Who owns iStore in South Africa?

Core Group is the company who owns all the iStores in South Africa and is the biggest authorised distributor (if not the only one) in Southern Africa.

In 2012, APPLE became the first tech company join the Fair Labor Association (FLA), they disclosed the identity of 156 suppliers and promised to do business more responsibly.

It seems like distributors are out fo the FLA’s reach, otherwise I find it very difficult to associate what APPLE stands for with Core Group’s business model in SA.

Here are some data I observed, and I would love to hear everyone’s opinion about the ethics behind it.

Similar to Apple Global, iStore also has it’s own trade-in programme in South Africa, customers are encouraged to bring in their old device in exchange for a voucher which they can spend on other products in iStore. But here is the catch:

In order to get the full estimated value for your trade-in, your device needs to be almost perfect as new, even the smallest normal wear and tear on the device will bring the value to almost nothing. I took my iPad Pro 10.5inch in the other day, which was working perfectly and with normal sign of use. Instead of the R4700 estimation online, iStore was willing to give me R1040.

It was a big deduction for almost invisible signs of usage, but if iStore’s intention is to recycle the device, I would have made peace with it. However, I found out much more about their little secret.

iStore has a sister website called istorepreowned.co.za, if you go on the website, you will see old models being sold on the platform. Of course I could not help to find out about the cost of the iPad I was going to trade in, and the price tag is R9999.

It means, if a person trades in a “brand new” second hand iPad Pro, iStore would at most pay R4700, and then they turn around selling it for R9999, a 113% markup.

In my case, iStore would pay me R1040 and sell it for R9999, a 861% of margin, even taking the cost of refurbishing into consideration, the markup is still more than 400% at least.

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