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Canada Crime Idle Apple

Fake IPad 2s Made of Clay Sold At Canadian Stores 265

Posted by samzenpus
from the old-school-tablets dept.
SpuriousLogic writes in with a link to a story about some Canadian consumers who thought they were getting an iPad 2 but instead got the makings of the world's oldest tablets. "As many as 10 fake iPad 2s, all made of slabs of modeling clay, were recently sold at electronic stores in Vancouver, British Columbia. Best Buy and Future Shop have launched investigations into how the scam was pulled off. The tablet computers, like most Apple products, are known for their sleek and simple designs. But there's no mistaking the iPad for one of the world's oldest 'tablet devices.' Still, most electronic products cannot be returned to stores. For the the stores and customers to be fooled by the clay replacements, the thieves must have successfully weighed out the clay portions and resealed the original Apple packaging. Future Shop spokesman Elliott Chun told CTV that individuals bought the iPads with cash, replaced them with the model clay, then returned the packages to the stores. The returned fakes were restocked on the shelve and sold to new, unwitting customers."
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Fake IPad 2s Made of Clay Sold At Canadian Stores

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  • Returns (Score:5, Informative)

    by Formalin (1945560) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @10:58PM (#38744636)

    Still, most electronic products cannot be returned to stores.

    Huh? I've never had a problem returning electronics. Software, on the other hand...

    • Re:Returns (Score:5, Informative)

      by jschen (1249578) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @11:02PM (#38744656)
      Furthermore, the store acknowledges that returned iPads appears to be the way the clay fakes got there in the first place. It says so right in the summary.
    • Re:Returns (Score:4, Informative)

      by danomac (1032160) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @11:03PM (#38744666)

      Future Shop specifically will allow returns [futureshop.ca] up to fourteen days after purchase. It doesn not say anything about rejecting a return that's opened.

      However, it sounds like the [thieves?] just re-shrinkwrapped it and returned it, so they didn't open it to check.

      This news is disturbing, I just bought eight of them for work (although not at one of the listed stores), tomorrow morning first thing I'm going to open them all to make sure they're legit!

      • Re:Returns (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Fishead (658061) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @11:16PM (#38744758)

        I returned an un-opened set of sockets to Canadian Tire once. The sockets were still in the original shrink wrap, and the clerk cut it open in front of me before she gave me a refund. When I asked her why, she said that they've had people return socket sets full of rocks.

        Not surprised really.

        • by shentino (1139071)

          Sucks to be the victim of a thief who returned garbage and got you stuck with it.

          It's like the thief gets away with it and the store doesn't get burned for accepting it.

          • Re:Returns (Score:4, Insightful)

            by petermgreen (876956) <plugwashNO@SPAMp10link.net> on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @11:54PM (#38745016) Homepage

            It sucks for the store too. So you get a socket set and find it's full of rocks rather than sockets. You go back and complain. The store has too choices.

            1: they assume you are telling the truth. This means they are stuck with the loss and for all they know you may be the one trying to screw them.
            2: they accuse you of lying. This means they will likely lose you as a customer and may well get badmouthed all over the internet

            • by galaad2 (847861)

              It sucks for the store too. So you get a socket set and find it's full of rocks rather than sockets. You go back and complain. The store has too choices.

              1: they assume you are telling the truth. This means they are stuck with the loss and for all they know you may be the one trying to screw them.
              2: they accuse you of lying. This means they will likely lose you as a customer and may well get badmouthed all over the internet


              i vote for #3
              3: do both 1 & 2, just as futuresop did in this case.

            • by Dunbal (464142) *
              That's the price they pay for clerks that are too lazy to check what they are handing out money for when they accept returns. If I am going to hand out money from the till you bet your ass I am opening the package first. It's called due dilligence.
        • by hawguy (1600213)

          I returned an un-opened set of sockets to Canadian Tire once. The sockets were still in the original shrink wrap, and the clerk cut it open in front of me before she gave me a refund. When I asked her why, she said that they've had people return socket sets full of rocks.

          Not surprised really.

          I returned a car floor jack to Sears once - after I explained to the sales clerk that it was missing a key hinge pin that I didn't notice until I tried to use it and bent several support struts making the jack completely unusable, she put a "Clearance - used" tag on it. I pointed out again that it was broken and she said "uh-huh". I stopped by the next weekend and sure enough, it was sitting on the shelf - with a price marked 20% off. In theory it's fixable if you have the tools to disassemble it and straig

        • This happens all the time. I have heard of floor tiles being returned rather than xboxes etc... When stuff like that happens it is either one of two things:

          1) Staff that are lazy, inept, untrained, overworked that do not bother to check product. I would hazard every story has a policy that says they should.
          2) The product was actually stolen by lazy, inept, untrained, overworked, and underpaid staff in the first place, and blamed on an "unchecked" return.

          More common is that staff at best buy, futureshop, etc

    • What bothers me is:

      Still, most electronic products cannot be returned to stores

      followed by:

      ...individuals bought the iPads with cash...then returned the packages to the stores

      So, which is it?

      • by LingNoi (1066278)

        Most electronic products. Specifically the iPads were returned. The writer is making people aware of the potential danger not that it happened in this instance.

    • And in other news, the X-ray apps on the iPhone are seeing skyrocketing sales, as shrewd Canadian consumers learn to X-ray their shrink-wrapped iPad boxes before taking them to the checkout.

  • Maybe apple is trying to introduce its new cuneiform based programming language to the Canadians first!
  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @11:09PM (#38744708)

    They don't have real techs only sales people.

    They used to have real techs but they where passed over for people who can sell and up sell / rip people off no you don't need the laptop setup, $100 HDMI cable or that $30 USB cable. But the people who do push that carp get more hours then the people who know what they are doing and tell people that on line you can find much cheaper cables that are just as good.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @11:31PM (#38744840)

      I used to work at Futureshop.

      They definitively 100% care more about ramming a 30$ printer cable down your throat with a $60 printer then they do about customer service. Everything about their training program is designed to make you seem friendly and build customer trust right before you start hitting them over the head with the extended warranties and Monster cables.

      I once got pulled into the managers office for a compliment from a customer. I sold him a Ben-Q burner that was cheaper and better then the Sony equivalent (which cost $100 more and was slower), and said so plainly when I did it. After I rang up the burner he asked to talk to the supervisor, so I paged him up to the counter where the customer proceeded to tell him how awesome of a salesman I was for saving him that money and ultimately deciding to sell him WHAT HE NEEDED rather then what could have potentially made us the most money (we got massive kickbacks on the Sony shit).

      The moment the customer walked out of the store, my ass got hauled into the store manager's office and shafted like you wouldn't believe. No extended warranty this. No accessories that (accessories? like a $35 IDE cable?). Suddenly my good-to-great rating numbers are shit and they're threatening to can my ass if I don't start playing scum-ball with the customers, like everyone of their other salesmen.

      I quit 2 weeks later. I only ever applied there to help people with technical shit, and I couldn't even do that.

      -AC

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Well, I also once worked at Future Shop. In one year I made it from warehouse helper to merchandiser to #2 salesman in the Computer Department (That was when we all waited to get the first Pentium class PC's in). I was the #2 salesperson because I took my time with the customers and told them to call me at the store if they have any questions about the product. Sure enough, a few months into this I got hauled into the managers office, told I was not selling enough extended warranties and that I spend too mu

        • and $60 on a $149 extended warranty.

          Which really tells you what a $149 extended warranty is worth - $90 cash to the store, probably $50 cash to the insurance company, who probably spends $25 administering the program and taking profits. Average payout on a $149 extended warranty $25. Your odds are better in a Mafia run casino.

      • Most fun salesman I ever dealt with at Futureshop offered to give me $80 off a device if I would agree to buy the $60 protection on it, since despite the overall savings, he gets no grief for discounting the item if he sells a protection plan.

        Sad.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2012 @03:05AM (#38745788)

      Well, I can't speak for Future Shop in general, or for this specific location, but I can say with certainty that your statement as a general sentiment about Best Buy's practices is false.

      You see, I happen to work at Best Buy, and funny thing...I'm one of the people tasked specifically with testing every piece of returned electronics to make sure:

      1) Whether the unit functions, so we know whether it's defective and needs to be repaired, or was simply unwanted and can be resold,
      2) If it doesn't function, if the problem is a hardware defect or accidental damage,
      3) If the unit inside the box matches the item sold (you wouldn't believe the number of people who will try to pass off a cheap dvd player as a more expensive model, and there are occasional knock-off items)
      4) Ensuring all accessories are included.

      And when corners are cut, it's always for the sake of the customer. For example, during the holiday season when there are huge lines and we're just trying to get everyone handled as quickly as possible. Most of the time, though, we try to check out every device that comes through the Customer Service counter. Just earlier today, I had to have one of the CS reps decline a retrun because the customer was trying to return a DSLR without the included battery.

      One odd, only tangentially-relevant bit: you'd also be surprised how many people lie about why they're bringing products back, even when they don't have to. If the device works and you're within the exchange period, you can return it for absolutely whatever reason you want, but many people seem to think that you have to have some sort of reason to bring it back. All too frequently, the items are being returned simply because the user does not know how to operate them.

      Really, though, it's easy to hate Best Buy. I used to hate it before. I mean, why not just get stuff cheaper online? It's not that painful to wait a few days for shipping. But after working there, I came to realize something: the store doesn't target people like me as customers. The true target are for people who don't personally have enough knowledge about electronics, and want some sort of guidance (even if it's from a salesperson). Prices aren't that far off places like Wal-Mart, but the difference is that in Wal-Mart, all you get is a checkout teller, and you're lucky if they know the first thing about electronics. Best Buy salespeople might try to push accessories on you, but at least they have to know the products in their department and can offer at least a little insight into purchases for those who are less technologically inclined.

      Specifically, I work in Geek Squad. You and I might be well-informed computer nerds, but there are an astounding number of people who come in, not to try to get repairs, but simply to ask easy questions. "What do you think of this software?," "Is this a good brand?," "Can my device do this?," "What does this mean?," etc. These people are the reason we exist. Not every family has a convenient daughter/nephew/grandson who's a nerd that they can go to for all their tech inquiries.

      Oh, and don't blame Best Buy for Monster Cables. We're not the only ones who sell them, we're not the ones who set the MSRP (though, I suppose we could always choose to undershoot the MSRP for something closer to the store's cost), and we do offer alternative brands at more reasonable prices. But if someone comes in, who already associates the high-priced Monster brand with high quality, it's not like we're going to refuse to sell it to them. If you insist that you have to have a technician come to your house to hook your blu-ray player up to your HDTV with that single HDMI cable, why should we argue? Personally, if anyone asks about in-home PC service, I usually try to steer them into bringing the unit into the store (I'm sure my boss would throw a fit if he knew that), but some people are downright afraid of disconnecting and reconnecting all the cables on their desktop and are willing to pay hundreds of dollars to have a repair tech come to their home and fix everything. If that's what you want, we're not going to argue, and if it's really that helpful a service to offer, then we'll gladly help out.

  • by wrencherd (865833) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @11:10PM (#38744712)
    Mom always said that you should look inside the box before buying anything.
    • In the days of old when knights were bold ... they called it "don't buy a pig in a poke".

      • by wisty (1335733) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @12:09AM (#38745112)

        Note: a "poke" is a bag. Apparently, people would sell a cat in a bag, and tell you it was a baby pig (which you could then fatten up). If you "let the cat out of the bag", you were showing everyone what a fraud the merchant was.

        See http://xkcd.com/325/ [xkcd.com] (when the SOPA blackout ends).

        • by tgd (2822) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @08:52AM (#38746924)

          Note: a "poke" is a bag. Apparently, people would sell a cat in a bag, and tell you it was a baby pig (which you could then fatten up). If you "let the cat out of the bag", you were showing everyone what a fraud the merchant was.

          See http://xkcd.com/325/ [xkcd.com] (when the SOPA blackout ends).

          An interesting theory, yes ... but not actually true. Thats been very thoroughly debunked for decades. (Heck, Snopes has a whole page on it.)

        • Thanks :) I always wondered what the cat-bag idiom came of. Now that I think about it, we have a similar saying in Norwegian, which from a quick google I can see comes from the same situation. If, upon realising what we have bought is a fraud, or fake, we say we "bought the cat in the bag". If referring to something you bought as being a con, or just generally a lot more rubbish than you were led to believe, that item is referred to as "the cat in the bag". Language is fun :)
    • by cyn1c77 (928549)

      It's hard to do that nowadays with Apple's packaging and the store's anti-theft procedures! They basically unlock the iPad for you and then escort you to the purchase counter.

    • by fermion (181285)
      And you should look in the box before accepting a return. These rules seem to be followed at the apple store, as the salespeople want to open the box so they can setup(minimize returns?) but elsewhere neither is likely to happen.

      A game some people I knew when I was younger was to figure new ways to rip Walmart off. They would buy a car radio, install in the car, and attempt to return the box with the old radio in it. Managed to work pretty well. A safer scheme was to use a razor blade to cut the plast

  • by aXis100 (690904) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @11:13PM (#38744742)

    The staff should have been checking the boxes upon return, to make sure that everything was OK. Add to that, they should have definitely been checked before outting them back on the shelves for other poeple to buy! It's either useless staff or really sloppy company policy.

    • by JimWise (1804930)

      And what were they supposed to do? It was (as far as they could tell) still in the original shrink wrap, and weighed the same as a box containing a true iPad.

      • by sjames (1099)

        Given that this isn't the first time someone has pulled a scam like this, they should have opened the package.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      From the summary & article I understand that the boxes look like they had not been opened before returning to the shop. So the staff in the shop had no reason to believe it had been tampered with.

      When customer returns an unopened product, they can just restock it and sell it to someone else instead. Yet when the staff opens the as-yet unopened product for checking, they may not be able to sell it at full price again. So there is a clear incentive for staff not to open an as-yet unopened product.

      • In the US, and so I assume Canada is similar, it is perfectly legal for a store to re-shrinkwrap otherwise new merchandise and sell it as new. Re-shrinkwrapping used and selling as new is illegal, but merely opening the package does not disqualify a product from being new.

        It is almost certain that a store like futureshop has a shrinkwrap machine. Therefore it is either a failure of corporate policies or a failure of local staff to follow corporate policies that resulted in them not verifying the returned

    • The staff should have been checking the boxes upon return, to make sure that everything was OK. Add to that, they should have definitely been checked before outting them back on the shelves for other poeple to buy! It's either useless staff or really sloppy company policy.

      Reminds me of the time I bought an electric shaver at London Drugs a couple years ago. Got it home, turned it on, then found out it was used. Well used. It was a return.
      People are fuckers. There's no single person to blame anymore.

    • It is worse than this to be honest. Essentially Best Buy/Futureshop has for years been selling returns, in many cases very noticeably in used condition and saying it is new. A friend of mine bought a laptop at Best Buy and when he got it home and turned it on, it already had accounts setup on it. Best Buy didn't care, all they cared about is that they still sold it at the new price and not the open-box price.

      And this isn't the first time that they have had complaints of selling items which didn't have wha
  • 2012 B.C.

  • by cangrande (199946) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @11:21PM (#38744790)

    Yeah, I stole it from the comments over at the article source. Too good not to share.

  • by koan (80826)

    The battery life was better.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      You're talking about the battery life of the real thing I assume?

      The battery of the fake sounds pretty dead to me.

  • EULA (Score:3, Funny)

    by digitalderbs (718388) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @11:34PM (#38744862)
    Thankfully, the EULA's short and easy with only 10 items, but it still has you signing over your life.
  • This is precisely why packages should only be sold as refurbished and/or repaired items, not full-price "new" items. You never know why a device was really returned -- it should ALWAYS be opened to inspect the contents and verify that there are no missing parts or pieces.

    I blame the stores for a bad process designed to maximize profits.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      Read TFA. The packing was, from the face of it, not opened. This product was returned as if it were unused.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      This is precisely why packages should only be sold as refurbished and/or repaired items, not full-price "new" items. You never know why a device was really returned -- it should ALWAYS be opened to inspect the contents and verify that there are no missing parts or pieces.

      I blame the stores for a bad process designed to maximize profits.

      True, but then again, is it fair to the store that has to lose basically the profit off the sale because they have to market it as "open box"? Think about it - they have to s

  • Is that "The returned fakes were restocked on the shelve and sold to new, unwitting customers". How'd that logic go?

    Customer: I paid for an iPad and got some clay
    Clerk: Ok thanks. I'll just put that back on the shelf

    • by debest (471937)

      1. Crook buys real iPad with cash.
      2. Crook takes iPad, replaces clay in box, re-seals box to appear unopened.
      3. Crook returns new-looking tainted box, receives cash from store.
      4. Tainted box returned to shelf.
      5. Innocent buys tainted box
      6. Innocent discovers clay, goes back to store.
      7. Store stuck with clay and packaging.

      The sentence you quoted was for Steps 3-4, not 6-7.

  • by PPH (736903) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @12:25AM (#38745208)

    Hello. I think my iPad has been bricked.

  • by LittlePud (1356157) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @12:32AM (#38745262)
    Couldn't they trace the serial number on the returned box, match that up to the iTunes account used to activate the missing iPad, and nail the perps that way?
    • by fluffy99 (870997) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @12:59AM (#38745392)

      Couldn't they trace the serial number on the returned box, match that up to the iTunes account used to activate the missing iPad, and nail the perps that way?

      More than likely they'd nail someone who bought it off eBay.

    • by mapkinase (958129)

      Sounds like work to me.

  • These weren't fakes -- they were iPad shaped dreidels

  • Undoubtedly knowing apple each tablet has to have a hardware id/serial number. They will undoubtedly be able to deduce the ipad id's from the boxes. Then just track down the missing iPads and find out who sold it to them. Just follow the money. I would also wonder if the tablets/packages had any fingerprints.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:33AM (#38745510)

    Come on, you DID get a tablet.

    You didn't see Moses returning his now did you?

    • by hal2814 (725639)
      Moses had nothing to return. He broke his original tablet and had to go get a replacement. Fortunately, the manufacturer was willing to work with Moses despite the fact that it wasn't a manufacturer defect. The tablet had obviously been dropped.
  • They are not "fake", just old-school....really old school.

  • I'm thinking you should open electonics boxes at the register, before you leave the store; to avoid being the victim in such a scam, and having the store claim you're the one who switched it.

    Or packaging with clear windows, at least.

  • Looking at the photo of the clay tablet just makes me think I would have at least tried to get creative with the scam. You know, like trace a scene from Angry birds onto the clay before putting it into a box. Or maybe something like words with friends. These scammers are way too lazy.

    This reminds me of a scam a friend's brother used to pull where he'd go to Best Buy, purchase a video game, open the little fold in the plastic with a razor, take the disc out, then return the game. I'm sure he's not the only p

    • In proper game stores, the cases are stored sans disc. When you bring the case to the counter, they take the disc from a locked cabinet and place it inside. This would be the safe way to ensure you do not get an empty case. Of course, this also usually carries with it a premium to pay, since the game store will no doubt charge more than Wal-Mart/ASDA would.
  • I used to steal crap and return fake stuff. I'm talking along time ago though.

    TurboGraphix 16 games came in a CD case. We'd buy a game, put in a empty cd case, shrinkwrap the game back up, and return it for another game.

    While what we did was wrong, the store should of check it to make sure it was there.

    Fast forward 20+ years, and people are doing this still?

    Listen shit for brains retailers. If someone returns something, you need to check it out and make sure it's actually there. Shrinkwrap machines w

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