Apple complains Amazon’s US site is selling fake products

Apple has complained of a “flood” of counterfeit goods masquerading as its products being sold on Amazon.com.
  
Apple has complained of a “flood” of counterfeit goods masquerading as its products being sold on Amazon.com.
 
The claim relates to items sold via Amazon’s “fulfilment” scheme, whereby third parties list their goods on the retail giant’s site, store their inventory in its warehouses and rely on it for deliveries. Apple warns the alleged fakes are potentially life-threatening. But it is suing one of the vendors rather than Amazon itself. The defendant, New York-based Mobile Star LLC, could not be reached for comment and has yet to file its own legal paperwork.
Amazon says it takes such matters seriously.
 
“Amazon has zero tolerance for the sale of counterfeits on our site,” a spokeswoman said. “We work closely with manufacturers and brands and pursue wrongdoers aggressively.” Details of the case were first reported by Patently Apple.
 
Apple said it had bought “well over” 100 iPhone devices, own-brand power adapters and charging cables, and had found almost 90% of them were fakes. “Unlike genuine Apple products, they are not subjected to industry-standard consumer safety testing and are poorly constructed with inferior or missing components, flawed design and inadequate electrical insulation,” it said. “These counterfeits have the potential to overheat, catch fire and deliver a deadly shock to consumers while in normal use.”
 
It added that customers might be fooled into believing the products were safe because Amazon was perceived to be one of the US’s most trustworthy companies. “Consumers, relying on Amazon.com’s reputation, have no reason to suspect the power products they purchased… are anything but genuine.”
 
One blogger who has previously highlighted what he calls “Amazon’s fraudulent seller problem” suggested Apple should be more aggressive in its effort to tackle the issue. “I can certainly see why Apple is suing Mobile Star,” wrote John Gruber. “But why not sue Amazon too? This is shameful. I’ve known for a while never to trust anything merely ‘fulfilled by Amazon’, but I’m actually surprised that even the ‘Apple’ branded chargers… are dangerous counterfeits as well.”
 
 

Man walks into Apple store and calmly smashes every iPhone in sight

Who knows what happened to the man to send him into such an anti-Apple rage? Maybe he bought a brand new iPhone 7 only to discover that it doesn’t have a headphone jack.
  
Who knows what happened to the man to send him into such an anti-Apple rage? Maybe he bought a brand new iPhone 7 only to discover that it doesn’t have a headphone jack.
 
Perhaps he’d had some kind of tech glitch that sent him over the edge – or a message on a dating app that sent him into a meltdown.  Or maybe he just really hates the company. 
 
For whatever reason, the unknown unhappy customer decided to let loose with a metal ball in a French Apple store, calmly and methodically smashing up every iPhone in sight. Untroubled by security for some time, the man – wearing sunglasses and a backpack – used what appears to be a metal pétanque ball to cause the damage.
 
He muttered in French as he did so, before a guard eventually came over and challenges him. The identity of the man is not yet known.
 
It is also unclear exactly where the incident took place or if he was arrested. Bizarrely, it looks like he was just allowed to walk out of the shop, which some Twitter users have suggested was in Dijon. The video proved a hit after being posted to Twitter on Thursday afternoon and has already received more than 4,000 retweets.
 
An Apple spokesman declined to comment.  
 
 
 

Dixons Carphone are set to close 134 stores nationwide

Dixons Carphone are getting ready to combine all of their remaining Currys and PC World stores together and add a Carphone Warehouse branch into every store during the combination process.
 
Dixons Carphone are getting ready to combine all of their remaining Currys and PC World stores together and add a Carphone Warehouse branch into every store during the combination process.
 
As a result of merging PC World and Currys stores together there will be 134 stores closed nationwide.
 
Group CEO Seb James has said, “We are very confident that the impact on sales and colleague numbers will be neutral or better.”
 
“When we build one beautiful, refitted new 3-in-1 superstore and we have one great Carphone Warehouse in town… sales go up and also we end up usually needing more colleagues to work on the shop floor.”
 
According to Seb James around £50 million will be invested into refitting the new stores with an additional £70 million being set aside to cover shop closures.

 

Carphone Warehouse breaks company records on Black Friday

Carphone Warehouse broke all company records on Black Friday when it sold a new mobile phone contract every three seconds.
 
Carphone Warehouse broke all company records on Black Friday when it sold a new mobile phone contract every three seconds.
 
Sales of pay monthly contracts were up by 70 per cent year-on-year with high quanitities of Apple and Samsung devices helping to drive the sales forwards. SIM-free handset sales were also up by 182 per cent again thanks to high numbers of Samsung handsets being sold, namely the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.
 
Carphone Warehouse MD Jeremy Fennell said, “We know our customers are always looking for great value and we are thrilled with the feedback and sales so far. Our website has been particularly busy with more than 2.2million site visits since we opened our ‘Black Tag’ event on Monday.”
 
Fennell also added, “We’re expecting this to continue over the weekend and into next week as we offer deals through to Wednesday. Reflecting how people actually want to shop, we are delighted that our decision to spread savings across ten days instead of focusing on just the one day of discounts has gone down so well with our customers.”
 
It has also been relealed that more than 100,000 customers visited the Carphone Warehouse website between midnight and 5am on Black Friday.
 
 
 

 

EE trialling concession stands within Argos stores across the UK

Mobile network operator EE are to begin trialling concessions within Argos stores across the UK.

 
Mobile network operator EE are to begin trialling concessions within Argos stores across the UK.

 
Five Argos stores are to begin the trial with a further stores to folow suit should the initial five prove sucessful.
 
Stores in Staples Corner (London), Colliers Wood (South London), Bletchley (Milton Keynes), Bristol Imperial and Guiseley (Yorkshire) are to see the inclusion of a small stand manned by EE staff within their doors.
 
This isn’t the first time that the network have used concessions to boost their reach, with EE previously utilizing 28 concessions in HMV stores across the country back when they were still operating as Orange – the deal ended when EE and T-Mobile formed EE.
 
An EE spokesperson said, “EE is working on a small retail test with Argos, exploring the concept of ‘store-in-stores’ in a select number of Argos locations.”

Dixons Carphone set to save 800 Phones 4U jobs

peoples-phone-phones4u-shop

 

Dixons Carphone will offer to hire the 800 people who work in Phones 4U concessions at its Currys and PC World stores.

Phones 4U set up the shops-within-a-shop at Dixons-owned Currys and PC World before the merger between Dixons and Carphone Warehouse was announced.

The 160 concessions were due to end next year as Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4U were competitors. The Phones 4U business went into administration on Monday.

The move put 5,596 jobs and more than 700 outlets at risk, and came after Vodafone, EE and O2 did not renew their contracts with the company.

Dixons Carphone said via Twitter that it had secured an agreement to offer jobs to Phones 4U employees who work in concessions in its stores. Separately, mobile phone network operators Vodafone and EE are in discussions to buy parts of stricken retailer Phones 4U, sources say.

Phones 4U blamed its decline on EE’s decision not to renew its contract. This followed a similar move from Vodafone earlier in September. Accountancy firm PwC was appointed to see if any of the 560 stores and 160 concessions could be re-opened or sold. As well as Vodafone and EE, overseas operators with an eye to entering the UK market have expressed an interest.

In an e-mailed statement, Vodafone said: “We can confirm that we have been approached by the administrators of the Phones4U business.” EE and PwC declined to comment. The Financial Times first reported the network operators’ discussions late on Tuesday.

John Caudwell, the founder of Phones 4U, has blamed the demise of his former company on the “ruthless actions” of “predatory” mobile phone networks.

Phones 4U said it had been a profitable business, with turnover of £1bn, underlying profits of £105m in 2013 and plenty of cash in the bank, but that without the contracts from the phone networks it no longer had a business.

This was an “unprecedented assassination”, Mr Caudwell said on Tuesday. The mobile firms rejected his claims.

Mr Caudwell sold Phones 4U to Providence Equity and Doughty Hanson for £1.5bn in 2006. The retailer, now owned by private equity firm BC Partners, has said established mobile contracts taken out through Phones 4U will not be affected, although phones ordered and not despatched – for example anyone ordering the new iPhone 6 over the weekend – would be.

 

Phones 4U shops closing down across UK

peoples-phone-phones4u-shop

 

Retailer Phones 4U has gone into administration putting 5,596 jobs at more than 700 outlets at risk. Accountancy firm PwC has been appointed to see if any of the 560 stores and 160 concessions can be re-opened or sold.

The retailer, owned by private equity firm BC Partners, blamed the decision to shut its shops on mobile network EE’s decision not to renew its contract

This followed a similar move from Vodafone earlier in September.

“If mobile network operators decline to supply us, we do not have a business,” said Phones 4U boss David Kassler.

The company said established mobile contracts taken out through it would not be affected, although phones ordered and not despatched – for example anyone ordering the new iPhone 6 over the weekend – would be. A customer service line will be open from Monday at 09:00.

In a statement, PwC said: “Our initial focus will be to quickly engage with parties who may be interested in acquiring all or part of the business, and to better understand the financial position and options for the company. The stores will remain closed while we have these conversations. “We will also be talking to network operators and suppliers, and trying to access funds to pay for the costs of the business, including wages. These conversations will determine whether we can re-open stores and trade, and also if and when we can pay the arrears of wages to employees. Our hope is that we will be able to pay all the outstanding wages arrears.”

A spokesperson for EE said the decision not to renew its contract with Phones 4U was “driven by developments in the marketplace that have called into question the long term viability of the Phones 4U business”.

The spokesperson added that the decision was also “in line with our strategy to focus on growth in our direct channels”.

EE, Vodafone and 02 all have around 500 stores across the country, broadly the same same sized network of stores that Phones 4U has, and sell directly to customers through these.

BC Partners said EE’s contract was due to expire next September, a full year from now. It warned “the ultimate result will be less competition, less choice and higher prices for mobile customers in the UK”

Analyst Rahul Sharma, from Neev Capital, said the network operators own businesses were under pressure and the companies were trying to shore up their profits. He also pointed out the EU has put pressure on their charges, most recently stamping down on roaming costs.

Professor Andre Spicer, from the Cass Business School, said customers had less need of high street phone shops in any case: “Currently the networks are asking how they can take over more of the supply chain so they can reap a greater percentage of the profit created.

“Consumers are no longer scared of smart phones. This means they are less in need of a sales person to walk them through the purchase. Instead, they are likely to be happier buying devices online. This leaves retailers with less space for growth.”

Mr Kassler, chief executive of Phones 4U, said it was a “very sad day” for both customers and staff.

“A good company making profits of over £100m, employing thousands of decent people has been forced into administration,” he added.

The firm said EE and Vodafone’s decisions not to renew their contracts had come as “a complete shock”. Phones 4U said it had only received EE’s decision late on Friday.

Stefano Quadrio Curzio, from BC Partners, said: “Vodafone has acted in exactly the opposite way to what they had consistently indicated to the management of Phones 4U over more than six months. Their behaviour appears to have been designed to inflict the maximum damage to their partner of 15 years, giving Phones 4U no time to develop commercial alternatives.

“The company is in a healthy state and both EE and Vodafone had, until very recently, consistently indicated that they saw Phones 4u as a long-term strategic partner.”

But in a statement, Vodafone said it had been in negotiations with the high street chain for months: “We strongly reject any suggestion that we behaved inappropriately at any stage during our negotiations with Phones 4U.

“Phones 4U was offered repeated opportunities to propose competitive distribution terms to enable us to conclude a new agreement, but was unable to do so.”

 

Phones 4U collapse and your orders

peoples-phone-phones4u-shop-sign

 

Will this affect mobile phone contracts bought through Phones 4U?

All existing mobile phone contracts will be honoured, the company says. Networks will continue to provide mobile services to these customers, so customers will be able to continue using and paying for their phone as normal.

The company says that any existing discount deals will still be honoured. Some customers receive a £5 discount each month.

Clearly, customers will still have a decision to make about where to take their custom when their contract expires.

What about phone insurance policies? 

Again, these policies will be honoured. Anyone who needs to make a claim if, for example, their phone has been stolen will still be able to do so, with staff still available to take these calls on 0844 8710535.

What happens if a phone has been ordered from Phones 4U? 

The company says that any phones that have been ordered and sent out can be used as normal by customers. However, orders of phones yet to be dispatched will be cancelled and refunds automatically paid to customers.

Phones 4U customer services remain operational and available on 0844 8712253, the company adds. Customers whose phones are being repaired can call 0844 8712269. Their repairs will be completed with the phone being sent back to their home address rather than a store.

 

Phone shop staff misleading customers over ‘fixed’ mobile phone contracts

peoples-phone-which-logo

Mystery shopping carried out by Which? shows sales staff giving inaccurate information about the possibility of price increases.

New undercover research carried out by Which? revealed that the vast majority (82 %) of staff in mobile phone shops they visited gave incorrect information about potential price rises on ‘fixed’ phone contracts at the point of sale.

Astonishingly, 82% of shop assistants maintained that the price was fixed even when asked if it would stay the same throughout the length of the contract. All shop assistants, when prompted, claimed that the features will stay the same throughout the contract.

Which? recently launched the ‘Fixed Means Fixed’ campaign, which has already received almost 20,000 pledges of support from consumers, calling on phone companies to ensure that the price, and all aspects of fixed deals, remain the same for the full length of mobile phone contracts.

In the past year, four out of the five main phone operators have taken advantage of a hidden clause that allows them to increase prices on contracts that appear to be ‘fixed’, a practice potentially netting the industry up to £90m in a year.

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, says: “It’s totally unacceptable that people aren’t being told the full story about potential price rises when signing up to contracts in mobile phone shops. Shockingly, even when we asked directly about price increases, the vast majority of staff denied this could happen.

“There should be no nasty surprises after signing a mobile contract. People must be confident that fixed really does mean fixed.”

Recent Which? research found that 70% of people on fixed contracts did not know that mobile phone companies could increase prices during the length of their contract.

The Which? Fixed Means Fixed campaign is calling on operators to advertise upfront the possibility of price rises and, if prices do increase, to allow people to switch contracts without penalty. Which? has also complained to the regulator, Ofcom.

 

Man smashes up mobile phone shop in bizarre rampage

An unhappy customer smashed up a city centre mobile phone shop during an apparent row over a refund for a mobile phone contract.
  
An unhappy customer smashed up a city centre mobile phone shop during an apparent row over a refund for a mobile phone contract.
 
Shocked shoppers filmed Jason Codner, 42, from Salford, on their phones as he methodically ripped out wall fixtures and set off fire extinguishers at the T-Mobile store in Manchester city centre. The footage, which later appeared on YouTube, shows the middle-aged man destroying the shop displays as staff watch in disbelief. 

Dressed in a checked shirt and jeans, the man pulls stock from the walls and overturns tables. 

The havoc continues for several minutes until one member of staff makes a call from his mobile phone and shopping centre security staff arrive at the store shortly afterwards.

 
Five burly police officers turn up seconds later and the man smiles and tells them he is OK. Police then arrest him and lead him away, after telling a huge crowd of bystanders to move on. One YouTube user joked: ‘I hope he didn’t smash his phone up for that all important last call!’ Another wrote: ‘I think he went over his call allowance! He dealt T-Mobile Manchester style!’
 
A spokesman for T-Mobile – whose slogan is Life is for Sharing – said the firm was aware of the video footage and was investigating the incident.
 
A Greater Manchester Police spokesperson said they were aware of Saturday’s incident and that Jason Codner, from Salford, had been charged with criminal damage and public order offences. He is due to appear at Salford and Manchester Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 30 July. 
 
A police spokesman said: ‘At 4.25pm on Saturday 30 June 2012, police were called to T Mobile store on Market Street in Manchester City Centre to reports of an aggressive customer. ‘A 42-year-old man got into a verbal altercation with members of staff and started to damage items in the store. it appears he didn’t get the response he wanted after a conversation about his mobile phone contract.’
 
One shopper said: ‘The footage is unreal and we couldn’t believe how much damage had been caused. ‘He must have been seriously angry about something to go on such a rampage. Normally disgruntled shoppers would have just an exchange of words with a member of a staff about a product but this guy took it to a whole new level.’  
 
A T-Mobile spokesman said there were seven staff members and several other customers in the shop at the time of the incident but all managed to escape without injury. They added: ‘The incident which occurred at the Manchester Market Street store was of course very upsetting for our staff.  ‘During the incident, all customers and staff were taken outside of the store as quickly as possible and the police were called immediately to handle the incident.  The customer’s dispute was in relation to a refund that we were not able to give – as it was clearly outside of the stated terms and conditions.  We are currently assessing the damage, and will be re-opening the store as soon as possible. We will of course continue to work to ensure the safety – of both our staff and our customers – is of paramount importance at all times.’