Noofa Hannan, Howl Staff
You’ve just bought a brand new iPad 2 from your local Best Buy and can’t wait to show it off. Excited, you open the box, only to discover a slab of modeling clay instead. You’ve just been conned.
A growing fraud involving the sale of modeling clay in iPad 2 boxes has hit the Vancouver area. Retail giants like Best Buy, Future Shop and even Walmart have all been targeted. Scam artists have reportedly been purchasing the iPad 2s and swapping them with clay slabs and then returning them for a full refund. These fake computers are then sold to unsuspecting customers.
Victoria resident Rosemary Symchuck is one of the affected customers. She purchased the fake iPad 2 at a Best Buy on New Year’s Day. According to Symchuck, “The employees were all aware that this had happened on the mainland but none of them had actually seen it.” She was told the box should have been opened for her before she left the store. Following the implementation of a new policy; no products whether factory sealed or not can be returned without being opened first. “After seeing the contents of my box the employees at that store understood why they should open the boxes,” she said. Three other people have also come forward as victims of the scam. Needless to say, they were able to easily receive their refunds.
On Wednesday an official statement appeared on the Best Buy Canada website, stating that a comprehensive investigation has been launched in cooperation with Apple and other retailers who have reported similar incidents. “We have already implemented new systems within our stores to verify and assure all customers that their products have not been tampered with by fraudsters,” the statement reads.
New policies have been put in place in an attempt to curb the growing scam. Now all returned iPad 2s will be opened in front of the customer to verify that the product is inside. Future Shop spokesperson Elliott Chun has some advice: “Biggest tip (…) just make sure that you’ve got things like factory seals on them, things like factory stickers on them. And if it’s something for yourself feel free to open it up right on the spot and make sure it’s there.”