Apple Seeks to Thwart iPhone Scalpers in Hong Kong with New Reservation System

31st January 2012

Seeking to thwart would-be iPhone scalpers in Hong Kong, Apple has instituted a new reservation system (via 9to5Mac) to handle in-store purchases. With the new system, customers wishing to purchase an iPhone at the company’s retail store in the IFC Mall must request a reservation between 9:00 AM and noon one day prior to their desired purchase. By 9:00 PM that same day, Apple will determine stock levels for the following day and notify customers who are granted reservations for the following morning.

Apple’s previous reservation system had opened at irregular times during the day, with bots run by scalpers snapping up all available slots within seconds. Under the new system, customers wishing to make reservations will need to list contact information and their government ID numbers, with Apple presumably cross-checking that information before granting the reservations. Customers will then have to show their government ID once they arrive to purchase an iPhone 4Sunder their reservation.

Due to high demand, we are accepting a limited number of iPhone reservations per day. To request an iPhone reservation, please choose your store and the iPhone you want. If we have an iPhone reservation for you, you’ll receive a confirmation email by 9:00 p.m. tonight that includes the time when you can pick up your iPhone tomorrow. A government-issued photo ID matching the name and ID number on your reservation is required for iPhone purchases. If you don’t receive an email, we were unable to reserve an iPhone for you, and you can try again another time. Only those who receive an email confirming their reservation will be able to purchase an iPhone; we will not be selling iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S to walk-in customers.

Hong Kong is only one area where Apple has experienced problems with scalpers snapping up all available stocks of popular iPhone models. Violence associated with the iPhone 4S launch in mainland China resulted Apple halting all in-store sales at the company’s five retail stores in mainland China earlier this month, and the company has yet to reinstate in-store sales in that country.