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Chinese criminals' fraudulent warranty claims cost Apple billions of dollars

By midian182 · 8 replies
Oct 10, 2018
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  1. The Information writes that in 2013, Apple noticed its store in Shenzhen was receiving more than 2000 warranty claims per week—more than anywhere in the world and three times higher than its flagship Fifth Avenue store in New York.

    Following an investigation by the company, it was discovered that gangs of criminals were buying or stealing iPhones and replacing the parts with fakes and even chewing gum wrappers. They would then return these “Frankenstein” handsets and request warranty replacements, at which point they would sell both the removed components and the new iPhones.

    The prevalence of knock-off iPhone parts in the region, along with the triad gangs, allowed for thousands of fraudulent replacements at the Shenzhen store, causing Apple’s warranty claims costs to skyrocket. "Apple set aside $1.6 billion at the start of its fiscal year for global warranty claims, but ended up spending $3.7 billion on them in the period, according to the company's annual report for that year," writes The Information.

    Apple tried to tackle the practice by introducing an online reservation system that required proof of ownership before repairs were carried out, but hackers managed to get around these protections. It then tried performing diagnostic checks on iPhones brought into the store to identify fake parts, but the fraudsters made sure the phones wouldn’t turn on.

    Apple eventually stopped warranty replacements taking place in its stores; instead, the iPhones are sent to distribution and repair centers where they can be thoroughly checked. It also uses an invisible dye on batteries and waterproof sealants on its chips. All of which have dropped fraudulent rates from 60 percent down to 20 percent for all warranty repairs in China. Warranty expenses, meanwhile, fell for the first time in 2017, down to $4.32 billion from $4.66 billion a year earlier.

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. trparky

    trparky TS Evangelist Posts: 366   +240

    And this is why you don't trust China.
     
    SimonJ likes this.
  3. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,233   +344

    Nah that's because your tv told you not too.
     
  4. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,843   +3,249

    It's really hard to ignore the Robin Hood-esque irony of this situation. :rolleyes:
     
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  5. Jyrkz

    Jyrkz TS Booster Posts: 70   +54

    If its in billions, then I can try to understand
     
  6. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,843   +3,249

    @ midian182 Have you actually done the math on this story? It sounds like Apple has:

    1: Deluded itself into thinking, "it just works", is fact, instead of Madison Avenue fantasy.

    To wit: ". "Apple set aside $1.6 billion at the start of its fiscal year (2013) for global warranty claims, but ended up spending $3.7 billion on them in the period, according to the company's annual report for that year," writes The Information.".

    To me that says, "Apple's garbage is 2.1 billion dollars junkier than they imagine it is.

    And 2: After they have cleaned up a good chunk of the fraudulent claims in China, warranty claims have dropped by 340 > million < dollars, which is nowhere near a "billion", let alone "billionS".

    You'll find all those wonderful discrepancies lurking in this paragraph:

    All of which have dropped fraudulent rates from 60 percent down to 20 percent for all warranty repairs in China. Warranty expenses, meanwhile, fell for the first time in 2017, down to $4.32 billion from $4.66 billion a year earlier.

    I understand that "billions lost to fraud" is an aggregate number spanning a number of years, but it's also hard to picture Apple's optimism about the 1.6 billion "guesstimate" they proffered in 2013.

    As for the drop in 2017 warranty expenses, even the 340 million figure assumes that reduction of fraud in China accounts for 100% of the savings.

    But, if they want to get those warranty expenditures down even further, I guess they'll have to beat those Foxconn workers harder than they do already.

    I'm starting to think Apple's annual reports are more of a bedtime story for blind deaf and dumb shareholders. :rolleyes:


     
  7. user108

    user108 TS Rookie Posts: 19

    Apple + slave labor (mines, assembly etc) = crApple products. I feel sorry for them. For the slaves of course...
     
  8. GaryMove

    GaryMove TS Member Posts: 87   +6

    Haha. What a news! Excellent!
    I am using Apple phone made in China.
     
  9. Abraka

    Abraka TS Addict Posts: 171   +53

    Only picking on China? Ignoring all the fraudulent claims from India? Funny.
     

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