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3rd party seller scams. Your NEW Amazon iPad might be USED. Here's how to tell.
on April 12, 2013
The product itself is fantastic and my stars are based on the product being a great deal and a great device.
But for anyone thinking of buying from Amazon, be warned. I purchased one of these for someone on her birthday and it was listed as new. Amazon seems to only sell iPad minis from third party sellers, not from Amazon.com itself, meaning another company gets the iPads from any source they want, sends them to Amazon, and Amazon ships them. One of these sellers listed an iPad mini slightly above retail price, but cheaper than all of the other iPad minis on Amazon. In fact, when I searched for iPad mini, it was the seller and product page the site automatically directed me to. The page indicated it as new, and sold it to me via Amazon. When my friend got her iPad mini, it looked new, was packaged and sealed like new, but when she turned it on, it was tied to someone else's icloud account. I called apple and gave them the serial number. Sure enough, the item was used, only had about 60 days left in the warranty (instead of 90) and was registered through Apple to a different customer. If I wanted a used iPad Mini, I would have paid less. Much less.
I even emailed the user who had previously owned it (since her email address via iCloud was showing up when my friend tried to access the app store. I emailed the previous user just to make sure it wasn't a stolen product. She explained that she had purchased it a few weeks back from At&T, not from Amazon. She wanted a wifi + 3g version, not just wifi, so she returned it and somehow, the third party seller got their hands on it and sold it to me as new.
In the defense of of the third party seller, once I got their phone number from Amazon and called them (most seller numbers are not on Amazon, you have to call and request a phone number), they provided a scary explanation: They explained that there are problems with Amazon's FBA system (fulfillment). Sometimes, iPads are returned with nothing but index cards in the box and Amazon thinks there is an iPad inside. Sometimes, products mingle, and so another seller's used iPads might be with a different seller's new iPads. They explained that they have a very legitimate source of iPads and have been selling iPads for years and that this is a rare occurrence, although it has happened before. I have no way of verifying any of this, so I can't blame Amazon or the seller. All I can say is that for such a large purchase, and one that is a gift, you are better off buying from a major retail store that doesn't sell used items at all (or buying from Amazon when it is shipped and sold and fulfilled by Amazon). Right now, this product is actually on sale at Walmart.
Amazon refunded me but now my friend has to return her birthday gift. I recommend buying from someone other than Amazon. For this particular product, it's probably the cheaper route to do that anyway. If you do buy from Amazon, call Apple with your Serial Number and verify it is a new, unregistered product with a full 90 day warranty. Don't get scammed.