Chinese Scammers Exchange Fake iPhone Parts for Real Ones

Seems like Apple became a victim of its own much-criticized after-sales service practices in China after authorities discovered that some Chinese conmen have exploited the system by returning hundreds of fake iPhone parts in exchange for the real deal.

The scam originated in the city of Wenzhou, located in eastern China, when an Apple shop owner in December 2012 turned in what he claimed were 121 broken iPhone 4S BAND parts (the phone’s core, worth about $476 each). He asked that they be replaced back, to which Apple complied. It took a full month, however, for Apple to discover that the parts he submitted were actually counterfeits. Apple reported the situation to the shop, to which the owner claimed innocence and even reported the case of fake iPhone parts to the police.

After months of investigation, the police finally arrested one of the shop’s engineers and her boyfriend on April 1st. She, in turn, implicated a member of her workmates in the scam, all of whom have since been arrested as well.

Since the arrests, questions have been raised about whether Apple was too lenient with its after-sales service in China. It also worries Apple with regards to how many iPhones in that country are authentic, considering how counterfeiters are able to make close-to-real smartphones using fake iPhone parts.

The safest bet for Chinese consumers is to purchase Apple products from one of their country’s official Apple stores in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Chengdu. While smaller electronics stores offer authentic iPhone goods at a lower price, there is no assurance that you could spot fake iPhones right before purchase.

Source: TechInAsia

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