Scam Artists Trick Canadian Customers Into Buying iPads Made Of Clay

Scam Artists Trick Canadian Customers Into Buying iPads Made Of Clay

We’ve heard plenty of scams involving Apple’s coveted iOS devices before, but this one may take the cake. Could you imagine walking into your local Best Buy, buying a $500 iPad, then taking it home to find that you actually purchased a slab of model clay instead?

As many as 10 clay iPads have been sold in their original packaging at Future Shop and Best Buy stores in Vancouver, Canada.

According to Future Shop, scam artists bought multiple iPads with cash, replaced said tablets with slabs of clay, and resealed them inside their original boxes. The clay iPads were then returned to the stores and placed back on the shelves for other customers. Multiple people have already been duped by the hoax.

CTV News reports:

Mark Sandhu thought he had bought a $620 iPad 2 for his wife, Sundeep, for Christmas. Instead they both got an unpleasant surprise when she unwrapped the present.

“I look at him and I’m kind of in shock, ‘Like what — is this a joke?” Sundeep Randhawa recalled.

Future Shop and Best Buy have launched a fraud investigation in the Metro Vancouver area in an attempt to find the devious pottery enthusiasts.

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  • miquonranger03

    As an ex-Best Buy employee, I’ll note that this is in opposition to Best Buy’s returns procedure (they’re just being incredibly lazy, assuming theft won’t happen because they don’t feel like checking the box). At my store I have had to cut open the boxes of new iMacs still sealed in factory packaging to ensure that everything is inside that should be inside. This is standard procedure and as far as I remember, the register will actually walk you through this process and will not allow a return to be completed if this process isn’t done.

  • crashmatt

    My uncle purchased a GPS at JB HiFi (Australia), only to discover when he got home and took off the plastic wrapping, that the GPS had be replaced with a block of chocolate. When he returned the GPS to the store, they didn’t believe him until the staff opened the another same model GPS and found another block of chocolate. Looking at their computer system the discovered someone had returned the two GPSs at Christmas time.

  • jedivulcan

    Best Buy seemed to step up their procedure (in the US, at least) by asking for my name and address with my return in addition to checking the contents. 

  • miquonranger03

    And thankfully that negated the need to charge a restocking fee (really a fee to compensate for counterfeit returns).

  • Clark Wallace

    iPhone’s and iPad’s are in a heat sealed plastic wrap though, iMac’s aren’t.

    The plastic wrap can easily be re-applied with a heat-gun and look as if it hasn’t been touched which then leads to store employees being fooled.

  • miquonranger03

    We cut open the plastic wrap to see if the correct iPad in the expected condition (and all included accessories) is actually inside, then sell it as open box at a discount.

  • Ronald Stepp

    No, assuming that everyone else isn’t a total idiot, they know about the packaging just like you.  I would be MORE inclined to open it for exactly the reason you just stated.

  • arcxjo

    Clay, huh? I was wondering why the only app on my tablet was “Enki Birds”.

  • Chan Kin Hou

    And you’d think this only happens in China.

  • Better Wang

    Check the SN# on the box, and then call apple to investigate on this, although it is most unlikely to happen. I am pretty sure you can catch the guy if you really want to.

  • Brason English

    The Best Buys in Florida are terrible. You can just as easily go and buy an iPad and return it with anything in the box (with or without the plastic reapplied on the outside) and they will just sit it in the returns box and not ask any questions.

  • Infins

    Always open it before leaving the store to be sure…

  • joewaylo

    You would think that someone walking into a Best Buy store with an exorbent amount of cash would be suspicious enough not to sell it. Then have that same person return the iPad to Best Buy without inspecting the merchandise for whom that purchased it with a wad of cash.

    I certainly would be a suspicous fellow going into a Best Buy store carrying $3,000 worth of cash in my pocket and walking out with a Macbook Pro. Even Apple would deny me on purchasing a Macbook Pro with $3,000 worth of cash. As store policy is with Apple, you need to present a credit card for several reasons including credit checks.

    And with all store returns, they need to open the products and inspect the merchandise before returning $500 of cash for the iPad 2.

  • Jonathan Ober

    reminds me of the rocks that were in iPods two or so years ago around Christmas time. I think it was a Target that was um…the target :)

  • Clyde Nomiddlename Butler

    Its just not clay it’s iClay

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for three years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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