China: Around The Nation

Expensive error sees Chinese man bid more than US$41,000 for used iPhone during online auction

Bidder insists he did not realise he was offering almost 100 times the going rate

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 September, 2017, 2:27pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 September, 2017, 5:20pm

A Chinese man who made a record bid of 270,000 yuan (US$41,660) for a used iPhone in a court auction has insisted it was all a mistake and he will not pay.

On Thursday morning, a court in Qinhuai, Nanjing, put up a used rose gold iPhone 7 with 128 gigabytes of storage for sale online, with the bidding starting at 100 yuan.

About 11 minutes after the auction started, the bidding price surpassed 10,000 yuan.

The authorities suspect a lot of online bidders started to push up the price of the phone as a joke.

After 708 bids, the phone was sold for 270,550 yuan to a man only identified by his last name Che, who later insisted he had misidentified the price tag and would not pay for the phone.

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However, the incident still proved costly for him after officials summoned him to court and fined him.

The auctioned iPhone 7 had been confiscated from a debtor in a court case. It is common for Chinese courts to auction confiscated items online, with the sales becoming one of their major sources of revenue.

A new iPhone 7 with the same features costs more than 6,000 yuan in China, with a second-hand one costing about 3,000 yuan.

According to a report from The Beijing News, Che said that throughout the auction he had thought he was bidding just 2,000 yuan.

“I definitely won’t buy it. My head is spinning,” Che was quoted as saying.

According to an investigation from the Nanjing court, Che bid twice during the auction.

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The court also summoned another bidder surnamed Liu, who bid 147 times and admitted he “jokingly” joined the auction and had no intention of buying the used phone at such a high price.

The court fined Che 10,000 yuan and Liu 20,000 yuan for obstructing justice, and said it would continue looking into other “malicious bidders”.