Technology is beginning to affect everything from communication to entertainment to our own convenience. We are increasingly inter-connected with our iPhones, laptops, Facebook and Twitter.
Zimbabweans, particularly those in urban areas, can’t imagine living life without our cell phones and social media. And as the technology advances, we are constantly adapting and adopting these relatively new mobile phone inventions into our everyday lives.
Many people in Zimbabwe however have a tendency of overlooking the improving social media applications on mobile phones because they are ignorant of their more convenient and less costly uses. The reality is that these new applications available on phones eventually do matter as is now the case with Whatsapp, Facebook and increasingly so, Twitter.
When they do decide to use them, most middle aged men and women, in their rush to catch up with fashionable communication trends tend to get duped by the new informal sector ancillary service providers for mobile phones. Especially for smart phones.
Swindled Due to Ignorance of Mobile Phone Technology Cloning
One victim of these new informal service providers is Mr. Tinashe Mudzengi. He was conned by a cellphone dealer who exchanged his original Samsung S4 smart phone with a fake one. The cellphone was sent to him by his brother who is in the United Kingdom. Such phones will be locked according to their networks and unless it’s reformatted, one cannot use it Zimbabwe.
Mudzengi decided to take the phone with him for it to be fixed of which he was referred to a specialist in the field who works near Zimpost post office. He was charged $80 for the service and instructed that it will take about close to an hour for the restoration of the gadget and that’s where he lost it.
When he returned he was overexcited that his phone had been fixed and took it home not knowingly the cellphone has been swindled for an imitation one. Incidentally these imitation mobile phones have flooded the Zimbabwean mobile phone market. After using the phone for some days he found out that its battery was not lasting so he decided to change it with the spare battery that his original cellphone had come with but to his surprise it could not switch on the cellphone.
Upon returning to Harare Post Office, the person who had formatted his original phone was said to no longer be based there. Mr. Mudzengi then approached another mobile phone dealer who advised him that he was now in possession of a cloned mobile phone and not the original. He was stunned when he checked for the devices serial numbers which did not correspond with that of the original phone and that is the moment he did know that he was duped.
In total Mudzengi lost his Samsung galaxy S4 smartphone valued at $650 and also the $80 which he paid for the service rendered to him which equaled to $730.
These clone or imitation devices have also been sold to many unsuspecting clients who have been misled that they will be purchasing original ones at a price near to cost of original versions.
View of Informal Mobile Phone Service Traders and Analysts
Simbai Tsikai a former Ximex Mall second hand cellphone dealer said these fake devices had helped them to get more money than they have desired for.
“Some people are technologically shy to the extent that they cannot even tell the differences between a fake cellphone and an original and as a matter of fact we will utilize that chance for us to make money on them,” he said.
He added that the Imitation cellphones are made in such a way that they resemble the original gadget and it will need one to have a sound background of technology and a closer look.
Zibbie Mukwauri, a Harare polytechnic Information Technology student also added that the imitation devices look so real that with people’s ignorance they are so easily deceived.
“Unlike the imitation phones of many years ago, the ones that you can purchase now look very similar to the models that they are based on. And not only that, but in some cases, clones can even surpass the original in terms of features (which is quite confusing),” he said
Whatsapping away your $3-$5
Midlands State University (MSU) student Tanaka Nyamande also added that many people are capitalizing on the lack of knowledge of people regarding the technology and its negativities.
“I witness a lot of people in town being duped of their hard earned money by silly things such as whatsapp and internet settings installation which can be easily done at home or by mobile phone network operators at free of charge,” he said.
These people charge between $3to$5 for this simple service and women are the most targets to this glitch.With the ever changing trends in technology there has been a lucrative expansion of counterfeit products.
Samsung having become the world’s biggest smart phone manufacturer but has also been also the hard hit by imitations.
Be Careful Buying an Android smartphone such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 should be a fairly straightforward endeavor. But the fact that there are fake handsets floating around makes things slightly more difficult.
The differences between real and fakes ones seem to be getting fewer and fewer with each generation. But it should always be possible to avoid buying fake units if you know what to look for.
As a final reminder, always be wary of a phone that’s being sold with a markedly lower price tag than its current market value, also look for camera qualities as well as inbuilt memory which is not normally include in imitation devices.