Official distributor for Apple products in South Africa, the Core Group, has issued a warning to South African customers who intend to purchase the highly anticipated iPad device in the United States or through local ‘grey’ importers.
The device became commercially available in the United States over the weekend, selling over 300 000 units on the first day. Shortly afterwards Apple announced that the iPad would become available internationally on the 24th of April.
Although Core Group could not confirm whether the iPad would be available in South Africa on that date or at what price, Executive Director RJ van Spaandonk urged consumers to be careful about purchasing devices through grey importers or outside of South Africa.
According to van Spaandonk a clause in the iPad’s warranty terms states that “Apple may restrict service to the country where Apple or its Authorized Distributors originally sold the hardware product”.
Van Spaandonk added that “at this point in time, no Apple Authorised Service Provider (not even Core Group) is authorised or equipped to service iPads. We cannot help, even if the customer were to have paid import duties, taxes, etc. and could prove it.”
This means that should South African consumers purchase an iPad in the United States or through a grey importer they will not be able to benefit from the device’s international warranty. In this case van Spaandonk added that the consumer will then have to rely on the grey importer for support should the device malfunction.
Nonetheless there are still several South African retailers selling the iPad, including the 3G version of the device, despite issues with supporting the device.