Scalpers seem to have set their sights on a new, in-demand product with limited availability: Genius Bar appointments inside Apple’s popular retail stores. According to Beijing Morning News, local ticket scalpers in Beijing are charging between 10 and 40 yuan ($1.63 to $6.52) for a Genius Bar appointment after booking up all available appointments months in advance. The trend is causing trouble for some Apple product owners in the area, as getting to a store is sometimes difficult due to their work schedules. These Apple customers are then left with a difficult choice: to pay the scalpers for a ticket or hope there is a no-show and a place opens up for them in the Genius Bar queue.
According to one of the customers:
[Booking service at an Apple Store] is difficult like [getting a] Spring Festival train ticket.
The reporter ended up contacting the manager of the Apple retail outlet, relaying the process he had just gone through and asking whether the store or Apple would be doing anything to stop the network of scalpers. There hasn’t been a response to this question since it was asked.
Apple’s retail outlets are high traffic locations which welcomed 120 million visitors in the last quarter of 2012, and this is even more so in the world’s most populous nation. One Beijing location, according to the report, sees hundreds of Genius Bar reservations made per day and appointments for iPhone and iPad maintenance stay in short supply in the city. Other observers also noted that low appointment availability is something of a regularity in Hong Kong as well.
We’ll have to wait and see if Apple does something to put an end to this and in the meantime, hopefully this trend doesn’t extend to other locations.
Source: Beijing Morning News via AppleInsider