Saw a great iPhone deal on Amazon? Well, look again.
Before you rejoice, get excited and place an order looking at an awesome deal for your favorite iPhone on one of India’s most popular e-commerce websites, ensure you scroll through all the images on the image deck, as it might be a refurbished unit or “renewed” as Amazon puts it.
Apple has been lobbying with the Indian government to let them import refurbished iPhones to the country but has been unsuccessful so far. But the law of the land allows any authorized retailer to sell a refurbished phone as long as it was originally sold in India. So, selling a refurbished iPhone is no crime, but Amazon India (or its sellers) seems to be doing that stealthily.
Check out the listing screenshot above. This is the first listing you get when you search for iPhone SE on Amazon.in. With the official selling price around Rs 26,000, anyone eyeing an iPhone SE might get excited looking at Rs 20,000 pricing for the same. Scroll down, and you will see the product description to be accurate, then comes the official details from the manufacturer and followed by specifications and warranty details. Yes, it does mention 1 year manufacturer warranty. All good till now.
Scroll back and look for the image deck. The very last image says the product is part of Amazon “Renewed” program which has been tested and certified to work and look “like new”. And comes with 6-month limited warranty. No easy way to know who is providing that limited warranty. Apple? or Amazon? or the Seller? Anyway, the issue isn’t that. The primary issue is it’s VERY easy for any prospective buyer to miss this image while buying. As Twitter user, Sounava Ghosh, first pointed out, Amazon is doing a disservice to its customers by NOT clearly marking the listings as Refurbished.
The Specifications and warranty section again misleads by saying 1 year manufacturer warranty. And no, this isn’t an isolated misleading listing for the Rose Gold iPhone SE 32GB only. This is the case for other iPhone SE models and also for the latest iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus models as well.
Imagine paying Rs 70,000 to buy the latest iPhone only to get a refurbished piece from a third party seller. This is grossly misleading. The price too is close to what other retailers are selling. For example, Flipkart is selling the same iPhone 8 Plus model for Rs 70,499. Why would anyone buy a used and refurbished iPhone for just Rs 800 less? if the price is drastically less, you would expect people to cross check if they are buying a refurbished piece or not. But not in this case.
Again, I have no issues with Amazon selling refurbished iPhones. And I don’t care if they sell them at prices very close to what brand new iPhones cost. But please make it clear to users before they buy. How tough is it to make it clear right away? Just look at the way Amazon US marks certified refurbished iPhones.
We are not even certain if users will get a refurbished unit or a new unit when they buy an iPhone from the above links as there are no separate listings for new and refurbished (or renewed) units. It’s very much possible that Amazon has suffered a “technical glitch” which has added the ‘renewed’ image to all these listings. We will be reaching out to Amazon for a clarification and update the post once we have their reply. Please stay tuned.
Update: We just got an official statement from Amazon India:
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.