New Apple Watch from Big Box Store Locked! Serial number on

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by WatchGuy, Mar 27, 2016.

  1. WatchGuy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2016
    #1
    Last week, since there was a significant "sale", I purchased from my local national big box store an Apple Watch Sport. The outside box was shrink wrapped and the inside watch box was shrink wrapped. Once I opened the inside watch box, all plastic wrapping materials were on the watch band as well as the plastic wrapping material on the charger and its cable as well as the thin protective wrapping on the charging disc. Everything appeared new and in place. Then, when I tried to pair the phone it was LOCKED to another iPhone. This was a brand new, sealed outside and inside, watch. I phoned Apple support who verified that the watch I purchased from the national big box store was less than my best buy ever made. Even though I purchased the watch last week, it was in-fact first purchased in September 2015 and was locked to a phone thousands of miles away from my home...in a state I have never even visited. I called the big box guy at my local store to see if they had a different (higher priced) one in stock and if I can stop by to exchange. (I purchased the watch at another store since the version I originally wanted was out of stock at my local store.) He said no problem as long as the serial number on the receipt and watch matched the box. Shouldn't be a problem, right? WOW!!! The serial number on the receipt matched the box BUT the serial number on the watch WAS ENTIRELY DIFFERENT. Now my best buy for the day started turning sour. They said I would have to bring it back to the store where it was purchased since they NEVER heard of anything like this before. I went back to the store where I purchased it and was treated like a criminal by the first person I spoke with....really, I am an "elite" level customer, have spent quite a bit on money in the store, they have my e-mail and address and they really think I'm going to switch out a $300 item! I do have to say, that the manager of the store and a very pleasant woman, who I think was the technical support person, who I guess was kinda a "geek" made it right. They exchanged the watch. But the biggest issue here is how could a watch with a different serial number get into the box, be wrapped like new, and then be subsequently sold as new. This does not appear to be the big box store's issue buy Apples. Do they refurbish returned items and then sell them as new?!!! I believe that's against the law in my state. Any similar experiences?
     
  2. hovscorpion12 macrumors 65816

    hovscorpion12

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2011
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    I haven't had the problem, but I've accepted that if you want an Apple product, Buy from an Apple Store or Apple online. You know what your getting in the box, Any issues can be fixed right in the store quick, easy and painless.
     
  3. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #3
    An item returned to an Apple store is not sold again, until it is refurbished. They don't do that at that store. They are shipped to a facility that does that refurbish job on Apple products. The refurbished item is NOT sold in the same box as new. The box is less "colorful" than a new box. I don't know if Apple changes the serial number on a watch, but know that they do change the item serial number on other devices. Last step is packing in the refurbish box, and the serial number would match, inside and outside.
    Your store had a box with a watch that someone probably returned an "ebay special" locked watch, swapping out one that was just purchased, and put that "ebay special" in the box.
    Best Buy goofed up by not verifying the item inside, probably because the "customer" was pretty good at keeping the packing materials factory fresh.
    Tough to prove, eh?
     
  4. WatchGuy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2016
    #4
    --- Post Merged, Mar 27, 2016 ---
    DeltaMac - is it plausible that the person who returned the swapped watch was able to shrink wrap both the outer and inner box? I imagine that this is possible. However, the original owner of the watch (the one who has it locked to their phone) could certainly be contacted to see if they sold it and to whom. Also, since Best Buy has the serial number on the box, certainly it can track down who purchased the watch (unless they paid cash) and handle this as a case of fraud - which it would be in the scenario you mention. If that's the case, I hope they catch the person and prosecute!
     
  5. matt_on_a_mtn Suspended

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2016
    #5
    It sounds to me like someone who thought they were being clever by cleaning up their watch and getting the wrap materials back on it to return it as "new" after a DIY shrink wrap. I'd imagine they got the repackaging part figured out, but didn't properly unpair the watch, which will likely lead to them getting caught.
     
  6. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    Location:
    New Sanfrakota
    #6
    Apple opens up and refurbishes all returned AWs even if the outer wrapper is intact. Other retailers don't do this. So it's entirely plausible that someone got a dud and rather than deal with swapping out under warranty through Apple and be without a watch (or they were outside the return period), they bought another AW from Best Buy, swapped out the watch itself, and returned it within the 14-day return period after shrink wrapping the outer box. Best Buy wouldn't know any better and put it back on the shelf to sell as new.
     
  7. IphoneIssues macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    #7
    Maybe some guy bought a used watch, went to a store, bought a new one, then swapped the watches and returned.

    Seems they would have a check to catch that kind of thing, but maybe it slipped through.

    Only way I can imagine it happened.
     
  8. jbachandouris macrumors 68040

    jbachandouris

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2009
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    #8
    That's not how it works at my Best Buy. Even if you return it shrink wrapoed, it is opened, inspected and then taped shut with Best Buy tape. This is standard procedure.
    Not sure how all this happened.
     
  9. Mac2me, Mar 27, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2016

    Mac2me macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2015
    #9
    If it was a return to Best Buy I would hope someone there would look up the serial numbers and check for paperwork on the return. Anyone returning should be required to provide their photo ID and matching contact info. You'd hope anyway. Stuff like this needs to get prosecuted and stopped.

    If you bought a Watch at greatly discounted pricing on current generation product, I think refurbished should be expected but the box should be a refurbished box.
     
  10. xraydoc macrumors demi-god

    xraydoc

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    192.168.1.1
    #10
    I've bought stuff at Best Buy and returned it unopened. They've never opened the item at the return desk. They have if I've opened the item, but the few times I've returned unopened items they've never broken the seal to inspect the box contents.

    It's entirely possible someone who works at BB got a hold of a stolen or lost watch and swapped it for a new one, sealed the box, then put it back in stock.
     
  11. matt_on_a_mtn Suspended

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2016
    #11
    This is a very good point. It would be really easy for someone working at a Best Buy to be running a scam of sorts with stolen or locked watches getting swapped out for new, working ones.
     
  12. matrix07 macrumors 68040

    matrix07

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    #12
    And sell it on eBay or Criaglists.
     
  13. IphoneIssues macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    #13
    It would make more sense to me if somebody simply swapped the new watch for an old one, rewrapped the thing and returned it...

    Just my opinion. Used to work there myself. Seems so much harder to try and pull off.
     
  14. Newtons Apple macrumors Pentium

    Newtons Apple

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #14
    Best Buy will sell a returned item in a second if they deem it to be fully functional. They are able to shrink wrap right at the store. I purchased a "new" camera from them and when opened it had finger prints all over it and the warranty card and receipt was inside the manual. When I tried to return the manager argued with me that it was brand new and I had put the finger prints on the camera until I held up the receipt and warranty card.

    Beware as all the stores do it.
     
  15. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    Location:
    New Sanfrakota
    #15
    Except the Apple stores. Even if you purchase something and return a few minutes later with it still unopened having changed your mind, they'll still refurbish it.
     
  16. bigjnyc macrumors 601

    bigjnyc

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    #16
    Sounds like an inside job. That best buy store may have a rotten employee
     
  17. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    Location:
    New Sanfrakota
    #17
    Or simply an inept employee who put the returned box (shrink-wrapped by the con artist customer) back on the shelf.
     

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