Electronics retailers Best Buy and Future Shop have launched an investigation into how nearly a dozen fake Apple iPad 2 tablet computers made of modelling clay came to be sold in shops in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Future Shop spokesman Elliott Chun told Canadian network CTV that individuals bought the iPads with cash, replaced them with the model clay, then returned the packages to the stores. Those fakes were restocked on the shelves and sold to 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, adding that it saddens his company when people "stoop to be this opportunistic and make money in this kind of organised way".
The scam first came to light when customer Mark Sandhu went to buy an iPad 2 as a Christmas gift for his wife. He wound up instead with a clay tablet and when he tried to return it to the shop he said he was made to feel as if he was trying to scam the store.
"I was the one getting scammed," he said.
It turns out the store clerk wasn’t the only one who may not have believed Sandhu’s story – Apple, local police and Future Shop’s head office didn’t believe Sandhu, either, when he contacted them about the scam.
Future Shop, however, has since apologised and given Sandhu a full refund and a real tablet, for free.