Is Apple Selling Refurb IPhones as New?

At least six customers in Apple's Bejing stores are suing the company for allegedly selling them refurbished iPhones at new iPhone prices.

Two customers suspected being sold secondhand iPhones when the usual Apple one-year warranty was whittled down as much as six months. They contacted Wang Hai, a well-known consumer advocate who filed the lawsuits, according to AppleInsider.

The plaintiffs are seeking twice the amount they paid for the phones, legal fees and an apology.

Apple employees in China denied the allegation, but reports from Southern China say that retailers frequently sell secondhand electronic goods, People's Daily Online reported.

 A recent report in Guangzhou Daily revealed that secondhand iPhones are refurbished and sold in Guangzhou's chain stores, insiders suggesting that sometimes the store employees sell the display phones or used ones to customers after polishing them up.

(First of all -- who knew there were consumer advocates in China? Where were they after all those stories about lead in Chinese toys and toxic toothpaste?)

It's true that China is changing and responding to an increasingly capitalist and global market, so it's not surprising that consumer advocates are growing in popularity and stature. As for Apple, we're not sure if this is Apple's policy or one made more domestically. Whatever the case, the more the issue is publicized, the less any retailer can pass off secondhand goods as new.

Seriously, Apple, get a handle on this situation or you will lose your edge in the largest potential market in the world.

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