The 24 hour countdown to the UK launch of one of the most hotly anticipated gadgets in history is upon us. At 6:02pm on Friday, the Apple iPhone will officially go on sale in 783 Carphone Warehouse stores. But it seems that some people couldn’t wait, and have been buying a flood of fakes from eBay.
400,000 iPhones are expected to sell in the UK between now and Christmas, with many people seemingly happy to pay the £269 asking price for the chance to show off to their friends.
Some of these early adopters are so keen to grab themselves a handset, they’ve been tempted by the many which have been up for sale on eBay over the last few days. The problem is, most of these are fake, or grey imports.
VMUnet are reporting Domain registrar NetNames claims that the last three days has seen up to 450 online auctions for “unofficial” iPhones. They also reveal that 62 percent of the iPhones put up for sale on the auction site originate from the UK, where no-one should actually have one until November 9.
The majority of the phones were also offered in an ‘unlocked’ state, despite the official iPhone only being offered with an existing 02 contract costing at least £35 a month.
Jonathan Robinson, chief operating officer at NetNames said:
“Consumers need to be aware of the threats posed by counterfeit goods and grey market imports online and make sure that they purchase only from reputable sources,”
“The growth of online auction sites has unlocked major new opportunities for counterfeiters and grey market traders to move large volumes of products. Major brands need to have a greater visibility into what is happening to help protect the consumer and their own reputations.”
The eBay Apple iPhones are selling for an average of £335, with cheap Chinese made replicas called CECT iPhones going for just £56.
Although I’m not a fan of Apple’s recent push for closed source forced contract monopolistic tactics, I would recommend people to wait until tomorrow to buy their Apple iPhone from a respected shop. eBay is a place where counterfeit goods and on sale by the bucket load, and you never actually know the quality of what you are going to buy.