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Refurbished iPhones 'sold as new' in China, consumer advocate claims

Wang Hai claims Apple has broken Chinese consumer protection laws

Apple is reportedly facing two lawsuits in China with a prominent consumer rights advocate claiming that it sells refurbished iPhones as new.

Wang Hai accuses Apple of breaking Chinese consumer protection laws, reports the People's Daily news agency, after six people who bought iPhones from Apple resellers in Xicheng district's Xidan Joy City and Chaoyang district's Sanlitun found that their warranties were not the standard one year in length.

When some of the customers tried to return the products, they were offered replacement phones though one said staff in the store tried to change the date of the warranty.

The customers approached Wang Hai, who runs a consumer advice telephone line and website, who filed the lawsuits on their behalf. According to the reports, the customers are seeking compensation of twice the price they paid (apparently this is standard practice in Chinese law), payment of legal fees and an apology from Apple.

"It's cheating to sell refurbished products as new ones. It'll be discrimination against Chinese consumers if the case turns out to be true as refurbished cellphones are also sold in other countries, but at a cheaper price," Wang said.

Apple has recently been forced to take a tough line with stores mis-using its logo in China, with some 22 fake Apple Stores discovered in Kunming alone.

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