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Fake Apple Store – Not a New Concept

Posted by J Powers at 9:04 AM on July 22, 2011
Fake Apple Store - BirdAbroad

Fake Apple Store - BirdAbroad

The band “DaVinci’s Notebook” said it best:

Unless every American does his part -¬†They’ll steal our Cheetos, Birkenstocks and Wal-Marts
And it won’t be very long -¬†‘Till the pirate version of this song
Tops the radio charts in Mainland China

In the last 48 hours, a blogger (called “BirdAbroad”) broke news of a new store in Kunming, China that was claiming to be an Apple store. It brought up this dilemma that anyone can make a fake store in China and how this is starting to become a major issue. But reality is, this is not the first time a fake store has been fabricated (and I don’t think it’s going to be the last, either). So what can we do to keep our purchases safe?

The Store that calls itself “Apple”

An American woman living in the Kunming China area – Blogging under the name BirdAbroad – discovered this store that claimed to be an “Apple Store”. They went home to verify on Apple’s website, but according to their searches, there were 2 stores in China and this was not one of them.

So they did what any other american would do – post this information on the internet.

Of course, this caused a major disturbance in the Apple force. Since the term “Apple” is a trending topic, People sprung on this story like a Apple fanboy to the Lion OS.

Reuters has been reporting from the stores on how upset customers have been swarming for refunds. They even noted some store employees didn’t know they were part of a big facade. I suppose if they could read english, they might have noticed the big faux-pas in the window that said “Apple Stoer”.

What Apple is Doing about the Fake Store

Nothing that we know of yet. They have been tight-lipped about the whole ordeal. Maybe they’re waiting to see what the outcome is. Maybe they’ll see this area as an important expansion and buy it?

OK, probably not.

There are two types of Apple stores – Apple (which is not called Apple Store) and an authorized Apple retailer. In town here, we have 2 AAR’s. Their store names are not related to any Apple trademark, for they would violate terms of service. But they do say “Authorized Apple Retailer” somewhere on the store.

Of course, this store is neither. Interestingly enough, you would figure (after all the press) this store would be closed up by now. Yet, the employees still come to work and more product gets sold.

Not the First Time

The reality: this is not the first time a fake store has opened up. It’s just the first time an Apple store has been opened.

We’ve heard about the underground knock-off world in the news many time. I can show you a few DVD’s I collected from friends that have been to China (horrible quality, so it’s just for show). I even remember a friend coming back with a fake Rolex watch – showing it off like it was the real thing.

There are some vendors on the streets who also sell the real thing. They get the product through black market or smuggle from other areas. Purses from Coach, dresses from Macy’s and iPhones from Apple.

This isn’t even the first time that has happened in the United States. In years past, people would open storefronts trying to fool customers that they were a brand it wasn’t. Most of the time, they also sold knock-off products. In 2008, police raided China-town and closed 32 vendors.

Be Aware of Fakes

Whether these people bought real iPhones or fake, Apple doesn’t have to honor the devices. That means if you spend $2,000 for a Macbook Pro and it dies within 30 days, you might have a nice paperweight.

Some people buy fakes for the novelty – like my friend I mentioned earlier. He knows that once the watch dies, he throws it away. Then again, it might just live his lifetime…

Even in the US, you cannot always trust a store. If you feel it’s a fake, then don’t buy from it. Do a little research and make sure they are who they say to be.

In the meantime, more fake Apple Stores have popped up in China. We’ll have to wait and see what Apple does to resolve this issue.