Apple revises return and exchange policy in Hong Kong

The market believes Apple's stringent new approach for returning and exchanging in Hong Kong targets scalpers who resell products in China for profit.
Written by Cyrus Lee, Contributor

Apple has recently aborted a policy in Hong Kong which allowed consumers to return or exchange products within 14 days free of charge.

Consumers returning or exchanging Apple products in Hong Kong with their original receipt and packaging will now be charged a so-called packaging fee: 15 percent of the retail price for originally packed goods and 25 percent on unpacked ones, according to Chinese reports.

The new rules apply on all Apple and Beats products purchased from Apple's official retail channels in Hong Kong. However, products purchased from Apple stores in China will continue to enjoy the 14-day return and exchange courtesy.

Apple didn't specifically explain the rule change for the Hong Kong market. But local reports suggest the Cupertino-based giant is trying to contain the rampant scalping activities between Hong Kong and China markets as Apple products in the duty-free harbor of Hong Kong are generally one of the lowest priced worldwide. Apple's latest flagship iPhone 7 Plus 128G is priced at HK$7,388 ($952) per unit in Hong Kong, $125 cheaper than the pricetag of 7,188 yuan ($1077) in China.

The stringent new policies are likely to hamper those who hoard Apple's newly released products in an attempt to resell.

Chinese customs are also cracking down on cross-border smuggling of iPhone 7 products. Travellers who bring an iPhone 7 to China for personal use will be levied tax of 15 percent of the pricetag, and those who bring excessive units of iPhone 7 to China without declaring to customs will be deemed as smuggling suspects, according to a Tencent report.

Shenzhen customs seized 400 of the handsets on its release day, according to Shanghai Daily. Some smugglers had about 20 to 30 of the smartphones taped under their clothes.

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