Thursday, August 2, 2007

My 2000.00 Gift Card Fraud Story that Apple wont do a thing about!


soo...this is my story so far...as I see it..

On July 11, 2007 I returned a gifted copy of Adobe Creative Suite CS3 valued at 1957.45 to the Apple Retail Store at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, IL. Because i did not have the original purchase reciept, i was issued by the store staff a gift card valued at the full amount.

During the next 4 days the gift card was in my possession locked away in my vehicle.

It was then removed on july 16 2007 and was going to be used, by me, at the apple retail store at Bayshore Mall in Milwaukee, WI. When i went to use it, the store staff said that there was only 21.00 on the card. I thought thats impossible.

I contacted apple customer relations, which started an investigation. The Case # is 81092020. For two weeks and 3 days there was an ongoing investigation

According to C.R., an apple gift card was used at the Apple Retail Store (Perimeter Store) in Atlanta, GA in the amount of 1935.52 on July 15th at 5:49pm. They stated that a PHYSICAL card was used and swiped at that store. This is despite the fact that i had in my possession the REAL gift card throughout the entire time (and to this day.) The (my) gift card's pin number which is hidden under a scratch coating was completely covered as well. I also have an alibi as to my whereabouts for the time the gift card was being used in atlanta.

They stated that they reviewed store video footage and found me not to be at fault, yet...they will not reimburse my money that was lost.

The biggest question for me is how is it possible that there was a gift card exactly like mine somewhere else, and if it is fraud, why wasn't that transaction stopped. And also, how could anybody get my gift card if it was in my locked possession the entire time. Also, if it was in my possession and i have no fault in this, then why isnt apple taking the responsibility and refunding my money.

Apple will not comment any further on this and it is extremely frustrating. Not only are the Customer Relations reps hard to contact, but in most cases IMPOSSIBLE to contact (unless they call me,) but also i feel like they are holding information back.

I am a 22 year old college student who now does not have the proper computer, or the money to buy a new computer for my classes...which if this is not resolved, i will have to drop, and cost me more money to prolong my college career. I have been a long time customer buying apple products, but this totally is a slap in the face. 

Could this be a case of grand larceny? Could this be a case of apple committing consumer fraud?

Really not sure what to do at this point...but im angry...and as a longggg time apple customer...I'm SO unbelievably dissappointed

57 comments:

Becker said...

Jesus, that sucks, but it fits with the way Apple seems to look at problems with their products and services: "If we ignore the problem, it doesn't exist!"

football16121 said...

hey dude
were you talked to customer relations or
corptrate costumer relations
when apple care didnt help replace my macbook
i called corprate
and my new replacement process was started withen 5 min
just keep going up a knotch on apples chain of command and I am sure you will get your money back

Sebastien said...

That is not the way it was when I was a rep for Apple. I always took matters in my own hands to satisfy the customer. Weird that Apple won't do a thing about it. Don't just stick to the stores, go above them, the HQ might be able to help you out if you explain your story.

Good luck,

www.macgomez.com

Ron Foster said...

Send this to the consumerist.
Maybe you can get some traction there

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

well.that.is.totally.GAY..How.can.you.be.in.two.places.at.once??gotta.love.the.twins.somewhere.out.there.LOL.well.anyways.i.hope.you.get.this.all.figured.out.damn.them..:(.hope.all.goes.well

Anonymous said...

three words:
better
business
bureau

Anonymous said...

I was one of the sadf*cks who bought an ibook from the shipment that had the faulty logicboards. It took them 2.5 years (and 7 failed fix-attempts) until they finally said "Yep, this one's a lemon." They replaced it with a refurbished machine (I found out later-due to a dead pixel in the lower right/centre part of the screen) that also died after one year. My first computer was a mac, and have been a loyal mac fan for the longest time till this. I switched to pc this year by buying a lower end HP. I doubt it will last either, but I wasn't about to give apple anymore of my money after all that. Oh and by the way, I try to talk as many people out of buying apple computers. Surprisingly, they all listen!

Anonymous said...

Did you ever file a police report? Once you do that, I think that Apple will be pretty accomodating. There are a number of ways that this might play out in a totally benign manner. If someone spent $2000 on Apple equipment, Apple probably has the serial number of what they bought and could track from there. There are a lot of perfectly rational explanations. Filing a police report protects you and motivates Apple to do something.

Joshua Prowse said...

I had an issue once with my iPod. I wrote a letter to the appropriate Apple Vice President here in Canada. I promptly received a call and was given a replacement iPod for free. I was very satisfied. I'd recommend contacting Apple's higher-ups; I think that Apple has a good history of customer service.

Jim said...

I'll bet whoever gave you the card pocked the one he added the $2000 to and handed you a different one with $21 on it. Wouldn't be too hard to pull off.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

that is very unsettling. however, when you bring the BBB in the process, magically, things sort themselves out. i've seen this first hand many times. i do think that they'll make things right.

at least i'm hoping, for your sake.

Anonymous said...

well that sucks, currently apple is withholding $150 from me that was supposed to be given to me by rebate check, I got a macbook pro and a new iPod, which constitutes a $150 rebate. they claim that there was no original UPC from the iPod sent in, yet I am 100% sure that I sent it in along with the computer UPC. I could (and should have) have taken a picture of them as I mailed them, I figured something that drastic would not be necessary as I didn't think they would grub money from me like that, but they did.

Ian

Anonymous said...

You stupid Apple lovers, you deserve this kind of conduct.

Alex said...

Ive worked retail at a store that offers gift cards, and if their system is at all similar, I can provide a hypothesis:

When they told you that "The physical card was present during the transaction", that has to be 100% bullshit. In all the systems I've worked with all you would need is to do a manual entry of the gift card number, and provide the last four digits of the card number (similar to SS and CC confirmation)

I've had fellow employees pull a dick move a use someones gift card number to purchase random things, but definitely no where near the amount of $2000.

Of course it would be a much more pleasant experience to have trust in such an self-proclaimed simple and honest company, but I would recommend to always be a cautious consumer. It's not always the company that gives you the finger, just some shithead employee.

Josh said...

This is crap. Sorry to hear this but hopefully the digg community can get this attention it deserves.

identitylab said...

Keep us up to date, and good luck!

Anonymous said...

Um... you don't have to drop out. File a complaint through 'small claims court'. It will only cost you around $25 and usually big corporations don't show up (since no lawyers are allowed in small claims, you represent yourself) which defaults to you winning and they will owe you the money. If they don't pay up, the court follows them until they do.

Anonymous said...

Well since the gift card doesnt have your name on it they wouldnt be able to tell if you were the one spending the money or not so that suggestion that apple could have prevented someone from using your card is not really an issue.

Still it could be an error in a system. I am not sure how Apple registers gift cards but when places like best buy or target register gift cards they have to physically activate it. It is possible that when the clerk activated the card the numbers or codes were transposed incorrectly and some other valid gift card received the bulk of the amount. Of course that is pure cinjecture on my part. Still i doubt a company that has billions of dollars in the bank is conspiring to steal your $2k . More than likely it is simple human error. Contact executive relations and have them resolve the issue fir you. I am sure some lucky bastard bought an ipod with a gift card he had and found out that instead of having 100 bucks on the card he had a 2000 dollar balance and proceeded to buy himself a nice computer. Let executive relations know that you want and expect this to be resolved quickly and they will make it happen. Dont be surprised if customer relations is suspicious. I am sure they receive a lot if bogus requests that they have to weed through.

Virail said...

I used to work as a senior manager for Apple, in the technical support division. (my authority was above that of Cusotmer Relations) Yes. I would have sent you a gift card for 2000$ especially after the footage was shown to be not you. But one thing that would have made me stop and tell you that you're not going to get anything and that in order for me to issue you a replacement card it would take a court order is the stupid line "I'm going to have to drop my courses at my local university." I mean, I understand you're angry and pissed off. Hell, I'd be too. But there is something called a computer lab at any university that you can make due with until this gets resolved.

I can tell you from the other side of the fence, the univeristy excuse just pisses people off a lot. Don't use it, say something like "I planned to use this for my university and without it I'd lose some of the ease of study and it would be very annoying to use the computer lab." Etc.

If you need help getting this resolved I still know some people within Apple who could make things a little easier.

Daniel said...

Bummer

Anonymous said...

Why should apple eat $2000 when the police aren't involved? For all they know, you're pulling a scam, and that's a lot of money. You need to file a police report so the cops can pull the video and start tracking down the real thief.

If it turns out to be an apple employee that scammed you, I'm sure they'll handsomely reimburse you. I would not be suprised if they get a lot of people who "accidently-on-purpose" try to double-use cards -- and if they track 'em down and sue 'em to recover investigative costs, we'd be annoyed that apple is suing someone for 10x the value of what was stolen.

Given that you didn't have the receipt to begin with, this probably set off all of their "scam" warnings. Imagine how broke they'd get if they just paid out $2k to everyone with an empty gift card....

Get a copy of the video (or ask the nice detective to do so -- you HAVE gone to the police by now, I trust) and post it online. Maybe someone knows the thief and can contact you with a name... and then you can sue the real thief, including damages.

Brandon said...

Write a letter to steve jobs.... Ive heard of him sending people new macbooks and stuff when they have problems

Travis said...

No joke. If you are getting the run-around, email Steve Jobs directly (sjobs@apple.com). You have a valid complaint and have documented every step, which will be very helpful.

I would also contact the Consumerist (http://consumerist.com/) via email or AIM and inform them of your issue. They usually can provide advice and pointers.

Check out the post about a happy ending with Apple Executive Customer Service:
http://consumerist.com/consumer/happy-endings/apple-executive-customer-support-fills-you-with-joy-273709.php

Remember: Although you're getting the raw end of the stick right now, try to be extremely courteous when contacting those people. Hopefully one of those things will help ya out in the end.

Personal accountability said...
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Anonymous said...
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Imanta said...

Honestly, the burden of proof is yours and not theirs... you have the card in your possession and that card was used to buy goods from their store. It doesn't matter if it was you or someone else who used it and the whole "locked in my car" thing isn't a valid excuse when dealing with a computer point of sale system.

Get the authorities involved and this will force the Apple Store to look deeper, but honestly just reading this through the first time makes you sound like a scammer (I know you're not), but just imagine how you came off in the store.

Ralph said...

It sounds like these gift cards are the e-voting machines of retail. There is no satisfactory audit trail. From now on I'll take my non-trivial store credit on a piece of paper, thank you.

Anonymous said...

looks like you got shafted bad by apple, but wow I think you're being a bit dramatic about having to drop classes cause you don't have a laptop. Every college I know of has a computer lab, walk to it.

Troy said...

Hey man, sorry to hear about that. I go to the Bayshore store all the time, being that I live in Mequon. Best of luck getting that money back, peace.

Anonymous said...

whose to say that.. you didn't overnight the card to GA, and had it sent back to you....? whose to say that there's any truth to your story? and if you are lying apple should be suing you for slander.

Anonymous said...

Simple address, gets the action: sj@pixar.com

Anonymous said...

Ask your Dad to contact his CC company (assuming it wasn't purchased with CASH,lol).. you don't have to deal with Apple at all, CC purchases are fairly easy to recover if you have a problem like this.

Anonymous said...

Apple doesn't make the gift card machines, or the gift card. A third party machine fucked up, not Apple.

You'll get your $$ back, but only after a long lengthy investigation. Sorry, but you better become familiar with the computer labs at your school.

Trails of Smoke said...

I think they just don't believe you. There are so many ways that you COULD be scamming them that they'd need to protect themselves from the knuckleheads who are actually running a game. (an inside job or not) I don't work retail, but, it's gotta be a problem. I don't see this as you getting screwed over by the man as much as you are simply catching a bad break, and likely being victimized by someone. Stick with it, make sure a decision maker sees your proof. The person who you're complaining to at the store...they might be the one who's defrauding you. Upward and onward.

ebil said...

Yep, the security on Gift cards are a joke. someone gave me a $50 gift voucher i used at the petrol station, however the gas bill was $50.01 and the gift card couldn't be used, so the cleric had to manually enter it in and charged it that way.

sorry on the problem, hope things work out.

The bad thing about customer service as well is that you can always end up with a stupid washed up Customer service person that just does a poor job, hope apple doesn't have a CS system where you get the same moron again and again.
I found that calling them a few times will get you a nice CS person to help you.

Matt said...

I don't know what to think.

I feel sorry that they've ripped you off so badly, but it can easily be a scam.

Different person in the CCTV? Easy "Hey A, take this giftcard to some Apple store and spend X for me so I can claim it wasn't, then we can both be 2000$ richer, ok?"...

Anonymous said...

i used to work at a retail apple store... not high up as virail, but i have hands on experience with it.

as another said you can type in the card manually.. but guess what... apple POS (point of sale), does NOT ask you for any other code to verify it, just the gift card number. So say that the card swipe wasn't working (espcially on those easypay (handheld pos)) they would type it in.. heck i did all the time cause they wanted us to use those easypay things.

odds of someone buying something that high.. and accidentally typing in a gift card with enough money... its near impossible but it can happen....

heck even the guy in the store just had to hit print "another receipt" and he/she can after you leave and there is your gift card number on your receipt for him to use.

i wish i could help u out but i got no more power in apple retail and the guys at my store would not exactly want to go getting mixed up in this...

tell apple go look at the gift card history, pull the transaction number, and print you or email you a copy of the receipt.. they can do that much i know and you can at least figure out what the heck was bought...

sorry you're in all this mess...

Anonymous said...

sounds like you got hit with the old steal the gift card, clone it, and return it to the store. then you just keep checking the card to see if anyone has activated it. apple should know this is what happened to you im sure they dont deal with it as much as target or walmart, but damn apple get with the times.

Anonymous said...

I work for a Point of Sale vendor who specializes in systems with built in Gift Card Programs. There has been one instance in the past where duplicate cards were created by our vendor. When purchased, the coded information on the card is recorded in the database and not written on to the mag stripe of the card. I see it as a distinctly possible conclusion that Apple has a set of duplicate cards out there. Most GC's are going to be in the $20-$100 range, so refunds aren't that big of deal.

Anonymous said...

File a report with your local police for consumer fraud. If this is true...you have been the victim of either fraud on Apples part or theft on the part of who ever made the purchase. BUT by all means don't just let Apple tell you no and walk away. Although blogging about it is great, it's not going to get you your money.

Josh said...

You have to understand Apple's position here, unfortunately we live in a world/society where if they expose a chink in their fraud protection armor they'll be inundated with requests for refunds to gift cards. I can very easily see why Apple is taking a hard stance on this. If I were you I'd follow the advice here and file a police report, not against Apple but against the fact that someone stole your money (not Apple) it is possible that someone duped the card and did it that way. You've got to stop blaming Apple and start working with them, if this is a case of gift-card fraud I guarantee you will receive their help in getting your money back.

Anonymous said...

Small claims is a good idea but to the buy who said lawyers can't show up this is wrong. I sued my landlord for water damage from a leak they caused. They send 2 lawyers. I won but then they appealed the decision for some bullshit reason. My lawyer suggested that I settle with them. I did. I originally won $2K but I settled for $1K. In the halls of justice the only justice is in the halls.

scudmo said...

1957.45 x 1.0725=2099.37.
A typo inputting the dollars into the gift card could result in the difference. mispalce the decimal reads: 20.99, or $21 that you said is on the card. If the store you reurned the software to reviewed their inventory, they would probably find an extra box of the Adobe software.

I work retail. While a lot of people are thieves, more are bad at data input.
Give 'em a call.

Anonymous said...

haha, $2000 on one CS and you cant even edit a photo above grade 2.

Get a PC.

scudmo said...

To qualify:

I meant to say that the sales tax in IL is 7.25%. sorry for the confusion, it's early in the day.

Anonymous said...

That sucks brother - but, how did someone else get your gift card number?

aurora said...

go corporate ~ i emailed michael dell when dell customer service drove me insane ~ i got a phone call the next day from a vice president and a new computer in six days ~ but what you say is critical ... my email said...'your customer service is costing you a fortune and me as a customer included name and phone...i did not tell him my problem i told him his...put the ball in their court...email or write steve jobs tell him you will never buy another apple product because of their attitude and odds are they will try to convince you are wrong...that they value their customers...

sree said...

Hi

Sorry to hear to what happened. I think you should report this to Better Business Bureau (BBB) and i believe they should be able to help you on this.

Anonymous said...

email sjobs@apple.com customers do it at our store all the time and they get whatever they want

Anonymous said...

Sounds scammy to me still.
Another part not provided by anyone else is that your picture of your gift card is the older style card. The new ones just have the Apple Logo in white on gray.

Anonymous said...

Wake up people! Who gives a college student "without a proper computer" a $2000 box of software as a gift? I don't think we are getting the whole truth here.

Anonymous said...

Collin, i mean NilloC ,you are a liar.

Anonymous said...

to virail - i just graduated with a degree in graphic design from a small art school in DC. if i had a problem with my computer for more than a week or so, i would absolutely have had to drop out. the schools facilities unfortunately lag very far behind the educational program. one of my classmates had his laptop stolen at the end of the semester and without recent backups and very patient friends who's computers he used and a lot of really hard work and sleepless weeks, he wouldn't have graduated. in some cases its not so easy to just make do.

nilloc - good luck. it doesnt sound like you're pulling a scam to me. ignore these idiots who think that college students in design programs wouldn't need the most up to date software, and that supportive parents couldn't possibly purchase it for you.

Anonymous said...

This is the exact reason not to go with crApple. Greediest company on earth, HANDS DOWN!!! I pity the sheeple that pay another $600 for the ipod phone that has a new inovation called FM radio. FTW

Anonymous said...

you are a liar, and removed posts from your blog, even your own about getting a 4,000 dollar camera.

SCAMMER!