Today I'm going to be officially charged of selling stolen and counterfeit products.
Long and absurd story short: Some time ago I promised to a friend to buy some mobile phones he wanted, and send them to him, to a country where this model is not available. I bought these phones from a vendor who does not officially sell them, but who told me he could get some with a very nice price. The phones in question were iPhone 3GS 16GB.
Tuesday before Easter I got the phones but was too busy organizing the Easter holiday and my birthday party, so I asked a co-worker to take the package to the couriers. I signed the papers, including a customs declaration (the insurance value was greater than the value that you could send duty free to that land) and sent him to the couriers.
Last week I got a letter from German customs asking me to come to an interview on Monday the 12th of April, yesterday. So I went, only to hear that a routine control had shown the phones were fake. The phones were basically real ones but somebody had changed the covers in them to give impression they are a more expensive model; phones were iPhone 3G 8GB, they should have been (the covers and packing said and I believed they were!) 3GS 16GB. A huge difference in price and features. To make it even more complicated, phones IMEI codes told they were reported stolen in England some time ago.
Went early this morning to see the vendor, I wanted to see his eyes when I asked if he knew. I'm inclined to believe him when he said no, he seemed very sincere. Don't know. In any case, I've lost some money, and I'm losing some more because I decided my friend don't have to suffer so I'm going to buy the phones to him from official Apple Store, paying the official Apple price.
Came just home from the vendor, to report my meeting with him to my wife. A cup of coffee, 15 minutes of SF and next to see a lawyer, then together with him to the customs to be interviewed and charged. Of course I know I'm going to be cleared, I've acted in good faith when buying from a vendor and sending the package. It's just a really big PITA at the moment.
Should I get a new 'Pirate' badge now, selling counterfeit products?