Canadian scammers are buying iPad 2s, replacing them in their original packaging with ZipLoc bags filled with modeling clay, "professionally shrink-wrapping" the boxes, then returning them for refunds, absconding with the precious fondleslabs.
The precisely weighted, shrinkwrapped packages containing the clay-filled bags are then resold by unwitting stores to unwitting customers such as scam victim Mark Sandhu, who bought what he thought was an iPad 2 as a Christmas gift for his wife.
"$695 worth of clay, that's what we have," Sandhu told Canada's CTV consumer reporter Lynda Steele, who broke the story.
At first, Sandhu's wife though the clay was a protective wrapper around the iPad – then she picked it up
At first, Steele thought that only Vancouver's Best Buy and Future Shop had been hit by the modelling-clay scammers, who pay in cash and receive cash refunds. But further investigation has turned up clay-filled iPad boxes at local Wal-Mart and London Drugs stores, as well.
So far, the investigation has turned up 10 clay-filled iPad boxes sold by Best Buy and Future Shop, another 10 by Wal-Mart, and four by London Drugs.
If you're an enterprising, larcenous Canadian who might want to get in on the action, before you go out and buy a can or three of Play-Doh, know that Best Buy, Future Shop, and London Drug have changed their return policies as a result of the scam, and now open any returned, shrinkwrapped package in the presence of the returner. Wal-Mart, however, has not.
Android-table fanciers might aver that a modeling-clay iPad is as functional as the real Cupertinian fondleslab
Apple Canada is working with the affected retailers in the investigation, but – as is its custom – remains mum. As spokeswoman Tara Hendela told Steele, "I don't have an official comment for you for your story, other than to say that we have nothing to add to your story."
Steele, however, had one comment to add. "This is one of the weirdest stories that I can honestly say I've ever investigated," she said. ®