Apple ordered to pay compensation for IMEI altered iPhone in India

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Apple have just been held liable for an iPhone with the wrong IMEI number and told to pay the purchaser compenstaion, according to The Tribune in India. The iPhone apparently had an Apple IMEI number that was assigned to an iPad Mini so at some point in it’s life the IMEI had been changed.

In the UK it’s illegal to change IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) numbers as it is throughout most of the world, the numbers are uniquely assigned to devices by the manufacturer to identify them for life. It is possible to illegally change IMEI numbers and it appears that the mobile device, purchased on eBay, had at some point been dismantled and re-assembled with a fake identity.

Apple India were naturally having nothing to do with the handset for which they claimed the warranty had expired anyway, but the courts still ordered them to pay compensation as it was judged they should take action against anyone tampering with IMEI numbers and because the number that had been used was in fact one of Apple’s, albeit for the wrong product line.

“After verifying all facts, the forum in the judgment stated that the product purchased by the complainant virtually had true and correct IMEI number of the manufacturing firm, though it was issued to iPhone or to iPad Mini, it is the duty of the manufacturing firm to make it clear whether the IMEI number is printed on a right product or not and further, if any tampered and dismantled mobile phone has been sold by the dealer, the liability casted upon the manufacturing firm to take appropriate action against such fake dealers.”
The Tribune India

This is an interesting case, although it’s unlikely to set precedent in Europe or the US as it comes under Indian law. Nevertheless, holding a manufacturer responsible because a third party tampered with their product and changed it’s identity is a worrying development. Apple may be only too happy to take action against anyone interfering iwth IMEI numbers, but how do they catch them and know who they are in order to press charges? In the mean time, in India at least, it would appear a manufacturer is still responsible for their products even if their serial numbers and identity is altered by a third party.

One Response

  1. ebays way it seems is to punish you. When asked what would be the best solution to stop the fraudulent returns, their solution sellers should offer free returns as their research suggests buyers are more likely to select the correct reason when returning an item meaning you are less likely to get hit with a service metric defect.

    So ebay’s way for sellers is a lose lose choice, would you rather give free returns for any reason or have customers pay for returns and more likely they will open not as described cases.


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