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Customer: 'Walmart Ripped Me Off'

A local Walmart customer in search of an iPad says she was scammed at the Tucker store.

A reader named Rebecca Bitsko contacted Tucker Patch to relate what happened to her at the local when she attempted to buy an iPad.

I wanted to share my story with you in order to give other consumers a heads up, and to try to get my problem resolved.

I bought an iPad from the Tucker Walmart on Saturday during the tax-free holiday. When I opened it at home, the box contained pads of paper - no iPad (see photo). This has happened before (I wasn't aware of it at the time):

I immediately returned the box of paper to the store, but Walmart would not, and still will not, "give" me an iPad (that I paid $600 for). They claim the switch did not occur in their store and therefore is not their responsibility. They told me it was my responsibililty to contact Apple, which I have, and am still waiting on their investigation.

It is five days later and I’ve tried to get a response from Walmart at the store level, through an online message to Walmart headquarters, through Twitter, and through two calls to headquarters.

On my call to headquarters today, Thursday, Aug. 16, Walmart said they needed three (more?) full business days to investigate. I don’t understand. It seems like there must be something in place to protect consumers against this kind of scam.

The management at the Tucker Walmart has been so extremely rude to me it is unbelievable. When I returned the iPad, I spent about two hours in the store trying to get some kind of resolution, or at least documentation of the problem.

I didn't think I'd get too far with a receipt and box of paper. They wouldn't document anything, but called the DeKalb police for me. But, when they called, they didn't know the address (of their own store). I ended up calling the police back and waiting forever for them to come. 

Meanwhile, the managers/employees were running around with the box and wrapper and not communicating with me at all. They told me that they couldn't even start their investigation until Monday and they'd call me in a few days. That just doesn't seem acceptable to me. 

I don't think I got an apology, although one of the managers claimed she apologized. They claim they are confident that the switch didn't happen in their store, but regardless, I think they should be the ones following up. 

I called headquarters from the store on Saturday, and then again today, and today headquarters said they would have it investigated, and get back with me in three business days. I think it is crazy to treat a customer like this.

Tucker Patch is following up on this story and is waiting to hear back from Walmart and Apple officials with their responses.

Has anything similar happened to you? Tell us in the comments below-

Claire August 17, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Suggestion - open the box BEFORE you leave the store next time.
Jim Bobber August 17, 2012 at 02:22 PM
I think it's pretty normal to not open the box prior to leaving the store, but this is a good 'eye opener'. I had difficulty with this WM after buying a multipack of boxer briefs, it came in 3 colors. The gray ones had more poly in them and were really scratchy. They wouldn't let me return or swap any of it out because it had been opened. They're pretty much the antithesis of LL Bean and most other stores out there when it comes to customer service that matters. And no, I don't really need anyone to tell me 'hello' when I enter. I need them to take back their inferior products after discovering the flaws. In short, I tend to go to Target and other places.
The Scarlet Pimpernel August 17, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Really Claire...The Police are right next to Walmart that's what is amazing..sorry what a hassle you have to go through..
Arthur Cyr August 17, 2012 at 04:13 PM
I never, repeat NEVER, buy anything worth more that 49 cents that is not in a SEALED BOX! Why would anybody pay $600 for an opened box? And not check?
Laurie August 17, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Was the ipad shrink wrapped? I know the Tucker Walmart has had problems in the past with video games and game consoles being stolen. The employees know this and should have opened the box for you. I'm sorry for your ordeal.
Calla August 17, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Pretty sure the store wouldn't let you open a sealed box before buying. This appears to be a recurring problem with Walmart, and they should have procedures in place to prevent this from happening to customers. When is the last time you opened a box before getting home with the product? If you do it before buying, it's property damage. Apparently if you do it afterwards, it's your fault. Walmart needs to make this right.
William McManus August 17, 2012 at 04:48 PM
I predict a favorable outcome for Becky. She is a polite tiger! The grandfather
K.D. August 17, 2012 at 07:14 PM
I hate Walmart. The shelves are never stocked. The lines are too long.
Megan Young Thomas August 17, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Uh, no kidding Sherlock. Once something this horrible and surprising happens to you (us) or someone you know, you think like that. But, who thinks like that in advance of a purchase? Not honest people like the irate customer above. I am sorry this happened to her! There has got to be a recourse of action for her, like dishonest sales practices, or the like. Contact Bret Moore @ 404-964-0957.
TuckerMom August 17, 2012 at 07:26 PM
The tucker wm is the worst. A few years ago I found a beach umbrella at the end of the summer season. The tag was missing but there was a barcode. At checkout, the cashier told me I could not purchase it because she had no price info even though the barcode was obvious and te product description label was still affixed. At this point, I was out of sorts because I'd already spent 20 min in the store. A manager was called and unbelievably, he asked me what I would like to pay for the umbrella. What? I didnt want to short change the store so I suggested ten dollars, still shocked that the manager was suggesting that I haggle. He then told me I could have it for 50! What a deal! I left. And I'm not surprised that this happened to this poor lady. That wm should be shut down.
tasha richard August 17, 2012 at 08:30 PM
The package was sealed so this isn't Walmart fault it is Apple. The question is what process does Apple has in place?
Anonymous August 17, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Most retail stores have shrink wrap machines and you can buy shrink wrap and use a hair dryer to seal up just about anything. This is not Apple's fault. More than likely the iPad was purchased and then returned "unopened". What Walmart, and all retail shops, needs to do is open and verify the contents of all returns that aren't sealed with tamper resistant seals.
Anonymous August 17, 2012 at 08:46 PM
It probably was sealed. Most retail stores have shrink wrap machines and you can buy shrink wrap and use a hair dryer to seal up just about anything. More than likely the iPad was purchased and then returned "unopened".
tasha richard August 17, 2012 at 10:34 PM
not walmart
billinTucker August 18, 2012 at 12:21 AM
I like our Walmart. I saw some dead plants...Australian tree ferns...nothing but brown. I knew if they were watered and cut all the dead off they would sprout right back. I took all 4 to the front in 2 carts and asked for a discount. The manager was called and he saw them and said I could have them for free since they were brown and almost dead. I took them home, cut all the brown off and watered them. A weeks time a new huge fern frond popped out. By a months time they were huge and full. At 5 to 6 feet tall my backyard looked like a prehistoric Forrest.
contented-NOT August 18, 2012 at 12:51 PM
I remember the days (before all the discount stores) when light bulbs were checked to see if they would light up before you left the store! Today you would not even think about doing that and besides the test equipment furnished by the store is no longer there. With all the problems in retail stores today it makes sense to check small expensive things for proper operation before you leave the store. If you are not allowed to see what you are getting; don't buy it there.
Deb McCarthy August 18, 2012 at 02:49 PM
The Tucker Walmart's service is not the best. I was the only person in line at a counter in the back of the store and waited about ten minutes while a manager, a floor staff person and a cashier talked about staffing issues and who was supposed to be doing what. What about checking out the customer and THEN having the staffing discussion? DMC Tucker
Ms. August 20, 2012 at 02:13 AM
Did you pay with credit? If so, you have done your part by notifying police and trying to deal with the uncooperative store, and you didn't get the product you paid for. Sounds like this is a charge you could dispute. If Walmart can't keep the level of service Apple customers expect, they should absolutely not be having them push their products. I have returned things at an Apple store before, and they were polite and responsive. As for checking the box, it would not have occurred to me to check a box when you buy something brand new from the store and it's still shrink wrapped. Hope you get this resolved.
Laura August 20, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Rebecca, your experience with Walmart is defintely disturbing but not surprising (given that's it's Walmart, the anthithesis of good customer service), and I applaud you for putting your story out there. However, as "The Dude" mentioned, perhaps even more disturbing is the slow response time of Dekalb's finest, who have a station located less than 50 yards from Walmart's garden shop entrance. Good luck to you!
tom September 02, 2012 at 07:39 PM
I remember when this Walmart opened about 12yrs ago, it has changed a lot. The area has changed a lot as well.. not to sound like a racist, but they have too many African-Americans working there, who are extremely rude and extremely illiterate when it comes to helping and knowledge of products. I think its Walmart's fault for not knowing what they are selling. Just Saying!
Maureen Middlebrooks September 15, 2012 at 11:59 PM
You might want to work a little harder at not sounding like a racist. Just saying!
Jeremiah October 02, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Rebecca, the same thing happened to me! I went into the WM in Birmingham AL and purchased a shrink wrapped sealed in the box IPAD. When I opened the box at my home i was floored to find it full of paper... Like you, i experienced skeptical Walmart management that said they track all returns. They informed me that i was the only one who had purchased the iPad, meaning it had never been returned...We then took the shrink wrap that it was in and compared it to other iPads for sale in the store. We all agreed it was the same type wrapping. They even opened up another ipad to see if it was full of paper, it was not. Walmart would not give me another ipad or reimburse me. I then called the police, who took down the report, and now I'm waiting to see what will happen. Next I called Apple and informed them of the incident, they looked up the serial number, on my paper filled box, and told me someone had already registered the iPad. Apple would not give out private info, which is fine, the detective can get it. This should be proof that i never did have the iPad. Wish me luck! I will not
Jeremiah October 02, 2012 at 04:55 PM
except this, and be out 800 bucks. Any ideas? I guess next step will be the press.
CB October 05, 2012 at 08:53 AM
Yes, this happend to me @ The Walmart SuperCenter in Normal, IL. We had purchased a ipod touch 4, with a 3 year service plan & a otterbox. We were traveling through IL, & picked this item up for our son. We tried charging the phone & even tried to put the otterbox on & it would not fit. We thought maybe we bought the wrong case, so we were waiting for a charge but it would never come on. So the next day on our way home, we stop @ a Walmart in MO. & that is when we found out the serial # on the box & ipod did not match, it was a Broken ipod3 touch, that explained why the otterbox case would not fit. Someone switched the product out. Walmart blamed Apple & said that they must had mistakingly put a refurbished ipod 3 in the case & to call them. They Refused to do anything for us. I filed a police report & I am filing a dispute with the Walmart credit card Co., I seriously doubt they will take the charge off. What makes me Angry is the fact that the theives get away with all this, because Walmart chooses to turn a blind eye towards these situations & the Honest Hardworking Customer gets Fucked!
Bobbi Linden October 10, 2012 at 04:04 AM
I bought an IPAD tonight for my daughters 15th birthday. It was sealed and everything but when my daughter opened it up 15 minutes later there was no IPAD just a 4 pack of notepads. I spent alot o f money and the mangaer with her actions acted as if we hatched some evil plan to get an another IPAD. From the time I bought the IPAD til I went back to Walmart was 20 minutes. My husband has cancer and we are struggling financially but I was trying to do something nice for our daughter. I stood there and cried and begged the manager to believe me but she was so very rude. My daughter has no birthday gift and I am out alot of money. My husband is going down to file a civil suit tomorrow. I need some extra help.
Jeremiah October 10, 2012 at 04:38 AM
Bobbi, I hope you called the police and filed a report. Make sure to call Apple and see if the serial number on the box has already been registered, hopefully it has. This would prove someone else has the iPad and it was in use prior to you purchasing it. Also, call the corporate Walmart office, and inform them too. What Walmart did this happen at? This is very sad, I wish you the best of luck. The investigators are still working on my case.
Kevin Madigan (Editor) October 10, 2012 at 11:06 AM
Bobbi - I will contact Walmart HQ for you. Please email me with your phone number and email address. kevin.madigan@patch.com
Kevin Madigan (Editor) October 12, 2012 at 02:51 AM
Bobbi - Which Walmart location was this? Please let me know.
Karl Rohlman October 13, 2012 at 04:01 AM
This same thing just happened to me today. I've been planning a sailboat trip and saving for the new Ipad 3 to use for navigation and GPS. I paid $729 plus tax for a new Ipad at the Walmart in Navarre Fl. I almost had a heart attack when I opened it and the sealed box was full of empty paper notepads. I immediatly returned to the Navarre Walmart and was given the runaround and no refund or replacement. I called the Sherrifs Dept and was told that no report would be filed since this was between me and Walmart. It was a civil matter. Does anyone have any ideas of what I should do next?
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