An electronics shop in west Dublin has attracted the interest of local Gardaí after receiving complaints regarding smartphones sold there.
A local woman discovered her iPhone was a counterfeit while attempting to use the Apple device in a subsequent upgrade. It’s reported that she paid over €650 for the iPhone.
The owner of the shop where she bought the counterfeit iPhone refused to discuss the issue with her, blocking her on social media soon after her claim. It was then she decided to take the matter to the local police.
TheJournal.ie reports that most affected customers first noticed something was amiss when they attempted to access the App Store. As we saw in our own fake iPhone investigation, quite often counterfeits will run a heavily-modified, older Android version, skinned and redesigned to appear as iOS.
When the App Store spots the issue, it naturally states that the apps can “only be downloaded to iPhone”.
TheJournal recommend consumer vigilance, and link to Apple’s “Check Your Service and Support Coverage” support page, where you can enter your phone’s serial number to confirm it’s a genuine device.
The dangers of counterfeit devices extend beyond monetary loss, and even performance issues. Where cheaper parts are used, the risks of physical damage increases. Sub-standard components may contain toxic materials, or batteries prone to leak and even explode.
For many victims, the phone may function sufficiently to stay beneath the radar. However, exchanging the device for an upgrade could provide another shock. The smartphone you paid over €650 for a year or two ago may now be worthless.
For smartphone resellers, counterfeit devices can harm the business and its reputation. It’s vital to check each device’s credentials before accepting it and selling it on again. Even Apple themselves have struggled to identify fake devices returned to its stores.
For consumers and regulators, the harms associated with non-standard smartphones have been well documented.