purchased iPhones in Apple Stores or from authorized dealers in Beijing report that their registered warranties are less than the one year promised by Apple. The shortened warranties have prompted allegations that Apple sold returned or refurbished iPhones to the customers.

Wang has documented the cases of two customers who each purchased new iPhone 4 handsets on at the Xidan Joy City Apple Store in Beijing on July 9. When the customers went home to register their smartphones on Apple's website, they discovered that the deadlines for their devices were listed as January and April of next year, three to six months less than the standard one-year warranty.

Apple warranty shows January 2012 expiration date

Receipt for July 9 purchase of iPhone 4 in Beijing

Some of the customers were offered new iPhones from the Apple Store to resolve the issue, although another consumer reported that the staff "tried to trick her" by extending the date of the warranty.

"It's cheating to sell refurbished products as new ones," Wang said. "It'll be discrimination against Chinese consumers if the case turns out to be true as refurbished cellphones are also sold in other countries, but at a cheaper price."

"It's impossible that we sold refurbished cellphones," said one Chinese Apple Store employee, who refused to give further comments to the reporter. Apple's Chinese public relations office has yet to respond to requests for comment.

The plaintiffs are demanding compensation twice the amount they paid plus legal fees, as well as an apology. The China Consumers Association has said it is paying attention to the cases.

A recent report from southern China discovered that secondhand iPhones were being refurbished and sold in the area's chain stores. Insiders alleged that store employees sometimes repackaged display phones or used devices to sell to customers after "polishing them up."

The lawsuits threaten to undermine confidence in Apple's official retail stores at a time when unauthorized Apple Stores are facing scrutiny. In July, one American blogger published an account of a knockoff Apple Store in Kunming, China. The report sparked a government inquiry that resulted in the closure of a number of unauthorized vendors selling Apple products.

Counterfeit Apple store in China | Credit: BirdAbroad

The most notorious of the counterfeit retail stores recently changed its name to "Smart Store," as noted by mobiSights. Numerous other stores have had to remove or cover unauthorized Apple logo signs.

The counterfeit Apple Store has been rebranded as "Smart Store." | Credit:
post #2 of 62
I;m sure it's just a mixup or computer glitch or something and Apple will make it right.

On the other hand, who cares. Maybe the Chinese Government should actually try to stop any of the ridiculous piracy of American products.

I think the US should add up a rough estimate of how much is actually pirated across all product lines, movies, software, etc and just take that straight off the bill we're supposed to owe them. Better yet=we're even. Next...
post #3 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by frankie View Post

I think the US should add up a rough estimate of how much is actually pirated across all product lines, movies, software, etc and just take that straight off the bill we're supposed to owe them.

LOL, what's that for a delusional idea

Oh, and the US is not "supposed to owe them", you "do owe them".
Thats not a question of "maybe they forgot", its a contract you signed.
post #4 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

According to the report, at least six consumers who purchased iPhones in Apple Stores or from authorized dealers in Beijing report that their registered warranties are less than the one year promised by Apple. The shortened warranties have prompted allegations that Apple sold returned or refurbished iPhones to the customers.

Even refurbished Apple products still have a full one year warranty from the date of purchase.

There's something else going on here.

Maybe fake products are being registered under the real serial numbers.
post #5 of 62
There must be some corrupt employees at that store.
post #6 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by frankie View Post

On the other hand, who cares. Maybe the Chinese Government should actually try to stop any of the ridiculous piracy of American products.

Apple just figured the Chinese were used to non original products. Just send the secondhand iPhone to the secondhand fake Apple store?[/QUOTE]
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post #7 of 62
By the serial number, the phone has been manufactured in week 12, i.e. late March. Thus, its warranty couldn't start in January. It must be a glitch in the system.
post #8 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by frankie View Post

I think the US should add up a rough estimate of how much is actually pirated across all product lines, movies, software, etc and just take that straight off the bill we're supposed to owe them. Better yet=we're even. Next...

If we are talking about money - don't forget that China practically owns the US. US is a country financed by loans from China and soon they will start making more demands!
post #9 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by serializer View Post

If we are talking about money - don't forget that China practically owns the US. US is a country financed by loans from China and soon they will start making more demands!

Less than 10% of federal debt is owed to China. Does that meet your statement's criteria for accuracy?

China is kind of squeezed here and will probably buy more debt. \ The arrangement is symbiotic.

http://www.businessinsider.com/to-wh...e-money-2011-3
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post #10 of 62
This is why I only shop at fake Apple Stores in China...
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post #11 of 62
This sounds like a 'consumer advocate' trying to attract attention.

Greenpeace, anyone?
post #12 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalMacRat View Post

Even refurbished Apple products still have a full one year warranty from the date of purchase.

There's something else going on here.

Maybe fake products are being registered under the real serial numbers.

That was my first thought. All refurbs in USA have full year, I assume they do in China too. Of course that is from the date of purchase so this smells of resales after initial purchase and leads one to suspect to possible sales by unauthorized dealers.
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post #13 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by serializer View Post

If we are talking about money - don't forget that China practically owns the US. US is a country financed by loans from China and soon they will start making more demands!

Where on earth do you get your 'facts'? Check out the true facts on who owns the US debt you will find Americans actually still own the most. China came in at 8% last time I checked.
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post #14 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by serializer View Post

If we are talking about money - don't forget that China practically owns the US. US is a country financed by loans from China and soon they will start making more demands!

Approx. 1.17 trillion. Thats how much debt China owns of US debt.

Does this advocate say anything about all the fake Apple stuff there is in China?
post #15 of 62
When I read the part about the lady claiming Apple tried to "trick her" by offering to extend the warranty I had flashbacks to ever person from Asia I ever sold a computer. I swear every single one of them were just ridiculous, accusatory, and confrontational -- they'd do crap like try to haggle the price, or get all kinds of things thrown in for free that were absurd. Then when they actually paid for it they want to open it up, go through the packaging, and try to find something wrong with it. They'd sit there and say things like "it's not working right" because it took the computer longer than three seconds to boot up ... The entire time saying "you're cheating me!" They also didn't believe they could bring it back if there was a problem and we'd replace it if necessary.

I'm fairly convinced it's a cultural thing because where they come from everyone IS trying to cheat you. They come here and expect everything works the same way ... And cannot except it doesn't.
post #16 of 62
In the land of fakes and ripoffs, this is a laughable exercise in paranoia. Move on, nothing to see here.
post #17 of 62
Well, at least we get to see another photo of the chinese guy in the blue shirt (who still needs a catchy name, btw). It's been a while...
post #18 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by frankie View Post


I think the US should add up a rough estimate of how much is actually pirated across all product lines, movies, software, etc and just take that straight off the bill we're supposed to owe them. Better yet=we're even. Next...


That would be a great excuse for defaulting on US Treasury securities. Some of your citizens have counterfeited goods! So we will default and refuse our Government obligations!

Not.
post #19 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by serializer View Post

If we are talking about money - don't forget that China practically owns the US. US is a country financed by loans from China and soon they will start making more demands!

China hold about $1 Trillion in US debt. Every year, the US produces about $14 Trillion in new goods and services.

Facts can be your friends, but too often, delusions make for a better story.

Fact is, our current account deficit is a huge problem. It is a big enough problem that we need to discuss it rationally, without silliness and fantasy.

But fantasies and hyperbole can make the ignorant feel smart.
post #20 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleLover2 View Post

That would be a great excuse for defaulting on US Treasury securities. Some of your citizens have counterfeited goods! So we will default and refuse our Government obligations!

Not.

You're playing that all wrong. No need to default. The correct response is "What US Treasury securities? I'm afraid you've gotten some counterfeits."
post #21 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by blursd View Post


ever person from Asia ... every single one of them were just ridiculous, accusatory, and confrontational... it's a cultural thing ... where they come from everyone IS trying to cheat you.

Are you sure that it is not a genetic defect?
post #22 of 62
I wonder why the receipts don't have IMEI's or serial numbers.

Every phone we sell has the IMEI attached to the sale it's how we stock them in and how we keep track of them, it's a barcode printed on every box.

Maybe Apple should look into the POS and inventory systems in the Chinese stores.
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post #23 of 62
At least these guys aren't suing for an absurd amount of money and their case does have reasonable evidence. Even if Apple can easily prove by the serial number & manufacture date policy that the phone was not even made by the purposed sale date, they should still have given an apology, which would have been done here in Texas at any of the 3 stores I worked at - no matter how rude the customer is.
I do think that giving them a new phone should make it right - but Apple should also figure out how this happened so it does't happen again.
post #24 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by serializer View Post

If we are talking about money - don't forget that China practically owns the US. US is a country financed by loans from China and soon they will start making more demands!

Wrong. Stop watching FauxNoise. China only owns 10% of our debt. The rest is own by the US taxpayers in the form of T-Bills, etc... Hedge funds and the like purchase them.
post #25 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A well-known consumer rights advocate in China has filed two lawsuits against Apple after customers reported purchasing iPhone 4s from Beijing Apple Stores only to discover their warranties were for less than a year, prompting allegations that the handsets were refurbished.

There is no such thing as a iPhone 4s, so i suspect you meant 3Gs. Can anyone say counterfit store?

I really doubt AAPL would put its credibility in a hugely growing market in play with such a practice... Also, know that being the most sued company in the world, anyone being fooled by a counterfit store would likely go to AAPL for settlement since they have money ($70B) and people want some of it...

Makes sense?
post #26 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by iRikal View Post

There is no such thing as a iPhone 4s, so i suspect you meant 3Gs. Can anyone say counterfit store?

I really doubt AAPL would put its credibility in a hugely growing market in play with such a practice... Also, know that being the most sued company in the world, anyone being fooled by a counterfit store would likely go to AAPL for settlement since they have money ($70B) and people want some of it...

Makes sense?

I think that the phrase was saying 'A well-known consumer rights advocate in China has filed two lawsuits against Apple after customers reported purchasing iPhones (model 4) from Beijing Apple Stores...'

...and yes, Apple would not (as a corporate policy at least) resort to such a practice. \
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post #27 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

I wonder why the receipts don't have IMEI's or serial numbers.

Every phone we sell has the IMEI attached to the sale it's how we stock them in and how we keep track of them, it's a barcode printed on every box.

Maybe Apple should look into the POS and inventory systems in the Chinese stores.

I think there are a few bad apples working in those Apple Stores.
post #28 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by serializer View Post

If we are talking about money - don't forget that China practically owns the US. US is a country financed by loans from China and soon they will start making more demands!

while it is true that China is the largest single holder of debt, it is still an investment for them. All the Fed Reserve needs to do it increase inflation a bit, lower the value of the dollar, and all of a sudden the bonds held by China are easier to pay off and have a worse return (devalued dollar) for the Chinese.
post #29 of 62
It's possible that this is just a systems error.
post #30 of 62
You know, I think we need a few more replies to the 'China practically owns the US' comment because it hasn't been discussed to death.
post #31 of 62
LOL they're probably just unopened returns and someone forgot to strip their activated warranty before reselling them. :P
post #32 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A well-known consumer rights advocate in China has filed two lawsuits against Apple after customers reported purchasing iPhone 4s from Beijing Apple Stores only to discover their warranties were for less than a year, prompting allegations that the handsets were refurbished....

I hate to break it to everyone but Apple does this quite a lot, and not just in China, and not because some 'rogue' employee is involved.

If you buy an iPhone when the model in question has just been released and supply is tight, and if something goes wrong with that phone, or it's one of those with a flaw and you have to return it, the phone you get in return is quite likely to be a refurbished model, even if you bought it as new, even if it's unlocked and you paid full price.

They don't call them refurbished they use another name but the description is the same. The phone you get in return "may or may not be" reassembled from parts of other returned phones.

They assure you that the parts have all been tested and are "as good as new" but they aren't necessarily new. I can't remember the name they use, but this is essentially an identical description to "refurbished" and it certainly doesn't qualify as "new". So in many situations you can pay 800 bucks for a brand new unlocked iPhone and if it has a manufacturers defect, they will replace it with a refurbished model. Happens all the time. In North America, Europe, etc.
post #33 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by frankie View Post

I;m sure it's just a mixup or computer glitch or something and Apple will make it right.

On the other hand, who cares. Maybe the Chinese Government should actually try to stop any of the ridiculous piracy of American products.

I think the US should add up a rough estimate of how much is actually pirated across all product lines, movies, software, etc and just take that straight off the bill we're supposed to owe them. Better yet=we're even. Next...


a simple deal, for every 10$ of counterfeit that we find in China (and forgive) they have to forgive us 1$ in dept.

We would have them trillion in dept (probably, lol)

at the same time, this whole thing sounds kinda fishy, kinda like that finger that someone planted at Wendy's once....

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post #34 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

I hate to break it to everyone but Apple does this quite a lot, and not just in China, and not because some 'rogue' employee is involved.

If you buy an iPhone when the model in question has just been released and supply is tight, and if something goes wrong with that phone, or it's one of those with a flaw and you have to return it, the phone you get in return is quite likely to be a refurbished model, even if you bought it as new, even if it's unlocked and you paid full price.

They don't call them refurbished they use another name but the description is the same. The phone you get in return "may or may not be" reassembled from parts of other returned phones.

They assure you that the parts have all been tested and are "as good as new" but they aren't necessarily new. I can't remember the name they use, but this is essentially an identical description to "refurbished" and it certainly doesn't qualify as "new". So in many situations you can pay 800 bucks for a brand new unlocked iPhone and if it has a manufacturers defect, they will replace it with a refurbished model. Happens all the time. In North America, Europe, etc.

Yes, that's true. The warranty policy says that you may get a refurbished phone in place of your defective phone. After all, your defective phone is used, so replacing it with a refurbished phone is reasonable.

However, there's absolutely nothing to support your first sentence. They're claiming that Apple is selling refurbished phones as new. You stated:
"Apple does this quite a lot, and not just in China, and not because some 'rogue' employee is involved"

That is absolutely false. They are required BY LAW (in the U.S, at least) to tell you if the phone or any of its components is refurbished if you are buying a new phone. You can be absolutely sure that when you buy a new phone from Apple (or any reputable company) that it's new, and not refurbished.

Other companies have tried to pawn off refurbs as new, but I'm not aware of Apple ever doing it. If you have evidence that they do, you should provide it to the authorities. Or at least provide evidence here to support your allegations that Apple is committing a crime.
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post #35 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicolbolas View Post

a simple deal, for every 10$ of counterfeit that we find in China (and forgive) they have to forgive us 1$ in dept.

We would have them trillion in dept (probably, lol)

It can be fixed more easily than that. China has been manipulating their currency for 25 years or more. All we need to do is manipulate ours. State that when the U.S. government repays debt obligations, they can pay in the currency of their choice and if they choose to repay in RMB that they can choose any exchange rate they wish.

For the rest of the world, we continue to pay in dollars under the terms of the obligation. For China, we repay in RMB at a rate of, say, 1 RMB per dollar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nicolbolas View Post

at the same time, this whole thing sounds kinda fishy, kinda like that finger that someone planted at Wendy's once....

If you've ever done business in China, you'd know that there are a zillion ways this could have been manipulated. It really is a wild-west economy there. For all we know, they consumers could have bought the phones from the fake Apple stores.
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post #36 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

It can be fixed more easily than that. China has been manipulating their currency for 25 years or more.

The West has exported its inflation to China during the same period, enabling a period of economic boom that led us to where we are now.

China has issues, that's for sure, but the financial issues of the West were not caused by China
post #37 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Yes, that's true. The warranty policy says that you may get a refurbished phone in place of your defective phone. After all, your defective phone is used, so replacing it with a refurbished phone is reasonable.

Nah, this isn't reasonable at all.

When it happened to me. I had a brand new iPhone. I paid the full 800 bucks for it, and when I took it out of the box it had two separate manufacturers defects. I reported it to Apple within a half hour of the delivery guy showing up at my door. I hadn't even synced it because I was prepared to keep using my old one and put this one back in the box to go back which is what I thought they would suggest.

It *isn't okay to replace a brand new product with a used one no matter how you swing it, and in many countries it is actually illegal (although I don't know how the US handles stuff like this).

Apple is also "selling refurbished as new" in that the same models I'm talking about are handed out at Apple stores for any customer that has a problem with their phone. Sure, in some cases it's someone that has used their phone for a month or something and it's not "new," and sure, there are also going to be a lot of shysters trying to get a new phone for some reason that isn't exactly above board, but there are also lots of regular people who just bought a brand new phone that had something wrong with it.

When you buy a product it's a contract. If you pay for a new phone, and get a defective phone, replacing it with a used one is not okay and is a violation of that contract. At the very least, they should refund the difference in price between new and refurbished. It's definitely an underhanded practice. The customer paid for new, but gets used. How is that not a problem?

You are right about my first sentence though. It kind of equates two situations which are in fact different. I didn't see that when I wrote it but I do now. Sorry about that.
post #38 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalMacRat View Post

Even refurbished Apple products still have a full one year warranty from the date of purchase.

Well in the US they do. And that's from the second date of purchase.

It is possible that in China, the date stays the first one and it's all legal. But you have to say it is a refurb very clearly.

I suspect that either the customer bought a refurb but didn't understand what he was buying and how the local rules play. Or it was not from an official Apple store but an Apple Storr or a 3rd part reseller and that staff is playing games.

We shall see how this proceeds


Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


It *isn't okay to replace a brand new product with a used one no matter how you swing it, and in many countries it is actually illegal (although I don't know how the US handles stuff like this).


You were talking about Genius Bar swaps and if, as noted, it says that they might use refurbs then it is your fault for not reading the policy.

but it as NADA to do with what happens during actual sales. So find some proof that they are selling refurbs had over fist as new items or can it please.

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post #39 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

That was my first thought. All refurbs in USA have full year, I assume they do in China too. Of course that is from the date of purchase so this smells of resales after initial purchase and leads one to suspect to possible sales by unauthorized dealers.

Not all refurbished Apple products come with 1 year warranty. Refurbished Airport Extreme only has 90 days from date of purchase. That was offered to me from Apple.
post #40 of 62
Maybe the customers who are making the claims bought the iphones from the fake Apple stores.
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