I am starting a business purchasing electronics such as iPads, iPhones, beats headphones, fitness trackers, computers, etc. I do this because while being an international student, I was always asked by friends to buy them these things and sell to them whenever I went home. Then they started asking me to ship them, so I decided to scale it to a legitimate business (I'm from Angola).
Now I'm wondering if I open an online store and allow people to order apple products and products from other makers, won't I get sued by them?
Here's the same question I asked on quora. Somehow the answer wasn't very conclusive, even the one I found on google.
Does the first sale doctrine apply if I buy from a US company and sell overseas? If not, is there a way to do this legally.
Btw, I looked up how to be an apple authorized reseller, and it will take years to meet the requirements, so I don't have a choice there.
It really depends on the country you are in and the laws that apply to you there. It would be best to ask an attorney in Angola. In the states, it is legal for you to resell something you own as the first sale doctrine applies. Still, you can't pass yourself off as an authorized reseller and the warranties typically won't transfer to your customers. You can't use the Apple logo or name in your marketing or advertising either. That is why becoming an authorized reseller is so important.
In Russia it is, but you will face import tariffs and the market is tight on new electronics with lots of big players (Media Markt, M.Video, Elderado and such), plus there are large electronics markets where there are dozens of small retailers selling more or less the same set of products (phones, cases, pads, etc).
You could also conclude a reseller's agreement with Apple, however, big warning, Apple demands a certain level of sales (per unit not per dollar) and those who fail to move Apple products have to pay Apple penalty fees. MTS ran into that here, MTS is one of the world's largest mobile phone companies (its a Russia company that is also found abroad in many countries, including India). Apple practices cost strategies that are dependent on each country, so that prices may vary heavily. For example: an AppleTV in the US is $100 but in Russia it's priced at their distributors at $150-180.
I have Latin friends who do it all the time. Legal? Who knows. Getting through customers without paying a high tax is another issue.
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Michael T. Irvin
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Copywriting, Startups, Internet Entrepreneur, Online Marketing, Making Money