The holidays are coming up, and tablets are surely on many Christmas lists. But consumers have reason to be wary when purchasing iPads. Since the device first hit shelves, scammers have been buying them up and returning the boxes to retailers – iPad nowhere to be found. The box, re-wrapped to deceive store employees, is then put back into circulation, where it ends up getting sold to an unsuspecting customer who often gets blamed for being the real con artist at the return counter.
Store negligence, or a case of “buyer beware?” Regardless of who is at fault, here are three of the worst instances of fake iPads at major retailers:
1) A plastic rectangle
Suzanne Nassise paid $499 for a new iPad in February. According to CNN, when she returned home that day and opened the box, she knew something wasn't right. Upon closer inspection, the device would not turn on, and its speakers were determined to be painted on. Understandably upset, Nassise returned to the Walmart where she had made the purchase, only to be told that she would not be offered a refund or an exchange due to an “unwrapped merchandise” policy. They quickly changed their tune, however, when the local news got involved.
2) A stack of notepads
In 2012, Bobbi Linden, like Nassise, purchased a third-generation iPad from a local Walmart. According to Digital Trends contributor Mike Flacy, when she presented the device to her daughter for her birthday that evening, they were surprised to find a stack of yellow legal pads where there was supposed to be a tablet. Tear-filled pleas at customer service that evening went unheard by management, who told Linden that there was no possible way this could have happened, and accused her of trying to pull one over on them. Also like Nassise, Linden only received assistance from Walmart when several local news stations picked up her story.
According to Consumerist, the most recent occurrence of an iPad bait-and-switch also involved Walmart, as well as a $300 Mini unit. The man, whose name was unavailable, found several small, black notebooks with the word “cash” embossed in gold letters instead of his new device, and returning to the location where he purchased it led to claims from the store that there was a “zero percent” chance this was Walmart's fault. Obviously upset, the man has taken to YouTube in an attempt to hold them accountable and has yet to receive assistance.