Demo vs New iPhones

My wife yesterday came home with an iPhone 13pro max she bought from Harvey Norman, who is an authorised reseller.

She seemed pleased as it was at a $250 discount and given the 13 is now superseded and all she required, it made sense to her.

She was smart enough to ask about warranty and AppleCare+ (for us AppleCare makes sense for convenience as it avoids the home insurance excess and she’s notorious for needing a repair breakage virtually every 9/12 months)
She was assured there is 12 months manufacturers warranty and after 7 days she would be eligible for AppleCare+.

Turns out the phone is a “demo” and even stamped on the box “not for resale”.

I called the store, and the sales rep whilst being obnoxious basically told me I was wrong and this would be the case. “Even says so on the receipt” was his comments

So, me being a long term Apple user, whilst I understand the TandCs from Apple that extend warranty to the end user from delivery, after calling them, they deemed Harvey Norman the end user as the phone was activated in store, and essentially we were sold a “used” phone with no manufacturers warranty or eligibility to AppleCare+.

Moral of the story-
1 don’t believe the salesperson, they are making a sale
2 a demo is a used piece of equipment no matter what anyone says
3 do your own research and ensure you have agreement and caveats should you are not sold what you think you’re sold.

I’m taking this back today and expecting a full refund as they mislead my wife into a purchase.


As an update… the rep was very arrogant and rude when I arrived in store.

He mentioned we weren’t going to have this debate again… there was no debate. The facts were pretty straight forward.

I received a refund, by being dismissed arrogantly to deal with the cashier and explain it to her, who invariable would have to ask for approval anyway…and even told I will be removed from the store as I questioned his legitimacy and the fact he either didn’t know what a used phone was or more likely decided to be misleading to get a sale.

Very unhappy with the attitude and I’m contemplating writing to the franchisee about my experience.

For those interested…the store was HN Caringbah. The sales person was L****.


I would write to the franchisee and HN head office.
Two stores I try and avoid, Harvey Norman and JB Hifi.
JB Hifi staff don’t like been bothered by customers. The sloppy torn and holed T shirts and clothing demonstrates their disrespect for customers.

If there is a particular store that has not met needs, it can be informative for others to share the store location and any other related observations.

I’ve a more positive observation of JB HiFi staff across numerous stores in SE QLD, and several in NSW. All visited with successful purchases in the previous 6 months. True they are typically more youthful. Something I value when it comes to familiarity with the usefulness of many types of the products stocked.


Consumers should recognise and remember that the HN business model is a franchise system where each franchise, including the HN Online is more an independent business than most franchises. The only guaranteed commonality are the logo and sales catalogues, not the overall customer experience.

Historically the head office is not interested so long as the franchise and their P/L objectives are met. Over recent years a number of HN franchises have received fairly significant fines for misleading consumers. HN corporate appears to have stayed at arms length on each occasion.

In contrast JB stores are all corporately owned, as are all (or most as time passes) The Good Guys stores since being acquired by JB.

HN franchises are thus likely to be more variable from one to another with some being excellent and others not so much with issues between the individual consumer and the individual franchise.

As a senior everyone working at JB is younger than I :joy: and dress their age ranging from smart casual to jeans and T-shirts reflecting customer demographics.


The only JB Hifi store I ever go into is Albury, NSW. Don’t go to eastern seaboard capital cities anymore since introduction of toll roads.
The one thing I like about the USA is the standard of customer service. The worst customer service the UK would take first prize. Australia sits in the middle of the USA and UK.

We made several purchases from the Wagga store in August. Also Charlestown and Kotara , NSW since then. We looked at mobiles but did not purchase. If there is one useful observation those younger than us including our own family now in their 30’s appear to spend less time sweating the small stuff than we do. Lower cost items are purchased expediently (often on line), and treated more like consumables than life changing decisions.

A mobile phone comes with a more significant cost, even when it’s included in a plan. The second option does spread the cost and can deliver a more desirable product? The true cost mildly disguised?

Curiosity asks whether there is a demographic more often choosing to purchase a mobile outright. Is it those most interested in Choice see an outright purchase as the better value option? Hence more exposed to the common retail outlets and experience of their service/warranty good, bad or indifferent.

With one only exception (JB HiFi) all our personal mobiles have been purchased through a Telco outlet, or Apple direct. Admittedly 5+ years past. Zero experience needing warranty. Hearing about others experiences, in this and other similar topics it’s not certain which way we will go for their replacements later this year.

I think a mobile phone purchase can be an expensive (or inexpensive) exercise depending on what one wants. In our case, the performance of the phone is linked to our business needs such as instagram/tictok advertising, videos and posts.

There are phones that are relatively inexpensive however the higher end models like an Apple pro can cost close to $2000. The more value minded, and cashed up I suppose, will recognise that a plan will almost always cost more than an outright purchase with a sim only plan. I suppose the argument could be if you took that $2k and invested it over 2-3 years would you be better off? Ultimately it depends on circumstances, however an instant tax write off is also good persuasion sometimes for outright purchase.

In our case, and knowing what it costs to replace the glass on these things, it was more a case of getting the additional protection and knowing in the long term we would be more comfortable with any unexpected expenditure ($45 vs $300 per breakage) Our history shows, having kids (who break things) and busy lives (which ultimately leads to mishaps) we would benefit from this…and it wasn’t possible to have the coverage with this scenario.

Different consumers and demographics value things differently. Is there value in having the latest phone to show off to your friends? For some…is there value in investing in hardware that has been shown to perform better? Again for some…

The value equation is a complex algorithm inside our brains and an open market allows each of us to explore our values. It’s what makes life and reading choice reviews interesting.