As most regular readers of the site know, iPad boxes seem to be the perfect fit for scammers who buy the device, take it home, remove it from the box, seal it back up and return it for a refund… only to saddle some unsuspecting future customer with a box full of useless crud later.
Over on Reddit, there is the latest example of a Walmart shopper who paid $300 for an iPad Mini, but got home and found a box with a couple of notebooks inside. Which might be handy if he’d wanted really expensive notebooks. You can watch his whole story in the video above.
Not surprisingly, he says that neither Walmart nor Apple believes his story, as they probably believe he’s just another person trying to score a refund, instead of the victim of a scammer who has already gotten away with an illegal refund.
From what we could tell by looking at the receipt in the video, the customer appears to have paid cash. Sadly, this hurts his case. If he’d put in on a credit card, he could issue a chargeback through the card company and let it handle the complaint with Walmart.
We believe he needs to file a police report, as — at least according to the video — Walmart appears to have no interest in believing him or investigating his claim. A police investigation should attempt to trace the purchase history of that particular iPad mini to see if it indeed had been purchased and returned by a previous customer.
This is just one of many, many “I paid for an iPad and got a box of crap” stories we’ve heard over the years, almost all of them involving purchases made at Walmart.
Here are previous examples of why, as silly as it might sound and as dopey as you might think it looks, you should always open that box as soon as you’ve paid. And you should always try to pay with a credit card because retailers tend to listen to complaints from MasterCard, Visa, Discover or AmEx than they do when it’s just another customer.
Jan. 2013 — A New Jersey woman says Walmart sold her a box containing a useless display iPad. Even after filing a small claims grievance and making complaints all the way up the corporate ladder, she only got a refund after the local media heard about her case.
Nov. 2012 — A man in Miami bought an iPad at Walmart for his mother-in-law, but the box was full of random odds and ends, including a fishing sinker wrapped in white tape. Again, no help from Walmart, at least until the local CBS affiliate got involved and suddenly the retailer “takes this very seriously,” refunding him his $480.
Nov. 2012 — It’s not just fake iPads you need to worry about. You should probably also see if that iPad works, as these Walmart workers caught on video carelessly tossing iPads around can’t be the only ones.
Oct. 2012 — A Walmart shopper in Houston is all but accused of being a scammer when she tries to get a refund for the iPad box full of notepads, even though it had only been a matter of minutes since she had made the purchase. Yet again, once the local media got involved, Walmart suddenly decides to investigate, and whaddaya know? That iPad had been returned by a previous customer who had taken upon themselves to shrinkwrap it after stealing the device from inside.
May 2012 — Two different customers at Detroit-area Walmarts also complained about getting iPad boxes full of notepads.
Feb. 2011 — After being refused a refund by Walmart for his box containing a faux iPad, a Georgia man sued the retailer.
The lesson Walmart needs to learn from all this is that they can not re-shelve iPads (and certain other, high-value electronics) under the assumption that the shrink wrap on the package is factory shrink wrap. There needs to be an inspection process — or returned items need to be flagged in the system so that the store can more accurately determine whether the customers who later purchase them are making a legitimate complaint or trying to scam them for cash.