Life in China: Apple I-Pad

12 Jun

Apple I-Pad

The Queen is NOT amused.  In fact, I’m pretty down-right Pi**ed (pardon the language).  After all the trouble I’ve had, I thought it pretty necessary to update all future China-Travelers to the dangers of buying/using Apple products here.

I don’t remember if I told you all this, but Lawrence the Laptop has had another revolt. He attempted going on strike via a broken LCD screen; I cut him off at the start via a nice HDMI connection to my television.  Unfortunately, he laughed in my face and promptly refused to work without the HDMI connection. No need to get into it, it was a whole thing.  

So last November, I bought an Ipad 2 during China’s version of Black Friday. I’ve had an I-Pod for several years, which lasted pretty well and I figured I’d give their tablet a try.  YES, I checked and it is a legit Apple I-Pad; had it tested by the real Apple Company in Zhengzhou (it’s on the apple website as a legit seller).

WRONG!  BAD! Stupid Olivia!  

Here’s Why. .

Price: 1800 RMB (approx. $300)

Review: The price was a little expensive for my tastes (almost all of Apple is), but I figured it was worth the bargain.  Apple products in China tend to run a bit pricier than products in America. Go figure given that they are literally produced about 10 miles away in the city I live in.  They have their own personal runway at the international airport they ship so many Apple products out of here. Yet we still get charge at least 50% again as much as American buyers.  So, I had to wait until 11/11, China’s Black Friday shopping day to pick one up from Hong Kong.  

Initial Purchase: Semi-Good; Semi-Problematic

Review: The first shipment I got was not too terrible.   It came with the charger, a cover, a screen protector, and ear plugs, pretty sweet all together.  The I-Pad itself was unmarked and undamaged, it seemed like everything would be okay.

It worked for about 2 hours, and then problems started.  The swiping part of the screen wasn’t working. It would stall up, like the screen was locked. You could go up about half an inch and down about half an inch, but otherwise nothing was happening. Buttons wouldn’t click, etc.  So we tried turning it on and off again (the answer to most issues), which revealed that the lock screen was not working either. Once again, I couldn’t swipe from the screen saver to the unlock screen. When I did finally get to the lock buttons, it froze and wouldn’t click them.  Tried a hard reset and several other options, nothing worked.  

So we called the seller and sent it back.  They kept it for about two weeks and finally sent me a new version.  This one seemed fine, so life moved on.

Use: Final Product

The final I-Pad I got worked fine soft-ware wise.  Sometimes it would randomly shut down songs or the internet would stop working, and none of the VPNs like it at all.  Otherwise, it was great and I was happy.

Hard-ware wise, the screen cracks like crazy. Literally, press to hard on the screen when punching a button and the whole screen cracked.  I put on a super duper safety case on it intended for toddlers, took it off and the whole edges were broken.  I asked the computer fix-it people and they said it sounds like I was sent a re-furbished model that had a cheap screen put on it.  The screen supposedly should not have cracked like that, but they verified the computer was really apple so they think the screen was just replaced with a cheapo version.  

I was not happy, especially knowing it takes 300 RMB to fix the screen. Furthermore, they admitted that if the top screen breaks the second lower screen there may be no fixing it at all?!?  0_0 Don’t you think that’s something they should have told me about before I bought the I-Pad?  I did a ton of research into I-Pads, I asked questions, and this never came up.  

ERROR: Blue Screen of Death

Anyways, along I go using  my ipad for about 5 months, when suddenly the screen goes blue and the whole thing just shuts off.  Black. Off, no charging, no connecting to the computer, no nothing.  Reset doesn’t work. Plugging it in to the computer doesn’t work. It is dead as a doornail for no apparent good reason.  No warning, that would be too nice. Just stops in the middle of a show.  Takes with it my calendar, contacts, messages, photos, videos, notes, everything. So off I go to the computer store to have it fixed.

Customer ServiceSucky, really, really sucky

I went down to the off-brand computer store here in Xinzheng to see what they could do.  They don’t speak English so I had to take along a friend, but off we went.  

I get to the store and at first they won’t touch it.  They explain that to get inside an Apple product, you have to break the screen. And if you break the screen, you risk breaking the second screen which may ruin the I-Pad alltogether.  Ummm. . . well it’s dead without a fix, so what else have you got?  Also, thanks a lot Apple.  

Finally, I demanded that they at least try to fix the stupid thing. They said okay, it’ll take about 4 days to verify that it is a legit Apple product at the Zhengzhou Apple store. If it is, we’ll fix the hard drive (apparently it just crashed) and the repair the broken screen.  700Rmb, about 1 week.  I wait and wait. They keep telling me they will call and let me know. No calls.

2 weeks later, well we are trying to fix the product but we’re not sure what’s wrong. 3 more days.

3 days later, well we know what’s wrong but we need a tool to fix it. 3 more days.

3 days later, well we don’t have the tool yet.  4 more days.

4 days later, well that tool didn’t work but we’ll try again. 2 more days.

4 days later.  Well, we put in a new drive and it’s working most of the time.  But it has a problem where sometimes the swiping touch screen won’t work.  (Apparently same problem I had with the first one.) Instead of just REPLACING THE NEW HARD DRIVE (go figure), they tell me they’ll just send it back to me and I can see if someone else can figure out how to fix it.  I’m thinking, okay, so at least it works about 85% of the time, I can sort of work with that.

3 days later, it comes back.


Not only, did my screen come back shattered in a million pieces missing giant chunks, the d**m thing was open with wires showing, no new hard drive, permanently busted.  They were kind enough not to charge me for the time. Ummmm Hello!?!  It was working “most of the time” and this is how I get it back? So broken it will never work again?  No, this is so far beyond okay it’s straight into bad.  Now, I wasn’t there, but I was told that it was being taken care of by the legitimate Apple fix it store.  That’s why they had to verify I didn’t have a knock-off.  This sucks so bad it’s unbelievable.  $300 down the drain, almost as much as I make in salary here.  All because the stupid Apple I-pad 2 has some sort of standard touch screen problem, a bad hard drive, and a hardware issue like nobody’s business. Seriously? You have to break the product to get inside to fix it?  On what technology planet are we still living?


So here I am, left sans I-Pad, sans faith in Apple, and sans $300.  And I can’t even afford to replace it although I bought it because I badly needed a replacement for my computer.  This sucks.  BTW, if there are any laptop company’s out there desperate for someone to test their laptops or tablets in China, I’m availabe 🙂  Just not Apple.  

3 Responses to “Life in China: Apple I-Pad”

  1. Harold Delk June 12, 2015 at 12:01 pm #

    Well Golly,
    In my former life I was a fraud investigator, agency director, and consumer advocate for over 20 years and I am very sorry about your experience with your iPad. My take is probably not the one you want to hear, but the crux of your problem lies not with Apple. Had you bought the iPad from Apple (directly from one of their company-owned stores) rather from a third-party online seller your experience would have been much better. It appears that you did not actually buy a new iPad, but one that had been “modified” by a seller of junk. Did you, as example, receive the Apple warranty and other official paperwork from Apple with your purchase? Did you contact Apple directly and verify your serial number as valid and did you register your product with Apple? A new iPad would have been repaired under warranty with no money passing hands to a third party repair service … you would have been instructed by Apple support to send it to Apple or an authorized center of their choosing to have it repaired. iPad screens do not break easily so something is totally amiss here. I suggest you contact Apple directly and furnish them all information about your purchase and subsequent problems … be sure to give them the serial number as well. It sounds to me that you are the victim of a ripoff. In the US there are agencies (I used to direct one of them) with the power to intervene in matters like this; in China I have no clue. Now I’m going to slap you on the hand and remind you to do due diligence before making another expensive mistake. You must start thinking like a lawyer and an informed consumer; it’s not fair to blame Apple for someone else’s problem. You take a risk buying in a shady gray marketplace. Sometimes that risk bites you right in the pocketbook. As I re-read your post after writing this far I see so many clues that should have told you to run the other way … things like “I went down to the off-brand computer store here in Xinzheng to see what they could do.” … “YES, I checked and it is a legit Apple I-Pad; had it tested by the real Apple Company in Zhengzhou (it’s on the apple website as a legit seller).” How did you have it tested? Why did you not buy one from the ‘real Apple Company in Zhengzhou?’ If they are an Apple retailer then they could have repaired it under warranty rather than you taking it to an off-brand store. One other thing strikes me as odd: you mention it costs 50% more to buy Apple products in China, but you paid $300USD which is about the same as the price in US. Huh? I feel really badly for you and what you have had to go through. Don’t let yourself be caught off guard again … slow down, do your research, do it again, weigh the situation carefully, and then stop and think carefully about your decision. Then, if you wish, write to me and ask me what I suggest. I’m not always right, but I spent much of my life trying to resolve these problems … most of them without stepping into the courtroom. Just using that little tap on the wrist and asking a simple question, “Ya’ sure you wanna do that?” “Real sure?”

    • deceptivelyblonde June 12, 2015 at 10:23 pm #

      Lol thanks:) true a warranty would have fixed it for free, but it wasnt the price i had so much of a problem with. It was a legit ipad(yes its been verified by the apple store claimed by apple)- and the repair people were an official apple store in Zhengzhou. That’s why I’m frustrated with them. The ipad itself has issues – from the difficulty in repair to the obvious glitch in their hard drive. This is really more of a reflection of working with apple in China. In America I’ve been fine with apple and would probably work with them again. China not so much. The ipad was real, the repair people were real and both left me with a broken ipad of no use. My campus store doesnt fix they just drive it to the zhengzhou apple store and back again. Frankly I’m already mad that the hard drive crashed in less than a year. The only part that had been cheaply replaced when I got it was the screen after a previous repair. The hard drive that crashed was apples. The first brand new I pad that crashed was apples. The third hard drive that wouldn’t sign in was apples. If it is that difficult to get an apple product to work and be fixed here, I simplicity won’t buy them here again. So like you said now I know better 🙂 forewarned is forearmed

  2. impressed June 13, 2015 at 9:58 am #

    Switch to android!

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