- By Robert ZeligerRobert Zeliger is News Editor of Foreign Policy.
What would you do if you bought a shiny new Apple computer (from what looked to be a shiny Apple store) only to find out that the store that sold it to you was a total fraud? We’re guessing there would probably be some screaming involved. For customers in the Chinese city of Kunming, the revelation that their city’s Apple hub was a counterfeit (albeit, a damn impressive counterfeit), has led to angry customers demanding refunds.
‘When I heard the news I rushed here immediately to get the receipt, I am so upset,’ a customer surnamed Wang told Reuters, near tears. ‘With a store this big, it looks so believable who would have thought it was fake?’
Wang, a petite, 23-year-old office worker who would not give her first name, spent 14,000 yuan ($2,170) last month buying a Macbook Pro 13-inch and a 3G iPhone from the Kunming store. She wasn’t issued a receipt at the time, with staff telling her to come back later.
‘Where’s my receipt, you promised me my receipt last month!’ Wang shouted at employees, before being whisked away to an upstairs room.
On Wednesday, an American blogger living in Kunming first wrote about the store, which popped up in her neighborhood:
They looked like Apple products. It looked like an Apple store. It had the classic Apple store winding staircase and weird upstairs sitting area. The employees were even wearing those blue t-shirts with the chunky Apple name tags around their necks … We struck up some conversation with these salespeople who, hand to God, all genuinely think they work for Apple.
The store said its products were genuine Apple computers and were being sold at the same price as you would find on Apple’s website. And staff said they were angry by all the media attention the blog has caused.
"The media is painting us to be a fake store but we don’t sell fakes, all our products are real, you can check it yourself," one employee told Reuters. "There is no Chinese law that says I can’t decorate my shop the way I want to decorate it."