Apple replaces stolen iPad for thief, leaves victim hanging | iLounge News

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Apple replaces stolen iPad for thief, leaves victim hanging

In a new twist on an old problem with stolen Apple devices, a thief successfully convinced the Apple Store to swap a stolen iPad 2 for a new device with a different serial number, after which Apple refused to help the victim of the crime. iLounge reader Dan Chang says that he purchased a black 64GB iPad 2 with Wi-Fi + 3G from the Apple Store Tysons Corner in May, and the device was stolen less than a week later. Chang filed a police report and was told that the iPad’s serial number would show up as a stolen item if sold to a pawn shop. On June 6, Chang used Apple’s Service and Repair tool to check the serial number of the stolen iPad, and received the following message: “We’re sorry, but this is a serial number for a product that has been replaced… If your information is correct, you may need to contact us.”

Chang followed the instructions and contacted Apple Customer Service, providing the company with his serial number. Apple confirmed that the iPad 2 had been replaced at another local Apple Store based on a battery-related complaint, and told Chang to visit the Store in person to discuss the matter. During his visit, the manager told Chang that she was not responsible for his stolen iPad, and told him to call Apple Customer Service, which he had already done.

Again following instructions, Chang was told that the iPad had been “recycled” and was no longer traceable; further, the representative said that Apple was not responsible for the stolen item, and that he should contact the police to try and catch the thief. In the end, Chang ended up without his $870 iPad 2, which he says he will not be replacing with another iPad or any other Apple product. He says he wishes that the thief had taken the stolen iPad to a pawn shop, where at least it could have been reclaimed thanks to the serial number tracking system, instead of to an Apple Store, where it was accepted with no questions asked and with no recourse available to the victim. The absence of a simple online Apple tool enabling users to report the loss or theft of their devices is at least partially to blame for this problem.

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Comments

21

Really bad for the victim. For now the only option is a call-home app like Orbicule’s Undercover. Hopefully Apple will make Find My iPhone freely available with iCloud!

Posted by Peter Burkimsher on June 12, 2011 at 4:18 AM (CDT)

22

Just wondering but can’t he just tell the police that the Apple Store now has the iPad and the Police can recover it from them?

Posted by Just Wondering on June 12, 2011 at 10:34 PM (CDT)

23

Apple doesn’t get involved with issues of title.  It’s an issue of personal safety to the employees.  Who’s to say who owns a product?

Title issues are handled by the police and insurance companies.

Posted by Former Apple Employee on June 13, 2011 at 2:02 AM (CDT)

24

@20
You are completely wrong.  What you are saying is the same as saying if I come to your house and steal your car, then take it to a chop shop and they give me another car, in trade for yours.  Then they take your car apart and sell off the parts, or whatever.  Then you find out about it.

The shop shop is innocent because your car no longer exists?  Wrong.  They are still guilty of receiving stolen property.  Regardless what they did with it,  just as apple is.

Posted by Mike on June 13, 2011 at 2:54 PM (CDT)

25

Were I in this situation, I would have the police officer assigned to my case accompany me to the Apple store, have them re-confirm that they did indeed replace my stolen stolen iPad for someone other than me and then sign complaints against the Apple store for as many criminal violations as possible.

Posted by ScooterD35 on June 14, 2011 at 10:24 AM (CDT)

26

The thing that keeps getting lost with those defending Apple is that replaced, recycled, or beamed into space, they accepted, possessed, and destroyed stolen property.

It doesn’t matter if the employee behaved perfectly according to policy in swapping out the stolen unit for the thief. It doesn’t matter that the thief made a one to one exchange at the Apple store. All that matters is that Apple is the party that was last in possession of the stolen iPad in question and is therefore liable for it under the law.

If Apple had a shred of common sense, they’d already have replaced the victim’s unit and then filed a complaint against the thief for a cheating them out of an iPad via a fraudulent warranty replacement.

The “doesn’t get involved with issues of title” is not protection against liability for taking improper ownership of stolen property, although I am sure that less scrupulous scrap yards and pawn shops wish it was.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on June 14, 2011 at 11:21 AM (CDT)

27

Irony of irony.  Apple has been blamed for being “Big Brother” over “iPhone location caching” “iTunes DRM” and others.  Now, some of you want them to police stolen goods?  How would this be done?  What if someone steals a bag from a car in the parking garage that contains a new iPad and a receipt?  Does Apple fingerprint the customer to make sure it’s his/her receipt?  Maybe they paid in cash.  Now the receipt does no good to the original buyer.
It’s always the same folks disparaging Apple for not being everything while disparaging Apple for being everything. 
What’s it gonna be?  Nanny?  Police?  or Retailer?

Posted by sb on June 14, 2011 at 7:02 PM (CDT)

28

27: you’re stupid. Receipt IS accepted as proof of ownership by most retailers. If you keep your iPad and receipt together, you likely don’t have enough intelligence to use one anyways. Exaggerating doesn’t prove your argument. We are discussing this instance which will likely be replicated many times in the future due to the publicity caused by this retarded policy. It’s a legal obligation to return stolen property. Jobs needs to suck it up and settle outside the legal system by giving the rightful owner a new iPad. He’s not washing his hands clean of anything by using standard operating procedure mumbo jumbo. Apple is an entity and the law overrules their penny-pinching initiatives. Jobs could buy him one or donate a couple hundred black turtlenecks with the proceeds going to his new iPad. Everyone could use some good press and Jobs makes $800 in the time it takes him to walk to the restroom.

Posted by Voice of the people on June 14, 2011 at 7:56 PM (CDT)

29

@ 28: Stupid?  Look in the mirror.  Do you know how many stories there were of cars being broken into this last holiday season and people being held up after leaving Apple Stores?  My guess, they ALL had their receipts with the goods in the bags.
I’d wager Apple DOES make good by this guy - they have done similar things over and over in the past.  But you are living in lala-land if you think Apple OWES him one.

Posted by sb on June 14, 2011 at 8:11 PM (CDT)

30

I am surprised how many of the above respondents are so sure Apple is right and tough luck on the victim.

All I can say is, Wait until it happens to you.  Then please be sure and get back to us with your feelings/reactions.

As I watch Apple become more and more arrogant in its public relations department (which this falls under; hello, Ken Bell!), I do wish for the day when Apple stumbles horribly and has to humble itself. 

Maybe its stock dropping back to $6 a share would be a good place to start.

Posted by JimmyBobSmith on June 15, 2011 at 2:07 AM (CDT)

31

@28. That’s why you should put receipts in your wallet or purse. More importantly, robbing you outside of a store is a separate issue entirely and happens to tons of other consumers outside Apple fanatics. The likelyhood of being robbed the day of purchasing your product is slim compared to the chance of possibly being robbed on a day after that. If you’re going to try and be persuasive, stop with the red herring attempts and stick to the issue being discussed. This isn’t philosophy class and your logic is flawed. Apple is legally obligated to return stolen property if the customer decides to pursue the case. Go crack a law book and you’ll see who’s right then read a few more books before spraying your opinion all over the net. Personally, I would take it up with Apple HR Department. They’re the ones who have the expertise when it comes to publicity nightmares so they’re opinions will hold weight on this issue.

Posted by Voice of the people on June 17, 2011 at 9:42 AM (CDT)

32

My iPad 2 was recently lost or stolen (not sure which.) I came across this article because I wanted to report my iPad lost to Apple just in case. I also just realized that I had AppleCare on my iPad. If I go buy a new one, is Apple going to let me transfer it? I bet not.. <sigh>

Posted by Andrew on June 27, 2011 at 12:05 AM (CDT)

33

I work behind the genius bar. I see devices all the time that the registered name does not match the name of the person making the appointment. What can I do? I usually point out that it is registered under a different name and they usually reply that they bought it from a friend or eBay. End of story. I re- register it under the new name and move on. If you were a customer that had bought a device from a friend and were acused by a Apple employee of theft, wouldnt you feel totally offended. So we are stuck. I know some of these devices are stolen, but I can’t prove it.

Second scenario: let’s say Apple had a system that flagged a device as stolen according to police reports. (No such system exists, FYI.) do you think Apple wants its employees playing policeman? No way. And I don’t want to either.

And as far as Apple giving the victim a new iPad….so when you had your car stolen, did Toyota give you a new one? You have insurance for that, just like most people have homeowners or renters insurance to cover items like iPads.

With that being said, a store manager can make whatever decision that want on behalf of the crime victim, but no one should expect anything. 

Here is where Apple should improve.  Require picture ID whenever the registration of an item is changed. Then if a situation like the one described above would occur, the police would have a lead to follow up on.

Another note…if someone steals a product from the Apple Store, that serial number IS flagged and will be confiscated if brought into any Apple Store for service.

Posted by Apple genius on June 29, 2011 at 11:19 AM (CDT)

34

To all of you who claim the Find My iPad App makes it so easy to find and recover, I did this immediately after mine was stolen off my desk at work two days ago (it was within ten minutes of it being stolen). The only problem is that whoever stole it must have shut it off because on the App it shows Offline. I don’t understand with all the technology out there why Apple would not set this up to be traceable even if it is offline????? Any ideas now for those of you who make it sound so easy if you have the App???

Posted by Donna on December 1, 2011 at 2:36 PM (CST)

35

Our new Apple iPad2’s and smart covers were stolen while being shipped to us here in Russia. The weight of the package suddenly changed “once it arrived in Moscow.” When the package arrive here in Khabarovsk to my wife and I, the iPads and smart covers were gone and “German” food products such as powdered sugar and meal and spices were in the box instead. Of course I contacted Apple immediately, and they have refused to replace or trace our stolen items. We’ve taken the Russian EMS Postal Service to court as well and they refuse to provide the judge with information and documentation on the where abouts of our stolen iPads and smart covers and they have not done any internal investigation in the Russian EMS post service. Apple has done NOTHING to replace our iPads and smart covers. My wife and I honestly invested $2,000 of our hard earned money to purchase our new Apple items and Apple has done NOTHING to help us. A poor showing of customer care and it seems that customer care stops at Apple once they get your money. The thief or thieves stole our items and Apple is not the reputable, honest and trustworthy company they portray themselves to be. The local telvision station “Gubernia,” even did a news story to try to help bring public awareness to the theft of our iPads and smart covers and yet Apple can’t step up and help us. What a messed up world we live in.

Posted by Clarence on January 9, 2012 at 4:30 PM (CST)

36

The article is so true. My iPad2 was stolen with other electronics in a break in into my Apartment. I had it less than a month. Already thought that I won’t hear about it ever agein. Recently I recieived an email about the device “Work Autherization” and bill + payment copy. I went to the store to pick it up, of course they will not give it to me. It was already picked up. “Nothing we can do!” is Apples motto (they should include it in their advertising or “We want ur buisiness: thieves welcome “bring in and sevice ur devices for a small applecare fee”). I called the Police to the store to pick up on the investigation. Also that A**hole payed with a mastercard and his full Name is printed on the bill. It is amazing who u can find on the inet. Stupied Bas**** is 41, lives in Larance Ma and works at a boostmobile store. Nobody gets $400 of repairs done if he had to payfor that iPad2 (could have bought a new one). Also who drives 2 hours to Peabody Ma to get it repaired? Police told me that I porbaly will have to go to court to gaine ownership of my iPad2. What a f***ed system.

Posted by Jessica on January 14, 2012 at 5:49 PM (CST)

37

I just checked the serial # and the same happend to me. I think I will call the officer and have him take down the new serial # as the stolen device. Also will hunt down the A** myselfe.

Posted by Jessica on January 14, 2012 at 8:19 PM (CST)

38

Wow, really? He will never buy another Apple product?

Right, because we all know that EVERY other device manufacturer offers a stolen device recovery system. This guy is just sore his iPad was stolen. I would be too, but get over it. And maybe take better care of it.

Posted by Matthew on July 20, 2012 at 1:39 AM (CDT)

39

I bought a iphone fromatt and didn’t finish my contract att reported my phone stolen now I can’t transfer it to another network I am just screwed

Posted by perryy on December 17, 2012 at 7:57 AM (CST)

40

My daughters iPad was stolen and taken to an Apple in Providence, RI where the Apple staff cracked the code and gave it to the theif.  Way to go Apple.

Posted by Rob Menasco on July 1, 2013 at 10:50 AM (CDT)

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