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Clay iPads  (Source: cdn.tipb.com)
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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RE: Wal-mart needs to stop being lazy....
By sprockkets on 1/18/2012 1:45:35 PM , Rating: 2
The bank eats it from what I understand.

Heck, when I exchanged a kindle due to the screen cracking so early, the Target person checked the serial number on the box to make sure it was the same as the device for like 3 minutes.


RE: Wal-mart needs to stop being lazy....
By Solandri on 1/18/2012 2:20:01 PM , Rating: 3
Walmart eats it. The bank issues a chargeback, whose net effect is that they don't pay Walmart for the fraudulent purchase. Walmart ends up losing the merchandise.

The way the credit card system is set up, it's the merchant's responsibility to verify that the person using the card is in fact the owner of the card. If the cardholder issues a chargeback, the only recourse the merchant has is to prove that it was in fact the cardholder who made the purchase.

The signature is usually the most common proof (merchant sends copy of the signed credit card receipt to bank, who compares it to the signature when you applied for the card). It's complicated though by a law making it illegal to require a credit card user to show their ID. The merchant can ask you to show your ID to confirm your name/signature/address, but if you refuse they cannot use that as grounds to deny the sale. So merchants do other things like cross-reference phone number and address.

There is a lot of room for improvement in this system, but it's hard to build up enough critical mass. Merchants have to accept your card for customers to want to use your card. Customers have to have the card for merchants to want to accept it. Discover is the only card which semi-succeeded, and that was because they used to be Sears' credit card. Right now the banks and credit card companies are sitting pretty, raking in money for transmitting a few bytes of data along wires, while the merchants eat the losses. So they have very little incentive to improve things.


By Just Tom on 1/19/2012 8:16:01 AM , Rating: 2
There is no national law prohibiting requesting/requiring ID for credit card purchases, although it is true in some states. The credit card companies themselves have rules that prohibit requiring ID for credit card purchases, so any merchant who does so is technically in violation of VISA/Mastercard/AMEX's rules. However, the merchant always has the right to not sell to the customer if it feels something is wrong; as long as the reason for such refusal to sell is not discrimatory they are perfectly free to say no sale.


RE: Wal-mart needs to stop being lazy....
By PrinceGaz on 1/19/2012 9:40:13 AM , Rating: 1
What about the PIN number you must enter these days when using credit/debit cards (I haven't used my signature to buy anything for years-- in fact the last time I used it at all was when I signed the back of a new card at home last year because they still want your signature on it even though it is never used now).


By Taft12 on 1/19/2012 1:58:35 PM , Rating: 3
There's plenty of places in the USA that still don't have chipcard tech on debit and credit cards.


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