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.
"Customers don't expect to receive this kind of product from Future Shop, so it's a very serious matter and something we are addressing right away for anyone who has been impacted," Chun told CTV British Columbia. "It really saddens Future Shop that people stoop to be this opportunistic and make money in this kind of organized way."
The scam was first brought to CTV's attention by a victim of the crime, Mark Sandhu. Sandhu says after purchasing what he thought was an iPad 2 for his wife for Christmas, he tried to return the clay, only to be rebuffed. "Maybe the way I was dressed, I don't know," he said. "She made me feel like I'm trying to scam them out of $700. I was the one getting scammed."
Sandhu contacted Future Shop's head office, Apple and local police, but no one believed his story. Future Shop has since apologized and given Sandhu a full refund along with a free tablet--a real one.
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