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Wal-Mart Sells Fake Apple Gear… Again

Mar 26, 13 Wal-Mart Sells Fake Apple Gear… Again

Every now and again, a story will emerge from the depths of the Internet about an individual who has to deal with the consequences of some very stupid mistakes. As human beings, no one is immune to making bad decisions. Why, even this writer has been taken as a rube a time or two, moments in life that I never hope to relive.

As a consumer, there’s one general guideline that must always be followed: “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”

This is especially true when buying expensive Apple gear from shady sources. Now, one Massachusetts woman can add Wal-Mart to the list of “shady sources.”

Here’s the story in a nut shell:

Suzanne Nassise recently visited her local Wal-Mart to pick up a 16 GB iPad for $499. When she brought it home and opened it up, she immediately thought: “Wow, it’s a little on the light side — Apple’s an elegant product.

Then she tried to turn on the iPad.

A $500 paperweight

She thought it was strange that her new tablet wouldn’t power on. Next, she began to notice a few other oddities. For instance, there were painted black dots instead of the standard speaker grill. The power port didn’t necessarily line up just right, either.

“When I realized it I was upset. I just paid $500 for a paperweight,” she said.

She tried to take the iPad back to Wal-Mart, but they denied a return, saying it’s their policy not to take back any product that has been opened.

They remarkably changed their tune once Nassise began talking to the local news station about her plight.

Crazy how that happens, no?

Wal-Mart has given the standard response, saying they’re “Actively reviewing their transactional records,” and “working to understand how this could have happened.”

It sucks that this kind of thing happened to Ms. Nassise or anyone else.

Yet, is anyone surprised this sort of thing happened at Wal-Mart, the shadiest of all retail establishments? The chain has suffered from innumerable accounts of bad publicity, and this isn’t the first time customers have been disappointed after buying gadgets at the big box store. In fact, Wal-Mart and Apple products have a long and torrid past.

 Counterfeit goods from Wal-Mart? Color me surprised…

For instance, in 2011, it was discovered that some criminals were buying iPads from Wally World, then returning the box with a book placed where the tablet should be.

Not long after, it was discovered that some thieves were asking Wal-Mart employees to set iPads aside for them as they finished their shopping. An accomplice would then find these iPads resting underneath the clerk’s desk, take them, and hand them to a third accomplice, who would casually walk out of the store, scott free.

In 2009, one Wal-Mart store was found to have sold a Nintendo DS box filled with rocks.  TWICE. In this case, some crooks bought a DS and returned the box filled with rocks. The store employees then put the box on the floor without opening it and sold a box of rocks to not one, but two more customers.

Some Advice

Bottom line: buying electronics from Wal-Mart is always a risky bet. It’s a “sounds too good to be true” scenario. How does it make any sense that, in one stop, you can open a savings account, grab a bite to eat, have your hair cut, take family photographs, pick up a load of groceries, get your oil changed, and sign up with a cellular plan for your brand new iPad?

If you’re reading this and ever plan to buy an Apple product, allow me to give you some advice.

Always, always, ALWAYS go to the Apple store.

Don’t go to AT&T. Don’t go to Best Buy. Don’t go to Verizon, and especially do not go to Wal-Mart.

Apple has this crazy knack of creating high-end, luxury devices.

High-end, luxury devices are often lifted, mimicked, or procured in a variety of shady ways.

You wouldn’t trust a peddler on the side of the road to sell authentic Gucci bags, would you?

Then why would Wal-Mart, the biggest roadside peddler in the nation, be trusted to sell authentic Apple goods?

This is the same company that once tried to pass off a Chinese knock-off iPod as the real thing.

While we’re on the topic, it’s also safe to assume that any new iPad listed below $399 is probably a scam. As it stands, the cheapest new iPad you can buy is the old, 16 GB iPad 2, a hell of a device. Yet, there are some “bargain shoppers” out there looking for the best price on everything they buy. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course, but in the same way that “If it sounds too good…” often holds true, so too does “you get what you pay for.”

And, I can say from personal experience, it’s a bad idea to meet someone from Craigslist at the local Starbucks in hopes to buy a used MacBook Air in order to save a few hundred dollars.

It’s a very bad idea, indeed.

Unless you’re in China, you know the Apple store is always selling proper, licensed Apple goods.

Apple stores have become more crowded in year’s past, but this is a small price to pay for knowing what you’re buying every time.

It’s terrible that these kinds of things happen and Wal-Mart should clearly work harder to make sure this kind of thing doesn’t happen again.

At this point, however, no one should ever be surprised after getting ripped off at Wal-Mart. Angry, sure…but surprised? Never.

Image Credit: Sam72 / Shutterstock

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  • Anonymous

    WalMart also sells bootleg/unlicensed music DVDs…John Mayer, Jeff Beck, Pink Floyd, the Eagles, Neil Young…unofficial stuff pulled from TV broadcasts etc. I’m not complaining (I’ve picked up some good Steely Dan and Jeff Beck that the legit companies should have put out years ago), but it strikes me that someone at WalMart should be overseeing this sort of thing…someone who knows legit brand from bogus.