A Dutch online reseller who promised customers simlock-free iPhones has apparently gone missing, leaving coworkers bemused and hundreds of consumers a total of €700,000 in the hole.
The owner of the website iPhonehelpdesk.nl has allegedly emptied his offices in Amsterdam and disappeared without a word to his colleagues.
Like many other European countries, in the Netherlands the iPhone can only be ordered through T-Mobile along with a two year-subscription. The phone is locked, and can’t be used with other operators.
Robert van Zanten, 39, started the iPhonehelpdesk website just before the launch of the 3G iPhone in early July, promising fully working simlock-free phones. The company said it had secured a small batch of 3G iPhones, but didn’t say where they were from. It was deluged with orders and many customers paid up to make sure they got their iPhones. The sales reps then reported a serious delay, and angry customers began to demand answers.