If you’re handing over cash for a heavily discounted iPad from some random guy in a McDonald’s parking lot or at a gas station, then yes, you should consider your purchase a risk.
But when you’re like Suzanne Nassise and you buy Apple’s popular tablet from a well-known retailer, you expect it to be legit. Nassise says she walked out of a Walmart in Brockton, Massachusetts, last month with what she believed was a new $499 iPad.
When she got home and opened the box, she told CNN affiliate WCVB, she thought, “‘Wow, it’s a little on the light side — Apple’s an elegant product.'”
Then she tried to turn it on.
When nothing happened, Nassise looked at the plastic rectangle more closely. The imitation iPad — an iFake, if you will — tried to replicate a real iPad’s charging port and speakers, the latter of which were small, painted-on dots.
“When I realized it, I was upset,” she told WCVB. “I just paid $500 for a paperweight.”
If her story sounds familiar, it’s because it has happened at retailers in a variety of states over the past few years. Numerous shoppers have purchased what they thought were iPads, only to open the box and find a worthless decoy inside. To make matters worse, some stores have refused to give refunds on the grounds that the buyers might have been trying to scam them.
The majority of news reports on the problem have involved iPad purchases at Walmart, although other retailers are not immune.
In December 2010, the year the first iPad hit shelves, a man in Dorchester, Massachusetts, said he spent $800 at a local Best Buyon an iPad that turned out to be fake. The store said the same thing had happened to five or six other people, he told his local NBC station, WHDH.
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