Saturday , July 13 2024

Unofficial retailers trick buyers with Xiaomi showroom display phones

Many consumers are complaining that they unknowingly bought display Xiaomi phones from unofficial stores.

Last November Duy Nguyen, an office worker in Hanoi, bought a Xiaomi 12S Pro for VND8.5 million (US$349) at a store on Cau Giay Street.

The seller told him it had been “hand carried,” a term commonly used in Vietnam to refer to informal imports, but brand new with original packaging and battery.

But within a few weeks the battery began to deplete quickly and the device heated up during normal use.

The seller told him it could be an issue with the operating system and to further observe it.

Unconvinced, Nguyen took the phone to an electronics repair shop, where he found out it was meant only be to displayed at stores.

He said: “The technician told me it had a label with ‘demo’ written on it in Chinese that was “inked over” there are still traces of the label by the seller. A check on a specialized website also confirmed it was a display product.”

Nguyen went back to the seller who refused to refund or resolve the problem.

Hoang in HCMC bought two new Xiaomi K60 Pro phones with their seals intact for VND18 million, the same as at official stores.

The seller said they were brand-new hand-carried phones but did not provide any other information, he said.

On checking the packaging, he discovered that both of them were display phones, he said.

“When I took the phones back to the store, they claimed they did not realize the phones were display products, but nevertheless refused to refund or exchange them.”

While he has not had any problems with the phones, he could not help feeling cheated, he added.

Xiaomi phone packages with the “demo” label erased (left) and the “demo” label intact (right). Photo by Hoang Giang

Nguyen Duc Trung, a moderator of an internet forum for over 10,000 Xiaomi users, said unofficial stores palming off display products is a widespread issue in Vietnam.

“Sellers have various methods to identify display products but intentionally hide this information and sell them at a high price. They would have bought the products at just 60-80% of the normal price.”

Display phones from other Chinese brands like Oppo, Realme and Vivo are also brought into Vietnam in large volumes, he said.

Experts suggested Xiaomi got notoriety because only because it is popular in the hand-carried goods market.

According to Trung, display phones usually come with screen and battery problems after running and being charged non-stop in the showroom.

Besides, some have advertising features installed, and getting rid of them requires modifications, he said.

Nguyen Lac Huy, a representative of electronic retailer CellphoneS, said the phones are leftovers from batches distributed by the manufacturer to official retailers.

The official retailers usually sell these phones through bids at cheaper prices, he said.

“At official retail stores, display products are inspected and covered by warranty when sold to users. But phones sold by unofficial stores have dubious origins and quality. So buyers should buy from reputable stores.”

A spokesperson for Xiaomi Vietnam suggested checking for the “demo” label written in Chinese on the packaging to avoid buying display products.

Running the device’s international mobile equipment identity (IMEI) number through certain specialized websites provide information about its date of activation and repair history.

But the brand advised consumers to buy products from official stores to minimize risks and enjoy a better user experience.

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