Amazon India selling refurbished iPhones with hidden disclaimers, company clarifies

The e-commerce website is selling renewed iPhones with no proper disclaimers for the same.

  • Updated: December 3, 2017 3:03 PM IST

In a listing of ten iPhones, if you see one of them priced unusually low, thank your stars later and rethink the deal once more. You may not be a lucky user to score a lucky price cut, but you may just end up with a refurbished iPhone that you didn’t sign up for. Yes, turns out, Amazon India has been selling what it calls “renewed” iPhones on the platform, without a decent disclaimer.

UPDATE: Amazon India has responded to BGR India saying, “The image explaining ‘refurbished’ products got mixed with the new product images. The same has already been rectified. Refurbished has been a separate category with its own product pages. Each product has the words “Certified Refurbished” in its title, has a detailed description of the condition of the product along with terms and conditions clearly specified.”

For a while now, Apple has been struggling to crack a deal with the Indian government, to import refurbished iPhones to the country, but so far has been unsuccessful. However, as is the rule, any authorized retailer in India is allowed to sell a refurbished device as long as it was originally sold in India. Which means, by law, Amazon India is committing no crime. But, what can be seen as an offence here, is the absence of a more visible disclaimer.

First pointed out by Twitter user, Sounava Ghosh, and reported by TechPP, if you look up for say an iPhone SE on Amazon India, the first two search results are of iPhone SE 32GB in gold and rose gold color. Now what’s really attractive about this listing is that, as opposed to the original Rs 26,000 price tag of the iPhone SE (which is actually the third listing), the top two iPhone SEs are listing for Rs 20,000. A customer looking to buy an iPhone would immediately click on that, seeing a difference of a huge six grand.

I would also point out here, that the listing on the search result, stealthily shows the stroked off Rs 26,000 tag, with the Rs 20,000 written next to it. Now, with the festive season on, and at the time of writing this story, the iPhone fest banner placed on the top, any customer would think it to be some limited price cut offer. However, the listing mentions no such thing.

Now, all of this was just on the search result. You click on the link of the first result that showed and up and enter the page with a link to purchase, all the discounts, the exchange offers and the specifications of the smartphone. Nowhere here does the page mention of the device being “renewed”. Except, if you look through the product images, the last one in an image which reveals that the iPhone is part of Amazon’s renewed program. Amazon US on the other hand, mentions that the device is a refurbished one, right in the description.

As is mentioned on the page, under the program, the devices are tested and certified to work and look “like new”, and are backed by minimum six months of warranty. If you scroll below to the iPhone SE’s warranty details, it reads, “1 year manufacturer warranty for device and 6 months on in-box accessories including batteries from the date of purchase.”

Now who is providing the full warranty, Amazon or Apple, that is unknown. Are the service policies for these iPhones the same? That is not revealed either.

Further, the mentioned iPhone SE is not an isolated smartphone available under the renewed program, iPhone SE 16GB, 128GB, and even the new iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus can be seen listed under the similar scheme.

Now, Amazon India hasn’t spoke about this yet, but till or if at all, the e-commerce decides to mark the renewed device more clearly, make sure you go through the product images of any smartphone you purchase (not just an iPhone) to see if it falls under the refurbished category.

Having said that, we do want to clarify that there is nothing wrong with purchasing or selling a refurbished device. If you get a renewed smartphone that you wanted for a lower price than that of a new one, that is no doubt a good deal. However, this needed to be put out there because in case of an absence of a clear disclaimer of the device being a refurbished one, someone who does not want a renewed smartphone, may also end up with one. That is what is unfair here.

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  • Published Date: December 3, 2017 11:22 AM IST
  • Updated Date: December 3, 2017 3:03 PM IST