Mobile phones have become a necessity; many people find it a little hard to get through the day without glancing at their phones several times. Imagine one day you wake up to your phone not functioning? Only to realize it is among those that have been shut off by the government because they are not genuine. That would be very disappointing, right?
There are many companies, local and international that sell mobile phones. Normally, most people would consider the brand and desired specifications before buying a phone. There are many trusted consumer device brands, each offering desired and less desired features on their devices. You can buy a phone from a renowned brand and even a corporate store, but then a question arises, do you know how to check official and unofficial phones? This should be your primary concern when buying a mobile phone.
Most people have fallen victim to retailers selling counterfeit phones in the market because of their low costs. The dilemma comes in when the government switches off the device and the seller cannot do anything about it but blame a seller who most probably has shifted location.
An official phone means that which entered the country legally and has paid the required VAT and other taxes to the relevant authorities. If manufactured locally, the IMEI must be registered in the country’s mobile phones database. The imported phones must also have their IMEI officially registered in the government’s database.
Contrary to the official phones, unofficial ones are smuggled into the country without paying VAT and other required taxes to the authorities. They are normally sold at significantly lower prices compared to official phones. These phones look and function the same as official phones.
The major difference between a genuine phone and a fake one is the price. While official phones carry high price tags, their counterparts are widely available and at cheaper prices. The price difference is attributed to the fact that genuine phones incur costs in terms of taxes yet fake phones avoid taxes.
In addition, you get direct access to customer care if your phone is official, with all services offered at no cost. A fake device does not let you enjoy this facility.
If you don’t want to be a victim of unofficial phones, it is great to know how to differentiate official and unofficial phones. These tips should help you:
All official smartphones come with a unique 15 digit IMEI which is also written on the device’s packaging. This code is what will help you recognize an official phone from an unofficial phone. This is how you go about it:
Step1: Look for the 15 digit IMEI for your phone. You can get this in two ways:
1) Dial *#06# and the IMEI will be sent to you or
2) Go to your phone’s Settings and scroll down to About Device then Status. Your number should display then.
Step 2: Go to imei.info and input the 15 digits on the dialog box then click Check.
Step3: All the phone information is automatically displayed. If something different from what your phone says is displayed, then it most likely is an unofficial phone.
Step 1: Check for the phone’s serial number on the SIM card slot or head over to Settings>General>About.
Step 2: Go to checkcoverage.apple.com, enter the serial number and verify the code. Hit Continue.
Step 3: If your handset is fake, it will display the message “Invalid Serial Number”, otherwise it is genuine.
Open your messaging app and type “KYD, leave a space and type the 15 digit IMEI number. e.g. "KYD 123456789012345". Send the message to 16002. You will receive a reply almost instantly that confirms whether your phone is official or not. You will not be charged for the SMS.
There is no way of identifying a genuine phone from a counterfeited just by looking at it, even a branded phone can be unofficial. The cleverest way to get a genuine phone is by validating the IMEI number while still at the retailer’s shop.
If you get any negative feedback, consider moving to the next shop or buying a different phone. Although it is not to say that unofficial phones are bad, you will enjoy the same advantages as a genuine phone, only that you may not know when it will stop functioning.
So you have confirmed that your smartphone or android phone is not recognized by the government and you stand a risk of the phone being shut off? No need to panic, you can always register the serial number (for iPhone) or IMEI (for android). Different countries have different procedures that need to be followed to register unofficial phones.
You now know the difference between a genuine phone and a fake one. Next time you go to buy a mobile phone, do not be duped into purchasing a fake phone. Look out for extremely low prices and be sure to use one of the steps described above of how to check official and unofficial phones.
Be a smart buyer and keep up with the legal requirements. If you are importing mobile phones for sale to final consumers, do due diligence and sell legally acceptable products to your customers.