I bought a fake smartphone, what can I do?

Fake or cloned phones are on the rise and malicious individuals are cashing out. Your favorite brands are natural targets due to their popularity and greed or naivety of its fan base. Its only a matter of time before encountering one but it sucks to fall for it.

What is a fake or clone smartphone?

‘Clone’ here is used loosely because you’ll find a lot of online posts where both words are used inter-changeably. A clone is a copy or knock-off of a popular model made by another brand. A clone is not necessarily fake; its creators were just too lazy to be creative.

A fake on the other hand is getting promised one thing but getting something not even close.

what you expected vs what you got

Can I upgrade the fake smartphone to get features close to the original?

Short answer; No

You see, many reputable brands don’t even release software updates to their devices as often as their users would like. This is mostly a marketing stunt because If a smartphone keeps getting the latest updates, that’s one less reason to buy a new phone. The marketing department will have none of it.

You should also remember that the seller(s) chose to make a fake for quick or easy profit. Why then incur the headache of fixing bugs and releasing updates?

Fakes will surely come with inferior or older hardware so running recent software won’t be feasible. Picture a fake coming with just 2G or 3G network capability whereas you were gunning for a 4G smartphone. Hardware is already limited out of the box. 1GB vs 4GB RAM you were expecting, how many applications can you run before you begin to experience significant lagging? Do we talk camera or internal storage? I think you get the drift.

Is all hope lost?

Not entirely but you won’t be using the smartphone in the capacity you’d hoped for. If returning it is an option then go for it; else, you’re pretty much stuck with it and could as well make the best use of it.

The best you can hope for is to modify the OS in order to add some extra features. This is very possible but that requires some technical skill plus you’ll be lucky to even find a backup / factory firmware online let alone a custom ROM.

How can I avoid or spot fake smartphones?

If the price is too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t be in a haste to jump on ‘deals’. Find out why the price is significantly low compared to what is available elsewhere. Is it refurbished, used, damaged, or stolen? Maybe its not the real deal?

If you’re buying online, don’t be deceived by the pictures displayed at the product listing; they could be copied promo materials from the original. Rely on user reviews and the seller’s time on the store and rating.

If buying offline or from a shop, look up the specs and physical appearance online then compare to what’s in front of you.

Have you ever bought a clone or fake smartphone? Share your experience