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Man Buys MacBook Pro at Best Buy, Finds Brick in Box Instead

Have You Ever Been Scammed When Buying a Gadget?

A brick in a box is hardly my dream gadget unboxing scenario, but that's exactly what happened to Consumerist reader Ryan, who bought a MacBook Pro at his local Best Buy, and took it home to open up the sealed box — and found this brick.

So far Best Buy hasn't refunded his money, insisting that he take it up with Apple, but some wily brick-seller in the loop is to blame somewhere. I have my eyes wide open when shopping for gadgets — especially used ones on Craigslist or eBay — but you wouldn't expect to be the victim of a scam going through a big chain like Best Buy.

It's scary how many people have been scammed or swindled when trying to buy a new gadget, so tell me — have you ever been victimized, or almost victimized when you were gadget shopping?

Join The Conversation
Monique15261092 Monique15261092 3 years
Yesterday morning, I went to pick up my Macbook Pro 13'' with Retina Screen. I went to the Best Buy minutes from my house. I picked it up, open the sealed plastic-when I opened the box there was a stack of white printing paper wrapped with two pieces of duct tape and a towel underneath. I ran back, and told them what had happened (as I was gone 10 minutes max). The woman who initially helped me admitted to the manager that the box did feel unusually heavy. They ended up giving me a new box (we opened at the store considering what had just happened) in addition to a hard cover. I couldn't believe that something like this has happened to me, but I guess it was a interesting experience overall.
mouldy mouldy 8 years
most of the time, where i buy my stuff, the staff opens it for me, to show and check at the same time if there are defects. to protect their asses. i rather they do that, cos at least if there is a defect (cosmetically as well), i don't have to make another trip down and exchanges are just messy especially if they're expensive items. i don't buy stuff online, ebay or yahoo auctions etc etc...cos you'll never know.
SB-Marilyn SB-Marilyn 8 years
Technically you are 100% right Candera. Speaking from first hand experience when we had three PowerBooks worth $10,000 at the time paid for with a bad cashiers check Apple won't do much about it. We had all the serials but at the time they said there was nothing they can do. Seems to me if you put it in the database that they are stolen it should red flag when that serial is registered or if they bring it in for service.
Candera Candera 8 years
The box has the serial number, MAC address and other identifying information. It should be relatively easy to find out who has that machine.. Right?
mellie_608 mellie_608 8 years
There was also an article lately about rocks in the boxes of Wii's sold at Walmart. I think Walmart eventually gave into the consumer when another case showed up at the same store and gave her a full refund and a gift card. They originally pulled the same "you need to deal with Nintendo". Ridiculous! Makes me want to open the package at the store for sure!
ReelGirl ReelGirl 8 years
@ Macgirl - I did that with my black DS Lite and my new Canon Powershot, haha. But as far as the article goes, I've been reading about stories like these for months, and they each just seem to get steadily worse/ridiculous. From the kid who went to unbox his new PS3 at Christmas and found a bunch of phone books inside (seriously, who uses those big massive things anymore?) to the little girl in DC who opened up her iPod Nano and found not only a rock, but a note inside basically scolding her for wanting an iPod in the first place/being just another crazy Apple fan, it really makes you wonder about people. I know that money's tight for everybody right now, but come on folks, is it really worth it to rip someone off like that?
glam-sugar glam-sugar 8 years
I've never been scammed nor have I opened a gadget box in the store.
djkatscan djkatscan 8 years
GirlOverboard: even with a return policy like that, or things like restocking fees, you may be able to get around it by getting some sort of paperwork. I know that Best Buy offers, at least on computers, a "functionality check" that is free, and can generate a work order for you so that you have "proof" that you bought it new and *they* opened it. Plus they seal it back up with Best Buy tape.
GirlOverboard GirlOverboard 8 years
I agree that the best way to avoid such a thing is to open the product in-store, but it shouldn't be up to the associate to do it. There are a lot of stores that will not take back opened product for anything other than an exchange, so opening the product kills the possibility of a full refund. This isn't a problem if you're a smart shopper and know exactly what you want before you buy it, but it's a bit of a financial risk if you're buying a gift for somebody who might end up not wanting/needing it. I used to work at a place that absolutely could not refund any opened electronic item unless the item was defective and we couldn't replace it due to a lack of backstock, so my advice is if you're getting something that *might* need to be brought back for anything other than an exchange due to a defect, read the full return policy FIRST and/or ask the associate if you can return it if it's opened (be sure to remember the associate's name, in case they give you wrong info - it's happened to me). Also, if you're going to be opening packages in stores, please PLEASE be a considerate customer and either ask the associate to do it for a super quick check (open box, glance in, good to go, leave) or step off to the side and out of the way to do a closer inspection - especially during the holidays. Nobody wants to get ripped off so it's a smart thing to check, but nobody wants to wait in a line of people in which every customer has to take out every item and inspect it before leaving, either.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
YEARS ago when discmen were just coming out, my mom got me one for hannukah, and when i opened the box (months after she bought it) it was empty. it was horrible! we went to circuit city where we bought it and had to argue/debate with them for hours to get them to give me a new one. it's horrible when things like that happen. i can't believe a company like best buy is seriously going to give the guy that much trouble. THEY should just take care of it and give the guy a new computer.
syako syako 8 years
djkatscan makes an interesting point...
Baby-Girl Baby-Girl 8 years
This was also happening around Christmas time with Wii boxes. It's such ashame. I love taking time to open things at home with a glass of wine by candle light like macgirl, but these days you can't trust anyone. I'd be steaming mad too.
danixk danixk 8 years
I wouldn't be buying a mac from best buy...and this is why!!!!! i am fortunate enough to have a store close by but if i didn't i'd order it directly from apple. but yes, i'd be raising hell and putting a hold on payment until the issue is resolved.
macgirl macgirl 8 years
I would NEVER open up my gadgets in the store. As an über geek that needs to he done at home... Slowly. Some call it geek porn ;-)
rockinchica88 rockinchica88 8 years
Yes....always always have them open it up in the store. They will bitch and complain about unsealing it but it's your right to see it. I went to bestbuy and bought a $400 canon camera and when I opened it the whole screen was smashed and cracked and had knicks all over it. I took it back in and Best Buy said I could have dropped it. Yeah....if i had repeatedly dropped it off my balcony 5 times. The only reason we got it fixed was because the woman at canon helped us replace the screen. Thank God for human kindness. I will never buy anything at Best Buy again. Fry's electronics is great.......pricey but worth it.
kcwebgirl kcwebgirl 8 years
that's why you need to open your box in the store. i totally don't understand why you would drop that kind of cash and not check it out in the store. whatever, i start my stuff up and ask questions if i need too.
Peachandcreamy Peachandcreamy 8 years
Don't they open the box before purchasing? Just to check if there's no defect in the merchandise.
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