Apple has gotten a lot of flack over the last month for its after-sales service practices in China, and perhaps rightfully so. But instead of being exploited by Apple, police have discovered that some Chinese criminals used Apple’s return system to turn more than 100 fake iPhones into real ones.
In December, a Wenzhou Apple shop owner turned in what he claimed were 121 iPhone 4S BAND parts (the core of the phone, worth about $476 each) that were broken and asked they be replaced. Apple complied, but discovered in January that the parts were actually counterfeits. Apple reported this to the shop, which maintained its innocence and reported the case to the police.
After several months, police arrested one of the shop’s engineers and her boyfriend, who, in turn, implicated other employees in the scam, all of whom have since also been arrested. In addition to raising questions about Apple’s after-sales service in China and whether it might be too lenient when it comes to returns. But it also raises the question of how many of the iPhones out there are real. Scammers can now make fake parts so real that it takes even Apple itself a month to notice the difference.
Image via LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images
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This article originally published at Tech in Asia