Freedom Mobile have issued an apology after an investigation conducted by CBC Toronto revealed that a customer had bought an iPhone containing counterfeit parts in one of their stores. The customer, Benjamin Thomas, purchased the iPhone 5S at a Freedom Mobile store in March for $300 CAD and immediately noticed problems with the device. The battery quickly drained down to 20 percent, the casing did not fit correctly on the device, and the camera quality was extremely poor. Upon further inspection, it also became apparent that the Apple logo was counterfeit.
After having the customer’s device examined by Fixt, an independent consumer electronics repair shop, CBC Toronto found that “significant portions” of the hardware inside the phone had been replaced with counterfeit and aftermarket parts made by manufacturers that aren’t Apple’s certified suppliers. Some of them had even been stamped with a fake Apple logo in an attempt to make them look more like official parts, experts said. The technician who examined the device, Thomas Wolanczyk, found that the device’s battery, casing, screen, and camera were all aftermarket parts and only the motherboard and fingerprint sensor were found to be authentic. It was also determined that the phone had sustained water damage at some point. Thomas said he was told by an Apple technician that some of the hardware wasn’t authentic, but was “surprised” when he discovered how many parts were fake, stating he felt cheated by Freedom Mobile. In addition to issuing an official apology, Freedom Mobile also provided Thomas with a new iPhone SE from the Apple Store.
Previously known as Wind Mobile, Freedom Mobile state on their FAQ page that they do not officially sell iPhones, and do not list any Apple products on their website. They have also never been officially authorized by Apple to sell iPhones. In 2015 they started selling some refurbished iPhones, marketing the devices as “lightly loved.” However, Apple quickly put a stop to this, stating that Ingram Micro, a wholesale IT products and services company, was breaching their contract by providing the refurbished iPhones to the Canadian firm. Ingram Micro ultimately complied with Apple Canada’s request and ended the provision of the refurbished devices to the company that was still known as Wind Mobile two years ago.