In case you have tried to purchase the iPhone 14 Pro or the iPhone 14 Pro Max from an authorized retailer in Delhi NCR in the last couple of weeks, you may have heard from several retailers that the devices are unavailable with them. And for a good reason.
While it was announced that Apple, in a bid to reduce its reliance on China, will start making the iPhone 14 and the iPhone 14 Pro series in India, however, several reports have surfaced that claim that Apple is not making the iPhone 14 Pro series in India, just the regular, vanilla version of the iPhone 14, the iPhone 14 Plus’ production has been suspended mainly because of a lack of demand.
The devices people are looking for the most, the base variant of the iPhone 14 Pro and the iPhone 14 Pro Max, are not readily available in India, at least in Delhi-NCR. This has become a golden opportunity for players in the black market and private sellers making money hand over fist.
Nilesh Kamra, one of the many mobile phone sellers who operate out of New Delhi’s Gaffar Market, says, “We are not aware of any such shortages; we are getting our devices regularly.” When asked how much he sells the devices, he stated, “We sell the iPhone 14 Pro 128GB version for about Rs 1,05,000, without the bill and accept only cash.”
With the bill, the same variant costs Rs 1,29,900 when you buy it from authorized channels. While sellers like Nilesh claim that the devices are India-ready and that Apple will entertain warranty claims for these devices in India, the refusal to provide a bill is a major red flag.
Gaffar Market is known for its electronics shops, and devices such as gaming consoles, laptops, and smartphones are sold at much lower prices. The catch is that in most cases because the products are bought in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and other places in the Middle East, they are far cheaper and don’t have any paperwork. As a result, authorized service centers will refuse to entertain warranty claims on these devices.
The availability of devices in such markets is never an issue. And even though devices sold in the black market do not have any applicable warranty, taxes, or duties paid, people still buy them.
Because sellers who sell on the black market can pocket a much more significant portion of the money that a customer spends on a device, private sellers and authorized resellers have started dabbling in a similar practice.
In the past, we have seen the authorized showrooms of several Chinese smartphones, such as Vivo and Xiaomi, acting similarly – first claiming that they do not have the devices and then offering the device after “getting it arranged from another store.” The conditions that they will sell you under? You will have to pay in cash, and the bill will be of an earlier date if it is being provided. However, this is the first time we have seen Apple devices being sold like this.
Govind Kushwaha, a salesperson who works with one of the oldest mobile phone sales centers in Laxmi Nagar, said, “We have been instructed to turn customers away If they are looking to buy an iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max with a bill and using UPI, or credit card, or if they need a bill. We give them the phone if they are okay with not getting a bill or a predated one under a different name.”
But what happens if stores don’t have the phone? “We can arrange it in half an hour tops. In case the customer is willing to wait for that half an hour. If they plan to return and pick up the phone another day, we ask them to pay some Rs 10,000-20,000 as an advance. The shortage isn’t an issue.”
This, however, does not mean that there isn’t a shortage of the iPhone 14 Pro series in Delhi-NCR – there genuinely is a shortage of the iPhone 14 Pro Max, mainly due to the sporadic lockdowns in China. When a Twitter user flagged Apple, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and a bunch of other government officials complaining about the fact that private sellers are selling iPhone 14 Pros in black, Union Minister of State for Electronics & Technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar responded to the tweet –
To their credit, Apple is trying to get on top of the situation and manage its supply chains so that all of its sales regions get an equitable distribution of the devices.