Apple Hong Kong is taking measures to cope with iPhone scalpers, following prior problems with scalpers and related violence at the iPhone 4S launch in the country. They have set up a lottery system for iPhone purchasers, preventing the usage of bots to grab online reservations as they become available.
Apple Hong Kong is taking stricter measures in a bid to cope with iPhone scalpers. A page on the company’s online store now presents a lottery system for iPhone buyers, preventing them from using bots to make online reservations as soon as new phones are available. The iPhone 4 and 4S are no longer available to walk-in buyers at the company’s Hong Kong retail store.
The lottery is moreover limited to a three-hour window each day, with winners being notified by 9PM. Even completing a reservation now requires more identification, including a government photo ID. People who do get a notification must pick up their phone the next day at a specific time.
Scalping is a serious problem in China, particularly in Hong Kong, as the iPhone is often cheaper there than in mainland China, and is already unlocked for use with any compatible carrier. Legitimate customers are being prevented from buying iPhones, and the situation is also causing confrontations, and in some cases, outright violence.