Chinese consumers complain refurbished iPhones sold as new

One lawsuit was filed in a Beijing court on Monday and another one may be filed in the U.S.

A consumer advocate in China is considering filing a lawsuit in the U.S. against Apple for allegedly selling refurbished iPhones as new ones after more consumers have complained of their suspicions.

Since blogging about the issue, Wang Hai said on Friday that more than 10 people in China have contacted him complaining of similar experiences.

"If more than 20 consumers come to us with the same problems, then we will file a lawsuit against Apple in the U.S.," Wang said an interview.

Earlier this week, Wang blogged about two Chinese consumers who bought iPhone 4s, only to realize that the devices carried a warranty shorter than the usual one-year warranty. Wang suspects the products were bought and returned, resulting in the shorter warranty.

Wang helped the two consumers file a lawsuit in Bejing on Monday. The lawsuit asks that Apple apologize and compensate the consumers double for what they paid to buy an iPhone 4. The court is expected to respond next week.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

The two consumers bought their iPhones on July 9 at the Apple Store in Beijing's Xidan Joy City shopping mall. Wang's blog post has photos of the receipts and screenshots showing the shorter warranty periods for the iPhones.

"When the buyers went back to the Apple Store, the company refused their demands for a refund," Wang said.

Wang said he continues to investigate Apple's distribution of iPhones. In the meantime, he has been asking other consumers contacting him with similar complaints to provide evidence such as receipts.

Apple is one of the hottest selling brands in China, with demand for the company's products creating long lines outside retail outlets in Beijing. The iPhone 4 had sold so well, Apple stores in China had previously reported shortages for the iconic device.

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Tags smartphonesApplelegaliPhoneconsumer electronicsCivil lawsuits

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Michael Kan

IDG News Service
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