In the middle of last week, Apple officially announced the new iPhone 13 series. With the iPhone as the main high-end product line, domestic retailers have begun to prepare for promotional programs during the past week.
However, according to our sources, a large mobile retailer in Vietnam has had part of its supply of iPhone 13 cut off due to a violation of Apple’s sales policy. This shows that despite not having a clear presence in Vietnam, Apple still follows closely the movements of the market.
Regulations on ordering Apple’s iPhone
When a retail system distributes smartphones of a certain company, that retail system will have to comply with many strict requirements set by the partners. One of them is the organization of pre-order programs.
For example, with Samsung, this company allows retailers to organize a “order brick” program even if the product has not yet launched. However, retailers are not allowed to call the exact name of the product, for example “Galaxy S21”, but are required to name this machine “New Galaxy S” or “Galaxy S 2021”. Naturally, retailers are also not allowed to release upcoming product specifications and features.
Order banner of a retailer using the name “New Galaxy S”
Or, another rule that Samsung sets is that retailers are not allowed to “devalue” and must hang the list price of the product, at least initially. For example, with the Galaxy Z Fold3 256GB, retailers have to list the price of 41.99 million VND, although the actual value of the device (after deducting gifts) is only about 35 million VND. This prevents “price turmoil” from happening, in addition, it also helps Samsung keep its high-end image in the eyes of users.
For Apple, the company is quite comfortable in terms of price policy, as shown by the large difference in the price of iPhone 13 between dealers. For example, iPhone 13 Pro Max 128GB is sold by some dealers at the listed price of 33.9 million VND, but there are also some dealers who offer only about 30 to 32.5 million VND. Apple is not too concerned about this.
Price list of iPhone 13 of a retailer
However, Apple is very strict about the process of retailers receiving new iPhone orders. Retailers are not allowed to run the order program without Apple’s permission, even after the product has been released. In addition, another taboo thing that Apple prohibits is accepting deposits from customers.
This is a rather strange thing, because most other manufacturers allow, even require users to deposit so that they can understand the attractiveness of the product, as well as the production plan. But with Apple and its size, it probably never had to consider the iPhone being “sold out”.
Instead, what Apple fears is its image in the eyes of customers. Apple believes that if customers deposit money but do not get the device soon, it will make them angry, thereby affecting the image of the Apple brand.
Vietnam is not on the list of countries that are prioritized by Apple to sell iPhones soon, so the amount of goods coming to Vietnam is dependent on other markets. Because the supply of iPhone 13 for Vietnam is uncertain, Apple has not yet allowed retailers to order or deposit. Instead, retailers are only allowed to open “subscribe” pages as a way to signal that genuine goods are about to arrive.
Vietnamese retailers “evade the law”
A retailer in Vietnam has violated this regulation of Apple. Although not officially authorized by Apple, but according to the information we have gathered, this retailer has started to launch the order program right after Apple announced the iPhone 13. Even this retailer even received a deposit from a customer with an amount of 1 million VND/machine, although it is impossible to give an exact time when the machine will reach the customer.
An administrator of a retailer’s website mentioned a deposit of 1 million VND for iPhone 13
To “circumvent the law”, instead of directly referring to the iPhone 13, this retailer uses the name “Super Phone”, “New Phone” or “Super product 2021” instead. The versions of iPhone 13 are respectively called by this retailer “Super product 2021 mini”, “Super product 2021 new”, “Super product 2021 Pro” and “Super product 2021 Pro Max”. It is not difficult to see that this is a trick used by this retailer after many years of cooperation with Samsung.
Retailers use the name “Super Phone” instead of iPhone to circumvent the law
In addition, in promotional materials, instead of using images of iPhone 13, this retailer also uses symbolic images, but makes it easy for users to associate with new iPhones.
In another promotional image, the retailer calls the iPhone 13 “New Phone”, accompanied by a mockup of an iPhone.
Violation of the policy causes Vietnamese retailers to be cut off from the source of goods
With such violations, this retailer was cut by Apple by 50% in the first sale. In addition, this retailer also received a warning “stick” from Apple. Repeated violations can result in a retailer being demoted, with the biggest consequence being Apple’s withdrawal of its distribution license.
Currently, this retailer has stopped accepting deposits from customers. This unit’s website and promotional materials have been updated to replace the ordering program with “get info”. Consultants also no longer talk about the order program or the deposit level.
Retailer’s website before and after being warned by Apple
In fact, this is not the first time that a Vietnamese retailer has violated Apple’s policy. Just last year, another retailer violated similar policies. This retailer then had many difficulties in returning iPhone 12, especially two high-end models, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. Some customers had to wait more than 2 months to get their hands on the iPhone model they ordered.
As expected, genuine iPhone 13 VN/A will be on sale in the second half of October. At the time of writing (September 20), Apple has not yet allowed retailers to place orders or make deposits. When retailers will be allowed to open iPhone 13 pre-orders is currently unknown.