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Clay iPads  (Source:
Stores like Walmart, Best Buy, Future Shop and London Drugs have all had cases where clay replaced iPad 2's during returns

Customers shopping for iPad 2's in certain Canadian stores are finding blocks of clay in their brand new boxes instead of Apple's popular iOS tablet.

Apple's iPad 2, which was released in March 2011, is a well sought-after item in the tablet market. No other tablets have been able to touch its popularity, whether it be Android-based, BlackBerry's PlayBook, HP's TouchPad, etc. In fact, iPads accounted for 97.2 percent of U.S. tablet traffic in August 2011.

Now, scam artists are taking advantage of the tablet's popularity by purchasing an iPad 2 from stores with cash, replacing the tablet with a block of clay, and returning it to the store for a full refund. The fraudulent iPad 2's are then placed back on the shelves for other unsuspecting customers to buy.

Stores like Walmart, Best Buy, Future Shop and London Drugs have all had cases where clay replaced iPad 2's during returns. According to CTV News, Best Buy and Future Shop had as many as 10 fake clay models resold to customers in their Metro Vancouver stores. London Drugs had four cases of clay models being resold while Walmart said it was investigating less than 10 cases.

Dayna Chabot was one of the unsuspecting customers who purchased a “clay” 32 GB iPad 2 at Walmart on January 5. She purchased it at the Langley store, south of Vancouver.

"It was all sealed properly and everything," said Chabot. "It was the shape of an iPad. They even had a piece of clay where the charger went and everything. Like, they knew what they were doing. I understood that it could have easily been us that did it and went back. But they were really good about it at Walmart. They were all just kind of baffled."

In response, Future Shop, Best Buy and London Drugs said they are all changing their return policies. The iPad 2 boxes will be opened right in front of the customers returning them to make sure the correct components are inside before offering a refund or putting the boxes back on the shelves.

Walmart, however, said it is not changing its return policy at this time. It called the scams "upsetting" and said it contacted the local police to investigate, but CTV News said local police knew nothing about the clay iPad 2s.

"It's really sad that people stoop to these low levels to take advantage of really hot sellers," said Elliott Chun, Future Shop spokesperson. "As you probably know, tablets were the number one touted gift items for the holidays this year."

Sources: Digital Journal, CTV News

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They don't check the contents?
By tayb on 1/18/2012 12:18:41 PM , Rating: 2
WTF? Since when do places like Best Buy not check the box for contents. The last thing I bought and returned at Best Buy was the original PSP (yeah, that long ago) and when I returned it Best Buy busted it open and went through it like it was a freaking crime scene.

I know Walmart has always had a lazy return policy but I returned a PS3 to them about 4 years ago and they opened that box up and even tested the unit right in front of me to make sure it worked.

I guess because the iPads were re-sealed they concluded that they must just be brand new returns? No one thought about how easy it is to shrink wrap something?

RE: They don't check the contents?
By Arsynic on 1/18/12, Rating: 0
RE: They don't check the contents?
By HammerStrike on 1/18/2012 1:55:17 PM , Rating: 1
Sorry, but this is just a silly comment. First off, while customers (obviously) prefer new in the box as opposed to open, it is also illegal to sell a good claiming it is new if it has been opened. Secondly, if you read the article, the the thieves were careful to return them sealed in "like new" condition. Thirdly, (you may want to sit down as this may shock you), companies are in business for a variety of reasons, including to make money. This type of hoax has to represent a fraction of a percent of all "sealed" items that are returned to retail stores, so, by your argument, all retailers should open all product, even if it appears new-in-box, and automatically take a 10%-15% hit on the gear, as opposed to have to write off the extremely rare occurrences of fraud like this happening?

There is nothing greedy about processing returns in the most efficient and profitable way possible. It's not as if their return policy was designed to defraud the customer (all of whom were made whole and only suffered the mild inconvenience of having to go back to the store.) For you to suggest otherwise indicates you are either ignorant or have a bone to pick with the retail community.

RE: They don't check the contents?
By Arsynic on 1/18/2012 2:03:02 PM , Rating: 2
You missed my point. The thieves took advantage of Walmart because they knew that Walmart would not open a sealed product. Walmart doesn't open sealed products because they don't want to take the hit on having to sell it at a reduced price. It doesn't mean Walmart is bad or that their associates are lazy, but if something appears to be unopened, why take a hit on already razor thin margins and open it.

I'm not sure what side of the issue you think I'm on, but I'm taking an objective look at the problem.

RE: They don't check the contents?
By Solandri on 1/18/2012 2:26:11 PM , Rating: 2
That's why most manufacturers of tech products are sealing their boxes with a tamper-proof sticker. You have to cut or peel off this sticker to open the box, and there's basically no way to get a duplicate to put back on. In contrast, a shrink wrap machine is not that expensive for a fraudster to buy.

If iPad boxes don't have the tamper-proof stickers, that's something Walmart will have to take up with Apple. If they do have them, then this incident is just a failure of Walmart's hiring and training procedures.

By dark matter on 1/19/2012 5:58:24 AM , Rating: 1
If people are missing your point then it's "you" who isn't clear enough not "them".

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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