New in OS X: Get MacRumors Push Notifications on your Mac

Resubscribe Now Close

Apple Stops Accepting Returns and Exchanges in Hong Kong Ahead of New iPhones

Apple today updated its sales policy in Hong Kong to indicate all products purchased at Apple's online and retail stores in the country on and after August 15, 2017 cannot be returned or exchanged indefinitely.

As an exception to the rule, Apple will still honor exchanges for defective products in Hong Kong at its sole discretion.

Apple didn't provide a reason for the policy change, but it's likely a precautionary move ahead of new iPhone models expected in September. The same policy went into effect in Hong Kong on iPhone 7 launch day last year.

Hong Kong is a hotbed for black market electronics due to the lack of import taxes and duties added to foreign goods purchased, as is the case in neighboring mainland China. Scalpers often attempt to illegally smuggle new iPhones across the border to mainland China to make significant profits.

Hong Kong scalper spotted "walking strangely" across the border into mainland China in 2015 via South China Morning Post

When the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus launched in Hong Kong last year, for example, the smartphones hit the black market for as much as $15,000 in Hong Kong dollars, which was slightly over $1,900 in U.S. dollars.

Apple's standard return policy in Hong Kong is already stricter than in some other countries. For volume purchases of four products or more, the return window is seven days, and there is a 25 percent restocking fee per unit.

Apple will likely revert back to its standard return policy in Hong Kong at some point, but it didn't specify when.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

17 months ago
LOL @ this guy's Iron Man-like suit :D
Rating: 16 Votes
17 months ago
Now if only they were exploding Samsung's, could have been charged as a terrorist suicide bomber!
Rating: 14 Votes
17 months ago
Remember the good old days when people used to smuggle drugs.
Rating: 13 Votes
17 months ago

Can Marvel please get this person into the MCU? With Siri as Jarvis?

Rating: 13 Votes
17 months ago
Imagine if all of those phones rang at the same time.
Rating: 13 Votes
17 months ago
Just when I thought I've seen it all online... then there are these photos lol
Rating: 11 Votes
17 months ago
Price fixing by Apple itself, sales tax, and generally high demand means an iPhone when newly released, is often in very low supply within Mainland China white market. Then Hong Kong being literally a river across South China, having no sales tax, lower Apple price and lower exchange rate to USD means there is significant profit to be made for smugglers.

This article touches on a related issue, ever since the iPhone 4, every time a new iPhone launch would create massive demand also on the Hong Kong side, mostly by the smuggler and parties related. With a one-person-one-unit purchase policy in place, many (poor) people just buy from Apple legitimately, sell them to grey market aggregator within Hong Kong, usually some shady shops in Kowloon, or lately these guys just horde right outside an Apple Store. These people gather enough units and then would "ship" those phones in bulk, crossing the border via various means, including the captioned image which I believe is one of the less clever routes. Anyway with every one of these guys caught, there may be 99 others let through, intentionally or not.

The change to no return policy is to stop new phone hoarders from returning the phones without actually being a user. What often happens is when the grey market spikes up quickly but also falls back down quickly, when it reaches a point where profits cannot be made (grey market price meeting Mainland China MSRP) then the hoarders can return all the phones under the old policy.

Another much more complex issue is modders. The city where most electronics are made/assembled, including the iPhone, is Shenzhen just next to Hong Kong. There are people skillful enough to have 90% of actual electronic guts swapped out of an iPhone, just keeping scrapped battery and motherboard to boot up a white logo screen and stay there. Apple Store employees have no means to verify if it is a legit return or as they refer to a "lego'd phone".

The whole iPhone situation between Hong Kong and China can be written into a Economics text book. Some believe that the original iPhone 4 epic grey market price (10k+ USD per iPhone 4 at one point) helped Apple to launch itself to where it is today within Mainland China, with how much publicity that gave the brand.
Rating: 7 Votes
17 months ago

And here I thought Apple was getting into the clothing industry with some sort of high tech thermal long johns, the "iTermals". :D:p

Close but no cigar.

They’d be called the “Long Jony’s.” They’d be in silver only, have no fly, no pockets, and no drawstrings, lined with a single piece of “aluminium” for heat distribution and cost $199 ($299 for XL).
Rating: 5 Votes
17 months ago
the suit existed 2000 years ago

Rating: 5 Votes
17 months ago
Would have enjoyed a video of this guy in motion. What if he'd needed a restroom break?
Rating: 4 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]