A second-hand iPhone 7 has been sold at auction for over 41,000 U.S. dollars in a judicial sale, reports China National Radio.
The phone is part of items involved in a civil dispute, where the creditors asked the court to sell the debtor's assets at auction after failing to get back their money, which is 15.1 million yuan (around 2 million US dollars).
The 128G iPhone 7 was evaluated at 140 yuan, and was put on sale with a starting price of 100 yuan (about 15 U.S. dollars) at 10a.m. on Thursday.
Bidders can add 50 yuan for each bid, but the price rose dramatically to over 10,000 yuan only 11 minutes after the auction started, and surged to 90,000 yuan after 24 hours when the auction was scheduled to end.
However, the auction lasted over two and half hours longer than planned, as an auto extension was triggered 377 times after the scheduled end time to keep the auction open until nobody bid within 5 minutes.
Over 2,700 people registered to join the auction, and a total of 310,000 people watched the bidding process.
The phone was eventually sold for 270,550 yuan (about 41,740 U.S. dollars). The model is priced at 6,188 yuan on the official website of Apple.
Another iPhone 6, which was on sale together with the iPhone 7, was sold at 6,500 yuan (just over 1,000 U.S. dollars).
Speculation has emerged online due to such extraordinary prices. Some have guessed that a few bidders tried to raise the price on purpose, while others think that it is because someone wants to get the information contained within the phone.
Two courts involved in the auction in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, replied that all the information in the phone will be cleared before it being delivered to the new owner, adding that no violation of law has been found in the auction so far.
However, the man surnamed Che who bid last refused to pay for the phone, saying he mistook the price.
Che's words have been doubted by both judges and netizens as he bid twice, and the real-time prices as well as the bidding records were clearly shown, said a judge.
According to Provisions of the Supreme People's Court on Several Issues concerning Online Judicial Sale by People's Courts which took effect on January 1 of this year, if a buyer refuses to pay, the deposit he or she paid will not be returned. The buyer will also not be allowed to join the bidding for the same item when it is put on sale again.
Lu Min, a lawyer in Jiangsu, said the deposit for this auction is only 20 yuan, which is affordable, which may be the reason why so many people still bid when the price was already much higher than normal.
Lu added that provisions on auctioning or selling off property in civil execution promulgated in 2004 stipulates that the buyer who regrets bidding should also pay for the difference between the final prices of item in its two auctions, as well as other losses. However, this hasn't been executed in current judicial sales, said Lu.
Lu suggested related departments improve the provisions to make sure the buyer pay the difference, adding that a personal credit recording system should be set up in judicial sales to prevent such a breach of contract.
According to local courts, the buyer should pay for the phone before 5p.m. on September 15 and sign the confirmation of the deal before 5p.m. on September 22.
The courts will trace the result of the process and conduct an investigation.